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Common name: Delphinium, larkspur, consolida
Perennial delphiniums are renowned for their rich colours and commanding presence. They flower in early summer and are perfect for beds and borders and make a glorious cut flower. Easy to grow annual delphiniums (consolida or larkspur) are smaller and will flower all summer.
Tall flower spikes are packed with single or double flowers, in shades of blue, purple, dusky pink, red and white. Flowers emerge from clumps of long stalked, divided green leaves.
Free-draining soil in an open, sunny site with shelter from strong winds (which can blow down their tall flower spikes) is perfect for delphiniums. All soils are best improved with well rotted compost or manure before planting.
Delphiniums won't grow well in shady sites or poorly drained soil. Very heavy clay soils will need improving. They also need plenty of space and don't grow well if crowded or shaded by other plants.
The name delphinium originates from the ancient Greek word 'delphis', meaning dolphin, relating the individual flower forms to the shape of this marine mammal. Today this is more obvious in the species delphiunium as many of the cultivars we grow in gardens have become enlarged and the petals doubled.
The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.