Larkspur – Delphinium Growing And Planting Tips

A woman holding delphinium
A woman holding delphinium

Delphinium is a well-known ornate plant that elevates the charm of commercial and home gardens. They bring a spatter of color to the garden with their vibrant hues. They are high maintenance plants that is why they bring little challenges with them but their spiky flowers and colorful shades make them the favorite pick for the growers.

Delphiniums are primarily grown because of their captivating spikes of colorful summer flowers in bewitching shades of blue, pink, white, and purple. They are infamous for cottage-style gardens and cutting gardens. 

They blossom with single, semi-double, and double flowers, known as florets.

The word “delphinium” is taken from the Greek word ‘delphinos’ which means dolphin because the shape of the flowers resembles the dolphin. The common name of this plant is larkspur and it is dated back to Tudor times.

 

Where is the best place to plant the delphinium?

Most of the delphinium are hardy perennials in nature. If you want to plant it, you are suggested to go for moist and well-drained soil under the full sun. Avoid places that are windy as the wind can blow the flowers away. They are not light sensitive which signifies that they can be planted at any time. You can plant it in the month of summer or dead of winter. The best flowers come on the plants which are early grown in the cool temperature, flowers bloom in all weather, they will just be a little short on their spikes.

They are a little tough on the gardeners as they love to be in soggy and cool summers and they do not grow well in hot, dry weather. The plants do not like gusts of wind and downpouring.

 

Planting of the delphinium

  • They thrive in a moist climate. They grow better in fertile and well-drained soil in full sun to light shade. They need shelter from strong winds.
  • Plant it in spring. Prepare the soil with a mixture of 2 to 4 inches of good compost.
  • Its genus consists of 300 varieties of these plants some of which are annuals, some are biennials or perennials. Some plants grow easily from the seeds and some don’t.
  • You are suggested to dig a pit that must be half of the diameter of the container.
  • Well-drained and humus-rich soil is a necessity and slightly alkaline soil is preferred. Mulching assists to preserve moistness in the soil, but if it is applied closely, it can be the reason for the rotting of the stem.

The quality of soil plays a major role in the success or failure of growing delphinium. Soil should not be left to dry out. Let the plant drink enough water during the summer if the rainfall is less than 1 inch per week.

  • To get the best quality of floral spikes, the new plants need to be thinned to 2 to 3 good shoots i.e pinch out the excess shoots and just keep 2 or 3 good shoots, when they are 3 inches high and for the well-grown plants, they can be thinned to 5 to 7 shoots.
  • During growth, freely water all the plants and apply a balanced liquid fertilizer every two to three weeks.
  • Remove the dead flowers by cutting spent flower spikes back to the small, flowering side shoots.
  • When the delphiniums put an end to the blooming, cut the stalks of the flower to the ground, and new, though smaller stacks, new flowers will develop.
  • Every 2 to 3 weeks you are suggested to use a balanced and slow-release liquid fertilizer and refrain from using high nitrogen fertilizers. They are heavy feeders so composted manure assists them better.
  • Give them plenty of water during the season of low rainfall, but do not allow standing water, they love to be in soggy condition but the water that lingers can cause root rot. It is advised to keep the foliage dry as it can prevent the plant from diseases.
  • September to March is the preferred time to plant the seeds. It is required to use fresh seeds as germination can be poor after a year. Presoaking is advised during the temperature range of 65 at night and 75 in the day as it improves the germination rate.
  • Seeds are required to get covered up to one-eighth inch of soil, keep them soggy but do not wet them as it can result in root rot.
  • It is normal for these plants to not bloom in their first year. Be patient and wait to witness the beautiful blooms in the second year.
  • They are vulnerable to a host of diseases which are powdery mildew, southern blight, bacterial and fungal spots, gray mold, crown and root rot, rust to name a few.
  • If you plant your delphinium in a space with proper light and in a well-ventilated space while keeping the foliage dry, it will provide prolonged prevention from diseases.
  • Protection is required from slugs and snails in the young plant, as they can cause harm. 
  • They can easily be plagued by cyclamen mites, aphids, and nematodes.
Delphinium
Delphinium

 

Are delphiniums poisonous to touch?

These plants are dangerous and a little toxic, especially the younger ones. If it is consumed by humans or any livestock it will cause severe issues like indigestion and if someone gets in touch with the plant it can cause severe skin irritation.

All parts of the plants are toxic and carry poisonous chemicals, which are diterpenoid alkaloids like methyllycaconitine. Seeds of the plant are harmful; it contains 1.4% content of alkaloids. Consumption of this plant can cause death in minutes as it is cardiotoxic and causes neuromuscular blocking effects. The wild varieties of delphinium are the main cause of cattle poisonings which causes death.

 

What does the larkspur symbolize?

Delphiniums are infamously known as larkspur. They are the birth flowers of July month. It got its name from Tudor’s time because the blooms of the larkspur manifest lark’s spur or claw.

According to a belief in Greek mythology, this birth flower of July blossomed where the blood of Ajax was splashed in the battle of Troy.

Larkspur is also famous as a preventive plant to repulse venomous snakes and cure stings of scorpions.

The larkspur represents the strong connection of love. Commonly, it manifests an open heart, and strong attachment to someone, and the commemoration of positivity. As there are different shades of hues in the larkspur, the meaning varies according to the color.

  • Blue larkspur: It represents dignity and grace.
  • Pink larkspur: It symbolizes contrariety.
  • White larkspur: It signifies a happy and positive nature.
  • Purple larkspur: It shows the feeling of first love.

 

Do delphiniums multiply?

They multiply swiftly; they will be in their double form in the following year that is why they require division every two to three years, especially in the early season of spring as soon as they start giving hints of new growth. The division of the plant leads to a healthy life of the delphinium. Division should be done when the plant is all healthy.

Delphinium
Delphinium

Steps to divide the delphinium

1. Arrange and water generously

It is required to water the plant thoroughly, one day before the division. The division process is a little hard on the root system of the plant, it will provide a shock to the plant. The feeding and hydration cycle will be disturbed so largely saturated roots will decrease the effect.

2. Cut the excess foliage

To decrease the stress that the roots are under, the over-spilled foliage must be taken off approximately up to one-third. This will help in lessening any immoderate stress on the roots.

3. Arrange new plant holes

Using the spade, dig holes for the new divisions of the plant. The holes must be a little larger than the plant but not as large as the authentic ones because the new plants will be smaller. The holes should have adequate space to allow expansion.

4. Root up the delphinium

Start digging at the drip line as the roots will not expand further than that. This will protect any root rot and allows removal with most of the root system intact. Dig near the root system, hacking off dead roots. 

5. Keep roots soggy

Keep the plant in a bucket, under the shade, and cover them with a piece of newspaper to protect it from losing its moisture. Sprinkle water on the newspaper if the roots appear to be dry.

6. Boost soil conditions

Add any matter to the original pit from which the delphinium was taken out. This will breathe new life into the soil and help in keeping up the fertility, thus assisting the plant to prosper.

7. Divide the delphinium

Gently dismantle the plant, you are advised to be careful to not break the roots in the flower dividing process. The fresh plants should be at most 20 percent of the original since smaller sections will give rise to longer-lasting powers and also tend to develop more strenuously. They augment fastly, the plant will become double of the original in the following year. If the division is too big the plant will have to be divided again in the next year.

8. Plants

Plant in a way so that the tip of the roots is at the level with the soil surface. Fill up the hole on the sides of the roots and lightly press on the soil to firm it. Water it with full generosity.

9. Root pruning

Another way to propagate them is by using root cuttings. Cut it by 1 to 2 inches from a healthy root and place it in a pot full of moisture blended with a very slight amount of soil. Place the root tip above ½ inch of the soil line. Keep the pot in a large plastic bag to preserve humidity. After two to three weeks you can remove the plastic bag as the roots can adjust to the lower level of sogginess. New shoots will germinate within 3 months, but it can take a long time also.

 

Types of delphinium

Delphinium
Delphinium

1. Elatum group

The elatum group consists of Delphinium elatum species. These cluster-forming perennials are avowed by common names alpine delphinium or candle larkspur. It is frequently grown as ornamental, they need extra care and maintenance. They display numerous single, semi-double, or double flowers in early mid-summer. Hues of flowers range from blue, purple, white, cream, and pink. They have a short span of life. The elatum group can be further categorized into three types: short varieties, medium varieties, and tall varieties.

2. Belladonna group

In the belladonna group delphiniums, the height of the plant grows about three to four feet and spreads up to 1.5 to 2.5 feet. The floral stalks blossom with branched spikes of double or single flowers in hues of blue or white in the period of early summer. Proper pruning of the plants will lift the reblooming in the period of late summer to early fall.

3. Grandiflorum group

The grandiflorum is infamously known as the Chinese delphiniums or Siberian delphiniums. This group of plants is native to Russia and China. These perennials have a short span of life. They are habitual of bushy growth. They prefer drier areas, including rock gardens, and their height reaches up to 1 to 2 feet.

This group of delphinium blossoms captivates shades of blue or white, it blooms in the period of midsummer. It forms dispersed flowers.

4. Pacific Giants

They are also well known as the pacific hybrids series or Pacific strain, they produce plants that grow up to 4 to 6 feet in height. The flowers from columnar spikes of single to double blooms in a wide variety of shades, which include blue, white, purple, lavender, and pink.

5. New Zealand Hybrids

Delphiniums that belong to New Zealand hybrids are perennials of medium size. In this group ‘Pegan purples’  and ‘Dasante Blue’ cultivars are found, as well as those are famous in the new millennium series.

 

What do Delphiniums represent? 

The delphinium meaning is quite enthralling. They usually represent goodwill and merriness. The elegant bloom brings contentment and warmth that they make great gifts to make someone’s day. 

Different shades convey different meanings. Blue delphinium stands for dignity. White, pink, and light blue delphiniums convey the message of re-establishment and youthfulness.

These July birth blooms also signify an open heart and a deep attachment. 

 

7 amazing facts about Delphiniums

  • Originally delphiniums were wildflowers but the ones that exist today are no longer wild.
  • In the ancient era, Delphiniums were used for medicinal purposes and even for composure and good sleep. They are also used as a treatment to cure the sting of scorpion and parasitism. This is no longer in practice because they contain toxic chemicals.
  • In England, people tend to sprinkle larkspur in their bathwater to keep themselves safe from ghosts and magic.
  • In some places, Larkspur is known as the  ‘Queen of the Border’ because of its tall and proud structure.
  • The juice of the delphinium bloom is mixed with alum to create blue ink.
  • It is being claimed that this plant helps to create treatment of acid reflux, anorexia, and asthma.
  • Delphiniums are a garden treasure but they have a short span of life.

Larkspur is an ornamental beauty. They add charm to any occasion or event. Get beautiful delphinium blooms via flower delivery Singapore. It is slightly difficult to go out in these tough times, pick your favorite shade of larkspur on your fingertip ordering through flower delivery.

You can also get a larkspur soap flower as an ideal gift. It will create a moment of magic and help in the elevation of the joyous ambiance.

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