(Images provided by AFIF)
With the closed flower resembling the shape of a dolphin’s long bottle-nose, the name delphinium (or hybrid delphinium) was derived from the Greek “delphis”, meaning dolphin. You might also know this perennial flower by the name larkspur.
The genus delphinium contains about 300 species, including California Larkspur, Royal Larkspur and Tall Larkspur. All species are indigenous to the Northern Hemisphere and are available to grow year-round, even though they are not the easiest flower to cultivate.
To raise delphinium, here are a few basic tips. Start by ensuring their soil is well fertilized and enriched. This flower loves to soak up as much nutrients as it can get, as long as it is not overeating nitrogen or other chemicals in strong fertilizers. This flower also prefers their soil to be airy and well drained. This can be accomplished by mixing a compost or mulch with the soil to keep it light. When deciding where the delphinium will be planted in your garden, choose a spot that allows an abundance of sunlight to cast on the flowers, as they prosper in the sun. The more sun they get, the higher they will grow. With heights that can reach up to 7 feet, you may find it surprising that this flower can stand erect on its own, although it will appreciate some kind of standing support to ensure wind and/or other elements do not knock it over or bend it.
Easily cut this flower and add to any mixed bouquet or arrange the flowers alone in a vase to stand as a beautiful centerpiece. Florists also enjoy drying out this flower and adding it to arrangements like wreaths or potpourri, while using cinnamon sticks for scent (larkspur has no fragrance).
Delphinium is a symbol of all good things, including cheerfulness, warmth and fun. This is probably why they are the birthday flower of the summer month July. Their colors are also a warm and happy reminder of the flowers’ meaning, coming in ranges from bright whites, to hot pinks, to light and deep blues and most popularly, rich purples.
Also visit our Hybrid Delphinium Life Cycle page.