A cottage garden staple, Delphiniums command attention standing tall in beds and borders. They are a genus of around 300 species, rich in colour, they also make a stunning cut flower. Known also as Larkspur, the Delphinium is easy to grow and will flower all summer.
They come in a variety of colours from the stunning Delphinium Dark Blue Black Bee to the gorgeous Delphinium Rose White Bee and delicate Delphinium Light Blue White Bee. The Delphinium Delgenius series is a brand new series of Delphinium which has been bred to be significantly more sturdy and compact than other Delphiniums. Putting them in the spotlight, A Focus on Delphiniums, looks at the history, meaning and some frequently asked questions.
There are two Greek myths that are associated with how Delphiniums got their name. One is that their flowers resembled a dolphin because of their unique shape that reminded some of the marine mammal. The other being that it was named after the Delphi temple because the Greek God Apollo, favoured the flower and so many thought it brought good luck. In England many refer to it as Larkspur, as in Tudor times it was thought the nectary looked similar to a larks claw. Whilst others call it the Queen of the Border given that it stands tall and proud.
People may disagree on the origin of the name but few disagree that it is a flower that conveys joy and warmth. It’s a perfect gift for someone who might be having a difficult time as it symbolises comfort, positivity and support.
There is meaning attached to the colour too. Blues are for dignity and grace, light blue is for youth and success, white for innocence and purity and pink/purple is for romance, love, royalty and beauty.They come in a variety of species with the most popular being the Royal, California and Tall.
There is so much to discover about Delphiniums and the Country Living Fact File has plenty of information.
As part of our “A Focus on Delphiniums” we have included some frequently asked questions below.
What conditions do Delphiniums like?
Delphiniums love moist but well drained soil. When planting you might want to consider adding grit to your planting hole as they don’t like wet winter soil.
Perfect in a sunny spot and sat at the back of a bed or border as they grow tall. They need to be supported as soon as they start growing and should be tied to a stake to protect them from falling over. If possible, shelter from the wind so they stay upright!
How do you take care of Delphiniums?
They like sun in the morning and shade in the afternoon so pick your spot well and they should reward you with their gorgeous flowers through the summer. Don’t let them dry out, you can use mulch to maintain moisture levels and this helps with keeping roots cool. If your Delphiniums don’t look to be growing well or you notice any yellowing of the leaves it might be worth adding some fertiliser to encourage and support growth.
Make sure you also deadhead them and remove any stalks that have finished. This should ensure you are treated to a second round of glorious flowers towards the end of summer.
Why do Delphiniums droop?
They need plenty of water to ensure they don’t get dry and droop so water at least once a week.
They are also heavy flowers on tall hollow stems and this means they are prone to breaking. Staking is important and you have a few choices, you can create your own cage using three bamboo canes with string tied around them to create a cage or invest in a plant support ring or grid which the Delphinium can then grow through and up. The upside is that if you do get some that droop it’s the perfect excuse to cut them and bring them inside as they make gorgeous cut flowers.
What is killing my Delphinium?
It could be too wet or too dry! If they sit in wet water logged soil through the winter they can die, so make sure you have adequate drainage. Equally, they don’t like to dry out either as this can cause mildew so keeping them moist is the key to successful growth and flowering.
Do slugs like Delphiniums?
Just like many of our garden favourites, slugs are a serious and common problem for the young Delphinium plant. There are many ways you try to combat this, such as placing a barrier around them, for example coffee grounds, cocoa shells, crushed eggshells or shells. Or by creating beer traps or placing copper rings around the roots.
To end our “A Focus on Delphiniums”, here are a few quick questions gardeners often ask:
Should I pinch out Delphiniums?
No leave it to flower but you can cut it back after flowering to encourage more shoots.
Do Delphiniums come back every year?
Yes they do. They are tolerant of our winters and can be cut back to the ground in the Autumn ready to grow again in the spring.
Are Delphiniums poisonous?
Unfortunately they are and to both humans and pets. Make sure you keep them away from children as if eaten they can lead to severe illnesses and sometimes death.
How many years do Delphiniums last?
They have a lifespan of around 2-3 years.
Do bees like Delphiniums?
Yes they do, bees love blue flowers so choose something like the Delphinium Paramo Azul and you’re bound to keep the bees happy!
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