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Larkspur

Did you know? Larkspur is the flower of the month of July and its meaning denotes Fickleness.

Larkspur (Delphinium consolida) belongs to the buttercup family - Ranunculaceae. Larkspur flowers are almost as complex as the Orchids. The colorful Larkspur blooms cover a spectrum from white to blue to violet. Larkspur Flowers are irregularly shaped and bloom in a loose, vertical grouping along the upper end of the plant's main stalk. Larkspur is actually a very complex flower consisting of both petals and sepals.

Kingdom
Plantae
Division
Magnoliophyta
Class
Magnoliopsida
Order
Ranunculales
Family
Ranunculaceae
Genus
Delphinium

Baker's Larkspur (Delphinium bakeri) and Yellow Larkspur (D. luteum), native to some areas of California, are endangered species. Delphinium is a genus of about 250 species of annual, biennial or perennial flowering plants. The common name, shared with the closely related genus Consolida, is Larkspur.

Larkspur flowers come in a variety of colors including spikes of red, pink, violet and white. As a result of their generally similar floral structure, as well as the absence of genetic barriers to intercrossing, species of Larkspur are known to hybridize in many different combinations.

larkspur larkspur2

Facts About Larkspur

  • Larkspur, with tall spikes, make excellent Cutflowers. Two varieties of Larkspur are ideal as cut flowers - Consolida ambigua and Consolida orientalis.
  • The Larkspur Rose (Consolida ambigua) has tall spires of rose colored flowers. The 1/4 to 1/2 inch rose colored flowers are densely packed on tall stems.
  • The market for quality Larkspur is robust from many years. The alluring flower shape, wide range of colors, and the appealing foliage combine to make Larkspur a popular, marketable cut flower.
  • Larkspur flowers tend to be fragile and relatively short lived in the vase (under 7 days), making production for local markets more lucrative.
  • Larkspur grow to their full potential in climates with cool, moist summers.
  • The Larkspur plant is toxic. The stem and seeds contain alkaloids.
  • Apparently, domestic sheep are not affected by the toxins in Larkspurs. So, sometimes sheep are used to help eradicate the plant on cattle range.
  • Larkspur look identical to perennial Delphiniums.

Growing Larkspur

  • Sow Larkspur seeds directly in garden in the spring.
  • Sow them in the location you want them to grow as Larkspurs do not like to be transplanted.
  • Larkspur plants should be spaced about 6 to 8 inches apart.
  • Level with the soil surface. Carefully fill in and firm the soil gently.
  • Water the Larkspurs deeply to encourage root development, but be sure the roots do not stand in water or they will be at risk for root rot.

Larkspur plant care

  • Larkspurs are best started from seed in spring or fall.
  • Apply a thin layer of compost each spring, followed by a 2-inch layer of mulch to retain moisture and control weeds on Larkspur beds.
  • Water Larkspur plants during the summer if rainfall is less than 1 inch per week.
  • Soil should never dry out for the Larkspurs.
  • Stake tall varieties of Larkspur to prevent hollow flower stalks from snapping in the wind, and deadhead after flowering to encourage rebloom.
  • After the first killing frost, cut the Larkspur's stems back to an inch or two above soil line.
  • Divide plants every three to four years as new growth begins in the spring, lifting plants and dividing them into clumps.
  • Remove spent Larkspur flowers as needed. Trim back to the ground in late fall after foliage dies back.

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