Larkspur, Annual Delphinium

By: C. Colston Burrell
A purple Siberian larkspur plant.
Larkspur or annual delphinium, is a plant that can grow up to four feet tall. Catherine McQueen / Getty Images

Larkspur resembles the delphinium, with its stately spikes of flowers in cool pastel colors. Formerly lumped with delphiniums, botanists split them off and named them Consolida, an old Latin term for "an undetermined plant."

Description of larkspur: Larkspur grows up to 4 feet tall with delphiniumlike flowers, single or double, evenly spaced around the long stem above lacy, gray-green foliage. Although blue is favored, larkspur also flowers in pink, salmon, rose, lavender, purple, and white.


Growing larkspur: Grow in moist but well-drained soil in full sun. If exposed to high winds, larkspur may need staking. It performs best in cool weather. In Zones 7 to 10, seeds may be sown early enough in the fall so that young plants would bloom early in the spring. In other zones, seeds can be sown late in the fall so that they would germinate in the spring. Remove spent blossoms to encourage bloom.

Propagating larkspur: By seed. Sow in place because larkspur does not transplant well. Sow in the fall or as soon as the ground can be worked in the spring. For summer and fall blooms in cool climates, successively sow 2 to 3 weeks apart until mid-May.

Uses for larkspur: Groups of delphinium backing informal annuals can give a cottage garden look. Group them at the side or at the back of the flower border or center them in island beds to lend height. They're good cut flowers and may be dried for winter bouquets.

Larkspur related species: Many of the true perennial delphiniums may be grown as summer annuals. Pacific hybrids are widely grown and hybrids of Delphinium belladonna are also planted. Compact hybrids (2 to 3 feet high) grown from seed are Blue Springs and Blue Fountains.Larkspur related varieties: A favorite is the Imperial series that branches freely from the base. Dozens of selections in mixes or single colors are available. Scientific name for larkspur: Consolida ambiguaWant more gardening information? Try: