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Why Is My Columbine Dying? | 6 Reasons & Epic Solutions!

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The columbine plant is native to Europe and North America and is known for the exceptional beauty of its flowers, which come in various colors—orange, yellow, purple, red, and blue.

But there is one more thing the columbine plant stands for: it symbolizes the characteristics of endurance, faith, and good fortune.

This symbolization is due to the varied growing conditions of the plant.

From meadows and woodlands to high mountains, the columbine plant grows in all conditions.

However, even this plant sometimes has to deal with issues leading it to wilt and die. If your columbine is in a similar state, you might wonder, why is my columbine plant dying?

If you have recently witnessed your beautiful plant getting afflicted by bad luck and gradually wilting away, keep reading as we will identify the underlying reasons and look at some expert solutions to save your plant.

So, without further ado, let’s get into it!

Purple columbine—why is my columbine dying
Why is my columbine dying? – Image via Mats Hagwall.

Why Is My Columbine Dying?  | Reasons & Solutions!

Columbine, also called Aquilegia, is a perennial plant that keeps on flowering and growing for years to come once you have planted it.

However, this growth will not continue on its own if you are not providing the right conditions. You must give it a suitable soil mixture, lighting, water, and more.

If you are asking yourself, why is my columbine dying? It is probably because one of the conditions (as mentioned above) is going unfulfilled, or the plant is suffering from a disease or pest infestation.

You must take corrective action immediately to save your columbine plant and ensure its growth throughout the year.

But first, let’s explore the reasons for columbine dying, so you know what to do!

Keep reading!

1. Poor Soil Condition

Columbine plants are very particular about the soil they are put in, and you need to ensure just the right texture to keep the columbines happy. It can be tricky as you have to balance the soil being too dry and too wet.

  • The columbine plant won’t do well in waterlogged soil with too much moisture or crumbly soil without any water.
  • As they originally belong to the region of North America, the columbines need well-drained and moist soil—not soggy or overflowing with water.
  • If you add too much water to the poorly draining soil, it can end up being waterlogged, leading to root rot.
  • Moreover, frequent watering causes the soil nutrients to leach out. Nutrient-deficient soil is not good enough for columbine’s beautiful and bright flowers to survive.
  • So, if you have too much water in the soil and do nothing about it, you will start to notice the plant dying.
  • Similarly, if the soil is too compact and dry, there will be no medium for the nutrients to diffuse. Again, the plant will start turning yellow due to a lack of nutrients and moisture and will die over time.

If you feel your potting soil’s texture is not good, add compost or organic matter to it. Compost improves the soggy condition of the soil.

To improve drainage, add perlite.

Even in the case of dry soil, a good fertilizer or compost can help the plant take up more moisture and keep the soil healthy.

Related article: Best potting mix for indoor plants!

2. Pest Infestations

Columbine plants are susceptible to pest attacks.

The plants can survive through many challenging conditions, but if the pest infestation gets serious, your columbines can end up dead.

A pest infestation can occur because of negligent practices or because your region is more prone to getting attacked by pests.

Spray the plant with a suitable pesticide and provide all the necessary conditions.

Aphid and Wireworms

Aphids are one of the common pests that attack a columbine plant.

It invades the leaves and sucks the juices out of the sap, leaving the plant deficient in necessities. If the infestation grows and becomes a full-blown attack, you need to take immediate action, or your plant won’t survive.

You can try these solutions:

  • Add a few drops of mild dish soap to water and make a solution.
  • Transfer it to a spray bottle and apply it well all over the leaves.
  • Make sure not to forget the underside of the leaves, as tiny insects often hide in crevices of the leaves and below them.
  • You can also use neem oil to treat this condition.

However, you have to beware that if the insect infestation has grown out of hand, the soap solution might not be enough to counter it, and you will have to use an effective insecticide.

Wireworms usually appear yellow and have hard, dark-colored outer shells. These pests have a habit of attacking and chewing different parts of the columbine plant. They feed on underground stems, leaves, roots, and seeds.

Sometimes, you may not even notice anything wrong with the plant until it’s too late.

  • You must examine your plant regularly and make a schedule for it to see if there are subtle signs of insect infestation.
  • If you can catch an infestation during the early phase, you may be able to save your plant.
  • As soon as you see any symptoms of the insect attack, spray the plant with a soap solution and apply neem oil.
  • You can also add a mild insecticide to cut the issue in the bud.
  • If the wireworms kill your plant, clean the debris that remains behind quickly, so the infestation does not spread to other plants.

Why is my columbine dying, you say? Maybe, it’s because of a fungal disease.

3. Downy Mildew

Downy mildew is a type of fungus that can destroy your columbine plant.

It leaves spots on the leaves, and your plant can die soon if the condition is not treated.

This fungus thrives best in moist conditions, so you must ensure a proper watering schedule for the columbines to prevent excessive moisture around the plant.

Don’t plant the columbines in soil that holds water or in a place susceptible to flooding.

Make sure to add water early in the morning so there is enough time for the plant to dry after the session. Avoid adding water at night, as fungi thrive in dark, moist places.

If you see signs of mildew on your plant, you can use an effective fungicide on the roots and soil to try and counter the issue.

However, if the fungi have spread over your plant, it can be challenging to get rid of them.

You may have to discard the plant.

Downy Mildew on a cucumber—why is my columbine dying
Image of Downy mildew on a cucumber plant for reference (you’ll see somewhat similar spots on the columbine plant) via Christian Hummert.

4. Excess Fertilizer

Adding too much fertilizer to the soil can end up burning the roots and turning the plant yellow.

Slowly, the plant will die due to dysfunctional roots.

You must ensure to use the right amount of fertilizer and always dilute it instead of adding it directly to the soil.

5. Too Much Sunlight

An adequate amount of sunlight is essential for the columbine plant to survive and thrive.

  • Columbines don’t like bright, direct sunlight.
  • You need to place them in a location where they can receive sufficient sunlight, which is bright and indirect for a few hours in the day.
  • If the plant is placed in a line of scorching sunlight, it will die soon.

So, make sure there is at least a little shade near them.

6. Watering Needs | Overwatering and Underwatering

Another requirement to be mindful of is watering.

Columbines have medium watering needs.

They like the soil moist and well-drained but not too soggy or filled with water. If you have overwatered your plant, the soil will become blocked, and there will be no passage for the oxygen and nutrients to pass.

Moreover, excess moisture will cause the roots to rot. Both these conditions will lead to the death of the columbines.

Underwatering the plant is equally damaging to the columbines. They can’t survive in too little water.

Here’s what to do:

  • For overwatering, you can let the soil sit for a few days before watering to ensure the excess water has drained out.
  • You can also add compost to the soil to absorb excess water.
  • A thing to remember when watering your plants is that there is no one defined schedule. You must adjust to the plant’s demands according to the weather.
  • In bright sunlight and warm weather, the columbine plant will require more water, while in the winter season, you will have to be careful not to overwater the plant.
  • A good rule of thumb is to stick your finger into the soil and check the condition.
  • If the soil is crumbly and dry for the top two inches, add more water to fulfill the moisture needs.
  • If the soil is soggy and wet in the top two inches, you can hold back on watering it for a while.

That way, you can solve all the water-related problems.

Here’s a video if you want to learn more about the plant:

Why is my columbine dying? | Columbine – Aquilegia species – How to grow Columbine flowers – YouTube

That would be all!


Why is my columbine dying? I hope this article brings some clarity to your concern.

The poor condition of the columbine plant is either due to the negligent care routine or an infestation by insects and pests.

You need to know how to tackle each situation to take immediate action and corrective measures accordingly. Take care of your columbines; soon, they will give you gorgeous flowers and add an exotic touch to your garden.

If you have any experiences to share with us, comment below, and we will be happy to hear from you.