Our native species of columbine, Aquilegia canadensis – commonly called eastern red columbine, wild red columbine, or Canadian columbine – is at its peak in spring when its dangling blooms offer ornamental interest and food for ruby-throated hummingbirds.
As a short-lived perennial, it prefers to self-sow its abundant seeds and pop up in patches of bare soil. Plant seeds in areas where you are waiting for other plants to fill in and it will prove a good competitor for weeds. Red columbine tolerates a variety of conditions. It prefers part shade and soil that is moist in spring and dries out in summer, but will tolerate full sun to full shade, varied degrees of moisture, and sandy, rocky, and fertile soils.