The Complete Guide for Little Lanterns Columbine (Aquilegia Canadensis ‘Little Lanterns’) Care

The Little Lanterns Columbine, otherwise known as the Aquilegia Canadensis ‘Little Lanterns’ or Golden Columbine ‘Yellow Queen’, Columbine ‘Yellow Queen’, is a rather well known perennial plant by gardening enthusiasts around the world.

Best known for its low maintenance and moderate growth, this perennial will likely liven up your house (or garden) with its green colored leaves. But, only if you learn how to take proper care of it for it to thrive.

Fortunately, this is exactly what we’ll cover in this Little Lanterns Columbine Care Guide. So let’s dive in.

The basic care guidelines you need to remember for your Little Lanterns Columbine are the following:

  • Water: The Little Lanterns Columbine needs soil that is constantly moist through regular watering.
  • Light: Keep your Aquilegia Canadensis ‘Little Lanterns’ in an environment where it can receive partial to full sun on a daily basis. 
  • Soil: Make sure to keep the Little Lanterns Columbine in soil with moist but well-draining properties, so ideally, one that is made of sand, loam, and clay.

And that’s practically it! If you keep these three factors in check, your Little Lanterns Columbine will likely have all it needs for it to survive and even thrive.

Aquilegia canadensis 'Little Lanterns' care

Scientific / Botanical Aspects

In botanical terms, the Little Lanterns Columbine belongs to the Ranunculaceae family, the genus Aquilegia and the species Chrysantha, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Aquilegia Canadensis ‘Little Lanterns’ (a-kwi-LEE-jee-a kan-a-DEN-sis).

As with other Aquilegia’s, the Little Lanterns Columbine is a herbaceous plant, which means it will die back to the ground every year. 

Growing Region

The Little Lanterns Columbine is a plant native to the Utah to Mexico.

You might be wondering why your Little Lanterns Columbine’s native region is important. Well, if you know where your plant originally came from, you’ll know which environment conditions it prefers, and with it, knowledge on how to replicate it at home.

With this in mind, the Aquilegia Canadensis ‘Little Lanterns’ will be most used to the heat zones in the 1 – 8 region, as the plant hardiness level falls between 3a, 4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b and the ideal climate zone is between 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24.

Growth and Size


In terms of size and growth, the Little Lanterns Columbine is a relatively moderate grower, which makes things somewhat easy for any plant enthusiast.


But what exactly does this mean for your Little Lanterns Columbine? How large a pot should you consider, how tall, how wide can it get? Let’s jump in…

The Aquilegia Canadensis ‘Little Lanterns’ can grow up to 2′ – 3′ (60cm – 90cm) in 2′ – 3′ (60cm – 90cm) and 1′ – 2′ (30cm – 60cm) in 1′ – 2′ (30cm – 60cm). 

These dimensions make the Little Lanterns Columbine a relatively medium perennial compared to others, so it’s best to keep this fact in mind since it will affect where you want to keep yours at home.

Also, expect it to grow in a wonderful compact shape, which is something worthwhile to remember when making your garden landscape plans.

This is why experts recommend keeping an area of approximately 12″ – 18″ (30cm – 45cm) free so the Little Lanterns Columbine can spread to its best extent.


In terms of watering, the Little Lanterns Columbine is a fairly complicated plant to take care of.

This is mostly because it has a not so straightforward watering schedule and somewhat regular watering needs.

Specifically, most experts agree that the Aquilegia Canadensis ‘Little Lanterns’ needs soil that is constantly moist through regular watering.

Which is why it is considered a plant with relatively average needs in terms of water. 


As a rule of thumb, you should remember to keep your Little Lanterns Columbine in soil with moist but well-draining characteristics, as these will guarantee the right conditions for your plant to grow and thrive. 

When you consider this, this is why you should aim to choose soil that has good drainage properties to keep the right moisture levels at all times. 

In our experience, the famous ‘thumb’ or ‘finger’ test is what works best for the Little Lanterns Columbine since with it, you will be able to give it the right amount of water, every time – regardless of the environment or placement where you do decide to keep it.

Aquilegia canadensis 'Little Lanterns' flowers

Soil Mix

As mentioned earlier, the Little Lanterns Columbine prefers to have soil with good drainage properties at all times, reason why you need to make the soil mix out of sand, loam, and clay.

This is why most experts agree that the Little Lanterns Columbine requires soil with loam (silt), which will give you the right conditions it needs.

In addition to this, expert gardeners recommend having preferably alkaline, acid or neutral soil.

Light and Exposure

In terms of light & exposure, the Little Lanterns Columbine requires partial to full sun in order for it to thrive under the right conditions. 

Most experts agree that this perennial will do well as long as you keep it in partial to full sun, and it will be able to grow properly.

Specifically, we recommend that you place your Aquilegia Canadensis ‘Little Lanterns’ in from little to partial shade (only 2-6 hours of direct sunlight a day), to dappled or moderate shade (under other plant’s canopy), to full and direct sun (more than 6 hours of direct sunlight per day).


Being a herbaceous plant, the Little Lanterns Columbine will die back to the ground every year. 

But, you can expect it to have its ‘prime-time’ during the spring (late), and during the summer (early).


You can expect your Little Lanterns Columbine to flower around the spring months from April to June (spring).

In particular, this perennial is well known for its long bloom season, flowers for cutting and showy flowers around the plant enthusiast community.

The Little Lanterns Columbine produces some beautiful red, or gold/yellow flowers around this time of year.


The leaves from the Little Lanterns Columbine have a beautiful green color during most of the year.

In particular, they have a simple arrangement in its leaves.

You can expect the leaves from your Aquilegia Canadensis ‘Little Lanterns’ to be around (< 1 inch) in size.

Aquilegia canadensis 'Little Lanterns' up close

Attracts, Tolerance and Resistance

The Little Lanterns Columbine is well known for being able to attract butterflies, so keep that in mind when choosing your plant, as you’ll likely end up finding one or another in your garden.

Additionally, it has a special tolerance for animals like rabbit and deer, so don’t worry if any of these come along, your Aquilegia Canadensis ‘Little Lanterns’ will be fine.


How should you then organize your garden to include your new Little Lanterns Columbine? Here are some recommendations by expert gardeners.

Most Aquilegia Canadensis ‘Little Lanterns’ owners agree that this perennial will look great in most cottage and rustic gardens of all types. 

Other owners consider that they complement well most gardens of informal and cottage, city and courtyard, and in prairie and meadow styles. 

In particular, the Little Lanterns Columbine’s best location within your garden is in beds and borders, and in underplanting roses and shrubs, others use it for landscaping in a dry shade, border, cutting garden, or a woodland garden.


Even though we covered a lot of care information for your Little Lanterns Columbine, remember the basics: sunlight, soil and water, as these should be enough to grow a healthy plant at home.

Martin Duran

Hey y'all! My name is Martin Duran and I am from Cali, Colombia. Since 2018 I have been learning about plants and how to take care of them. Here's is my journey... “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” ― John Muir

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