Chocolate is a weakness for many and to have it in flower form it is even harder to resist! The blooms of Aquilegia ‘Chocolate Soldier’ have a soft, sweet scent and open in profusion from late spring into summer. The fragrance won’t drift from the plants like it does for Lilies and Roses, but if you get up close and personal with them you will be able to smell the sweet perfume.
These sweet plants date back to 1902 and have become floral heirlooms. Aquilegia 'Chocolate Soldier' is a dwarf variety that grows 20-30cm tall. The deep mahogany purple petals are coupled with green sepals and look like little bells. It is undeniably a charming.
Aquilegias are cottage garden essentials, the elegant, fern like leaves are a rare blue-green colour and they make a beautiful foil for other plants. Plus they develop just in time to fill in for the fading spring flowering bulbs.
Aquilegias like light to moderate shade though will tolerate full sun with a bit of extra watering. The flowers tend to last longer when planted in light shade. Aquilegias are suitable for growing in a lightly shaded border, or morning sun. They look amazing in massed plantings or in large containers. After the initial flowering has finished, cut the stems back to the basal foliage for future blooms.
Leave the last flowers of the season to form seed heads for future generations of plants. Aquilegia seedlings are unlikely to flower true to type as they hybridise easily. Keep good air flow around the plants to avoid powdery mildew and keep an eye out for aphids.
Aquilegia should be planted in moist, well drained humus rich soil. The botanical name, Aquilegia stems from the Latin word for Eagle, as the spurs resemble Eagles talons.
Spring to Summer
Cool to Mediterranean
Full Sun to Semi Shade