One of the first species of these noble plants
to be introduced to British gardens and a native
of the Swiss Alps.
Known also as the Rocket Larkspur, the foliage
is finely cut and fern-like, and the stems attain
two or three feet, with branching spikes of five
sepalled florets, of single or double form, and
varying considerably in colour from white to blue,
violet, purple, pink and carmine.
Delphinium grandiflorum (syn. sinense) is often cultivated
as a biennial, for it is of very doubtful perennial
duration. It reaches a height of two feet with
very branching stems, bearing long-spurred florets
of white or bright blue, an inch or more across,
with small white centres sometimes shaded with
Delphinium paniculatum, from Western North America, bears
its small, spurred violet-blue florets in masses
on very branching racemes to a height of one and
a half feet.
Annual Larkspurs do not transplant satisfactorily;
it is best to sow where they are to flower in
September or March, and thin out when an inch
or so high.
Propagate from seed.
The flowering season is from July to September.
Larkspur – Annual Delphinium
Three to four feet.
Flowers of several colours, July to October.
The Larkspurs are amongst the best of the taller
annuals, and deserve not only stations in the
mixed border, but groups and beds to themselves.
The foliage is deeply cut and feathery, and the
spikes of flower are carried on wiry branching
The blooms have the semi-double arrangement of
petals with the central eye and the spur of all
There are several distinct sorts of Larkspur,
such as the Stock-, Hyacinth-, and Ranunculus-flowered,
the tall branching and the dwarf Rocket strains.
Of these the branching (or Candelabrum) variety
of the Stock-flowered is perhaps the best.
The colours comprise a very beautiful dark blue
(under-shot with a tinge of crimson) white, and
a pretty reddish pink (which in the catalogue
passes for “rosy scarlet”).
Seed of all the varieties should be sown in the
open about the 25th of March, or a little later
if the season be backward. In sowing large patches
or beds, the seed may be put into shallow drills.
The seedlings must be thinned in good time, and
kept clean of weeds.
Large groups of Larkspur may require a little
support – a couple of sticks and a length
of bass or string on the leeward side –
in September rain and gales.
See also: Delphinium