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Herbaceous Perennial

Delphinium elatum
  • RHS Plants for pollinators

candle larkspur

D. elatum is a tall, upright, herbaceous perennial to 180cm with deeply lobed leaves and stiff spikes of dark, purplish-blue flowers in summer

Other common names
alpine delphinium
common bee larkspur

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Size
Ultimate height
1.5–2.5 metres
Time to ultimate height
2–5 years
Ultimate spread
0.5–1 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Clay
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Moist but well–drained, Well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green
Summer Blue Green
Autumn Green
Winter
Position
  • Full sun
Aspect

South–facing or West–facing or East–facing

Exposure
Sheltered
Hardiness
H5
Botanical details
Family
Ranunculaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Columnar upright
Potentially harmful
All parts may cause severe discomfort if ingested. Wear gloves and wash hands after handling
Genus

Delphinium can be annuals, biennials or perennials, with palmately lobed basal leaves and showy bowl-shaped flowers in spikes, racemes or panicles

Name status

Correct

Plant range
Europe to N & C Asia

How to grow

Cultivation

Grow in a fertile, well-drained soil in full sun; shelter from strong winds and stake well. For best flower spikes thin shoots when 7cm high to leave a minimum of 2-3 shoots on young plants and 5-7 shoots on established plants

Propagation

Propagate by taking pencil-thick, basal, softwood cuttings in early spring

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Flower borders and beds
  • Cut flowers
Pruning

Deadhead by cutting spent flower spikes back to small flowering side shoots. Removing of the flower spikes straight after flowering may encourage a second flush of flowers in late summer. Cut down all growth to ground level after it has withered in autumn

Pests

Prone to slugs, snails, leaf miners and caterpillars

Diseases

May be affected by powdery mildews, crown rot and a virus

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