Return to the Perennials Forum | Post a Follow-Up

Need Delph help

Posted by QBush 6, NE MA (My Page) on
Sun, Aug 4, 13 at 10:39

I have succumbed to Delphinium. In previous years plants from local nursery have bloomed once and disappeared, so this year I purchased seed for Delphinium x belladonna. Really loved the open, less formal structure, oh and they are blue! Does it get better??

Plan is to start seed now, and transplant either fall, or spring. I can hold them in unheated greenhouse if necessary

The package directions (I have learned to take these with CARE) indicate a prechill of 2 weeks, at 35-45 degree F. Wet or Dry?

Research online has me confused...
Is this a delphinium or a larkspur? I like both, just need to know .
Is it a perennial or an annual? I am not concerned with blooms this year (it is August...) but would like to hope I could get them started for next year.
Is it in point of fact toxic? (package has warning) Once again just need to know, DTB (DearTeenageBoy) only eats what I cook, but fluffy white friend hunts in the garden...

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Need Delph help

Neither. Looks like a white dog - I think you posted the wrong pic. ;)

RE: Need Delph help

It is perennial and will bloom the first year from seed started in January -- I do this every year with the winter-sow method. I think 'Larkspur' is the wild form and is an annual but could be wrong. It also is lovely and self sows so it really is there every year -- it is much shorter.

My experience is that many delphs are short-lived (5 yrs or less) but that isn't a problem since they are so easy to grow from seed.

RE: Need Delph help

I love the fluffy friend.

RE: Need Delph help

Delphinium x belladonna does tend to be a longer lived hybrid and maybe less touchy about hot, dry weather than the elatum types :-) The common name 'larkspur' is shared between various perennial species of delphinium as well as the annual Consolida.......such is the confusion of common names.

And yes, delphinium are considered to be highly toxic (can be fatal if ingested) to both humans and animals although they offer nothing that encourages ingestion. If white fluffy friend trends to chew on any plant material, I might reconsider this choice.

RE: Need Delph help

  • Posted by QBush 6, NE MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 5, 13 at 8:12

Thanks for the info all!
Donna: I planted seeds for Samoyed, and this is what I got! :)
emmarene: So do I. She is a bunch of giggles in the garden, and she pines when I don't go out. This is a totally accidental picture, I just never know what I'll get when I press the shutter in her direction...

Hmmph re Delphiniums.. Ryse and Gardengal: Thanks for the info! I haven't tried the winter sow method, will go read up on it. I did try something last year with an annual that is reputed to be a self sower. I planted Buplereum on top of the tulip bulbs. I had ordered a large package, and wanted to know what the seedlings would look like when I planted them in the spring so I wouldn't pull them as weeds. They came up, and made a neat little row, at the front of the bed. Stayed small until the snow covered them. MA, north of Boston and we did have some snow last year, not the bumper crop of 2 years ago, but ground as well covered Dec to Mar.

When the snow melted, there was that neat row of tiny Buplereum, just happy as anything among the tulips! They grew well, and put out blooms at least a month before the other seeds I planted in the correct time, in full sun. So I am collecting seed, from that fall sown group, and going to try it again this year. I ordered the Delphinium x belledonna in August as an experiment in this direction.

So I have put half the seed into the frig in a wet paper towel in plastic bag, and the other half in the package dry. Will check the wet towel in a couple 5 days, and plant either in 2 weeks, or when I see action. I'll post when I have info

Oh and Keelo (the dog) doesn't chew on things that don't run away, like snakes, chipmunk, voles, bees, and the occasional grasshopper.

RE: Need Delph help

my larkspur.. is a self sown ANNUAL ... that blooms with the self sown annual poppies ... and then spread its seeds.. and immediately dies to the ground... very ephemeral ... temporary ...

i dont know the latin on mine ....

perennial delphs were VERY SHORT LIVED for me in my garden... no more than two years ... you probably wont be able to answer that.. until you actually grow them ...

all delphs have a very unique leaf pattern.. it is pretty easy to ID them as babes ...

i would suggest you plant some direct.. and some in pots ...

as to the child/dog... i presume everything is toxic at some level.. and i usually suggest you train your child/dog.. rather than denude your garden of all plants ...

i did such thru the use of avoidance training with a bitter apple spray from the vet ... such was discussed at the link


Here is a link that might be useful: link

RE: Need Delph help

I have a blue Delphinium x belladonna that is about 10 yrs. old I also have it in pink and white but they are newer . The trick to longevity is - IMO - to not allow it to set to many seeds . Also , it seems to love a lot composted sheep poop .

RE: Need Delph help

  • Posted by QBush 6, NE MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 5, 13 at 21:41

Ken: Planting direct should be on my list! While I am learning I might as well try several approaches. And yes it is amazing how many plants we put in the garden are toxic so assuming everything COULD be isn't a bad idea. Keelo doesn't chew, so I have never used bitter apple.

Sammywilt: Oh they come in pink as well? Fun!! I don't know anyone with sheep but horse manure is easy to find locally. Hadn't thought about seed set affecting lifespan.... But since I am mostly working at cutting flowers right now deadheading shouldn't be a problem.

Generic thoughts on longevity: Personally I try not to hold it against a plant that "only" lasts "x" years. I just assume operator error, and keep putting seeds in the ground. While I certainly don't mind buying plants, I do get a thrill out of that small speck of dry matter going into the soil and watching the living plant that emerges. I guess that is why I focus mainly on vegetables.

RE: Need Delph help

The middle tends to collapse if plant is not fed .If it does this , I just cut it to about 3 " .It regrows pretty fast . Mine have never gotten taller then 12 " .They bloom from early June untill Mid/ late July . I do have a white one blooming right now . There are 3 diff. shades of blue ( to my wife's eyes they are purple ) a white a pink and I havn't seen it but Im told there is a rose . Its a toss up on them or lupines being my favorite plant :)

 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Perennials Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here