Flower Of The Month - Delphinium
Delphiniums are one of those flowers that can be displayed just on their own
and still catch everyone’s breath away. With its tall gracious stems and striking colours,
this flower is probably the most glamorous and classy flower there is.
A Greek mythology about the Delphinium is that its name was derived from the Greek word “delphis” or dolphin because of its unique shape similar to that of a dolphin. But to the English people, the flower is called Larkspur because they saw a claw of the larks in the shape of the flower. In ancient times, people used Delphiniums for medicinal purposes and even for relaxation and for better sleep. They also used the flower to treat and cure the sting of scorpion and parasitism. This is no longer the case today because the flower contains toxins that may cause internal problems, especially heart disease, low blood pressure, and breathing problem. It is thought that Delphiniums are native to the Northern hemisphere, most probably the mountainous African tropics.
- Most delphinium plants and seeds are poisonous to humans as well as to cattle, and ingestion can be fatal.
- Delphiniums typically grow up to 2.1 meters tall.
- The most common colours include blue, purple, lavender, pink, scarlet and white.
- They symbolise cheerfulness and goodwill.
- Historically, parts of delphinium plants have been used to create blue dyes and inks.
- There are over 400 different types of delphinium species and they come from the Ranunculaceae family (buttercups).
- Delphiniums sap can be mixed with the chemical, alum, to make blue ink.
- Despite their dangerous quality, delphiniums used to be used for improving asthma.
The first thing to know when planting any types of flower or plants is what time of year to plant them. For Delphiniums, the best time is springtime. The second thing is where to plant them. And Delphiniums prefers full sun, with minimum of six hours of sun per day. However, they do not fare well in hot, dry summers so pay extra attention if you live in a particularly hot climate. Delphiniums grow best in cool and moist summer climates. Other than that, they are a fairly easy grown flower. They love rich fertile, soil and require excellent drainage so if you have heavy or poor soil, just add some organic matter at planting time to improve the drainage.
If planting ready grown plants dig the hole twice the diameter of the pot your Delphinium is in and space them 30-90cm apart. You can plant your Delphiniums from seeds, but this can be quite challenging. Seeds should be started indoors early in the year, and those plants will flower the first year. If seeds are sown direct in the ground, those plants will not flower until the following year.
Have a look in our gardening section for tools and everything you might need to plant your new plants.
Also read: Flower Of The Month - The Dahlia