The Delphinium Flower - An Old Fashioned Favorite
Whether you see it in an English garden, or in a clearing in the woods, the delphinium flower can be a show stopper. Although there are shorter varieties, most delphiniums grow to a height of 5 to 6 feet, with dense spikes of flowers. More popular in years past, one doesn't see too many of these flowers in today's gardens, which is a shame.
The delphinium flower can be grown as either an annual or as a perennial. It is normally sown from seed, and will germinate within 2 to three weeks, and grow rapidly. The plant can also be propagated by dividing the rhizomes of an established plant. Another method of propagation is by rooting cuttings, but this method is only for those who have some expertise in this area, and is definitely not for the faint of heart.
Great In The Old Fashioned Garden, Or The Wildflower Patch - The fact that the delphinium is often seen growing in the wild, suggests its use in a wildflower garden. Otherwise, plant the seeds or seedlings in the background, as the mature plant is likely to be taller than most of its neighbors. The delphinium flower comes in many colors, with purple and blue being the most common, but you can also grow delphiniums that are shades of pink, red, lavender, yellow, and white. A favorite among home gardeners is the Pacific Giant mix, sold by many retailers. The Pacific Giant mix gives you 18 inch spikes of blue, pink, violet, and white double flowers. By the way, the delphinium flower makes an excellent cut flower. If cut and placed in water at the time of blooming it can last for up to two weeks.
A Note Of Caution - Before you run out and start working the ground for a whole bed of delphiniums, a cautionary note is in order. If you have very young children or pets, take care where you place these plants, if you want them at all. All parts of the delphinium are highly poisonous, and if ingested can be potentially fatal. If you have a toddler who has a habit of tasting various plants, or just putting new things in his or her mouth, you might want to wait a year before planting delphiniums in your garden.
Planting Tips - The delphinium flower does best when planted in full sun, although it will generally also do well if planted in a partially shaded location. They like a moist soil; in fact the plant should never be allowed to dry out completely. A rich well drained soil with compost mixed in, will get your plants off to a good start. If you have a seedling or established plant, it will benefit from bone meal placed in the planting hole. You can generally transplant a plant you've purchased in a nursery, but once you delphinium has become established in the spot you've planted it, it will not take kindly to being moved. So pick your spot carefully. Adding some mulch will help keep your plant moist, and may even save your plant should you be tardy in watering it during hot weather. Over the growing period, watering once a week will often be sufficient, but young plants should be watered more frequently, and established plants should be watered twice a week during the hottest months. Delphiniums usually are at their very best when grown under cool summer conditions.
When you're planting the taller varieties, there's a good possibility they'll eventually need to be staked. Bamboo stakes are best for this, as they tend to blend in well with the plant. It's recommended you tie the plant to the stake about a foot off the ground, and if the plant is a tall variety, say 4 to 6 feet, a second tie closer to the blossoms may also be needed.
When you're planning next years flower bed, or wildflower garden, take a second look in the seed catalogs at the delphiniums. You'll probably agree that this beautiful flower deserves a spot in your garden.