Growing Delphiniums in the Flower Garden

If you're a fan of blue flowers, you're going to want to start growing delphiniums as soon as possible!

My favorite flowers in the garden are often the blue ones. There’s something about seeing this cool hue mixed among the brighter yellows, reds, and oranges that always makes me fall in love. One of the truest blues you can find in a flower garden comes from delphiniums, especially some of the newer cultivars on the market. If you love blue too, you’ll want to give growing delphiniums a try. They can be a little tricky, so here are a few tips.

Growing DelphiniumsJen Giordano
Jen Giordano ‘Cobalt Dreams’ Delphinium

Delphiniums are a large family of over 300 species. They can be found throughout the Northern Hemisphere, and on high mountains in Africa. They come in a range of colors, including pink and white, but most people think of the blue varieties when they think of this flower. Many types are quite tall and become droopy with rain or wind, but newer dwarf varieties stand up to those challenges pretty well.

Growing Delphiniums

Delphiniums are happiest with cool moist weather. Hot dry summers are often their downfall. Because of this, many gardeners prefer growing delphiniums in the spring and early summer as annuals, replacing them each year. In zones 3 – 7, though, they can be grown as perennials.

  • Give delphiniums consistently moist soil – don’t allow it to dry out.
  • They like rich, slightly alkaline soil, so mix in compost before planting and fertilize regularly. Stake taller varieties to stand up to wind and rain.
  • In cooler zones, grow delphiniums in full sun. In warmer climates, afternoon shade will help them endure hotter weather.
  • Cut delphiniums back hard after their first blooming to encourage a second late summer or fall bloom. Remove spent flower stems completely. This is often considered the “trick” to growing delphiniums successfully.
Growing DelphiniumsJen Giordano
Jen Giordano ‘Cobalt Dreams’

What’s in a Name? The word “delphinium” means “dolphin-like,” and refers to the graceful shape of the nectary at the base of each bloom. Delphiniums are also known as “larkspur” in many places. This also refers to the shape of the bloom, which is thought to resemble the claw on a lark’s foot.

Growing DelphiniumsJen Giordano
Jen Giordano ‘Cobalt Dreams’

Jill Staake
Jill lives in Tampa, Florida, and writes about gardening, butterflies, outdoor projects and birding. When she's not gardening, you'll find her reading, traveling and happily digging her toes into the sand on the beach.