(Images provided by AFIF)
Closely resembling the delphinium, and formerly a part of the same genus, Larkspur has been recently split off into its own genus, Consolida (though they are both in the same family of Ranunculaceae). Telling a larkspur apart from a delphinium can be done based on the flower structure. Larkspurs open up more loosely than delphinium and are in single flower heads, rather than a cluster of several. These popular delicate and ornamental flowers are native to Western Europe and the Mediterranean.
The most common colors to find larkspur in are blue or purple, although it is not unheard of to see them in pinks or whites. These flowers can reach heights of 3-6 feet with several flowers evenly spaced on the stem. These annual flowers are considered fairly easy to grow and bloom in the spring or summer. To care for larkspur, plant them in well fertilized, moist soil. It is important to keep their soil moist since they grow quickly. Make sure to water once or twice per week depending on the weather conditions. Fertilizing is recommended monthly until blooms appear. They also like full to partial sun and appreciate the removal of dead flower heads, which encourages new flower head growth.
Be conscientious of where you plant these flowers, since they are poisonous to both animals and humans if ingested because of the alkaloids they contain. Wild larkspur is especially poisonous to cattle, though they do not affect domestic sheep.
Besides being the official flower for July birthdays, the colors of larkspurs have several meanings.
• Pink symbolizes fickleness
• White symbolizes a happy-go-lucky nature
• Purple symbolizes of first love or a sweet disposition
Florists love using this flower in cut arrangements, although they do not last very long. On average, larkspur only lasts about 6 days. They are also popular to dry out and use in crafts or dried arrangements, especially blue or purple larkspur which retain their deep, saturated hues.
Also visit our Larkspur Life Cycle page.