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~ The Chinese Larkspur, Delphinium grandiflorum ~

The Chinese Larkspurs make a striking display of royal blue in the garden that contrasts nicely with yellow, pink or white coloured neighbours. They possess many attributes that make them a superior choice over the traditional, tall Delphiniums such as Delphinium elatum 'Pacific Giants.'

Chinese Larkspurs are bluer, require no staking, flower continuously until seed-set in the fall, and their loose, spreading inflorescences make a more impressive display, both in the garden or as cut flowers. It is a well-known fact that hummingbirds zero in on red, but they love a true blue just as much. The Larkspurs's spurs reward the birds with sweet nectar.

Chinese Larkspurs require little more than a moist well-drained soil and a sunny location, and are not bothered with hot summers, as are the traditional varieties. Though technically considered perennial to zone 3, their return is by no means guaranteed and they are at best short-lived, but will self-sow if pleased with the site. The new seedlings are difficult to distinguish from weeds, do not pull indiscriminately. Cultivars don't come true to seed, and tend to revert to the species type, which is strikingly blue - who will complain? Bonus: the Chinese Larkspur is first-year flowering.

Height and spread will vary between varieties and strains, to 65 cm height and 40 cm spread. The plants are useful both as focal accents or mass plantings. They are best direct-seeded as they resent transplantation after germination.

Click to enlarge

Mass of blue flowers

Saturated blue

View spurs

Chinese Larkspur Suppliers

Hortico - A Canadian source for plants of 'Blue Fountain,' 'Blue Pygmy,' 'Finsteraahorn' and 'Mrs. Newton Lees.'
Stokes Seeds - Canada source for seeds of 'Summer Blues' and 'Summer Nights.'
Floribunda Seeds - Canadian source for seeds of the species.
Thompson and Morgan - Offers seeds of the 'Summer Blues' miniature variety.

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