Last year I planted two black barlow columbines (they were very small pieces, but they did have roots). Anyways, I have not seen any signs of life in them this year. Are they just really late this year, or should I assume they're dead?
in my z5 MI .. everything is late ...
regardless.. it should have been there all winter.. little nubs ready to explode ...
if there is absolutely nothing there... i would bet its gone.. unless you planted it too deep ...
but give it a couple weeks more.. and let us know ...
My columbines have been up for a while and are just starting to bloom. They came up quite a while ago. I wouldn't give up though! Things are off this year.
Mine are all up, in fact the most mature are nice bushy clumps. Some are sending up blooming shoots, but no actual blooms yet.
My guess is that yours are gone. Some of the rarified cultivars don't seem to be very winter-hardy. I purchased and started from seed a bunch of the Origami series, as well as Rose Queen, and most of them never made it over the winter.
Yellow Origami, A. caerulea, A. canadensis, and McKana's have all performed well though.
As other posters have remarked, columbines are late to the party this year, as are most other perennials. Several of my seed-grown plants have buds while others are just getting some size to them.
I wouldn't write them off the page just yet but suggest you be prepared to do so if they don't show up soon.
I have a wind-sowed plant that comes back every year in the crack between where the driveway asphalt meets the garage foundation cement. It's never bloomed but this year it's already twice the size it grew in prior years. They're tough plants.
You stated they were very small pieces. I assume they were divisions? Depending on the size and quality of those divisions and when you planted them, that may be the reason they didn't make it. I lost my columbine this past winter, but am already seeing seedlings. I think if they were alive you should be seeing something by now. Columbine are pretty early to emerge IMO.
And for the record, if they were divisions, I've never had much luck dividing them. I realize all the literature says they can be divided, but I've never been successful.
I had some that a threw seeds down for last fall/winter only to have them do virtually nothing until the end of the summer last year where they put up a few sets of little leaves. This year they're full plants, ready to bloom. I'm in approx zone 5, too, and I have planted a number of columbine plants bought from nurseries, stores or received in swaps and they have NEVER come back. These that I grew from seeds are the only ones to have done it so far. I know plenty of people grow columbines around here, perennially, with no problems - just my experience.