"Delphinium is a perennial favorite as the tall spikes of blue flowers in the background of a stately English or cottage garden. The modern delphinium flower may be a single or double rosette in popular blue or red, pink, white, violet and yellow. Many of the flowers have white or black centers known as 'bees.'
"Delphinium, a native throughout the Northern Hemisphere includes about 300 species in the Ranunculaceae (Buttercup) Family. The name 'delphinium' originated with the ancient Greeks who thought the shape of the new flower bud with spur resembled that of a dolphin’s nose. Delphinium is often called by the common name 'larkspur' which is shared between the perennial Delphinium and the annual Consolida species.
"Homeowners can begin their delphiniums from seed or as a plant from a garden retailer. They are very easy to grow in the northern climates with very little maintenance. As a perennial, they tolerate cool northern climates and overwinter with ease as a hardy perennial in Zone 4. Some misunderstanding about non-hardiness actually comes from hot and humid climates, which the plants cannot tolerate for long periods of time. Delphiniums act more like annuals in the southern climates.
"After the first flush of flowers, plants can be cut back and a second set of flowers will appear on shorter stems. Mulching is not recommended, because it can cause stem rot. After heavy frost, late-fall early-winter plants need to be cut back and cleaned up. Winter protection is not necessary, but plants can be covered with hay or leaves to protect the crowns. This protection needs to be removed very early in spring to maintain a healthy Delphinium in the garden. In natural snow-covered areas, no extra protection is needed.
Learn more about Delphiniums from the National Garden Bureau.
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