All About Larkspur
Larkspur is an annual flower with feathery foliage, dramatic blooms, and a grand height. It averages 3-6 feet tall,
Larkspur is commonly confused with Delphinium because they both feature tall stalks lined with big, bold flowers. Delphinium, though, is a perennial and the flowers are more closely packed on its stems. The foliage is also different. The reason it is important to differentiate between these two is that Delphinium is notoriously hard to start from seed. Larkspur, the annual, on the other hand, is super easy to grow.
In fact, Larkspur grows so readily, it is naturalized in many areas across North America. Larkspur is originally from Asia and the Middle East and it was brought to English gardens as early as 1550. From there, the seeds made their way across the ocean, landing here before Revolutionary times.
The name Larkspur comes from the “spur” arching out from the back of the flower; it is said to resemble the claw of the lark bird.
How To Grow Larkspur From Seed
Larkspur grows best in full sun, except in hot southern climates it appreciates some afternoon shade. It blooms mid-spring through fall in cooler climates; in warmer locations, it will stop blooming when temperatures get too heated.
Plant in early fall or early spring. Larkspur grows from a long taproot, which means they don't transplant well. Direct sow in the garden for the best results. The plants may need to be staked since the flowers make them top heavy. Or, plant them along a fence which can support them.
Larkspur needs a short period of cold stratification to germinate. In warm climates, you'll need to keep them in the refrigerator wrapped in a moist paper towel for two weeks before planting to achieve this. In cool climates, plant seeds as soon as the ground in workable. Once the soil temperature is over 60F, the seeds will not germinate.
- Plant seeds 1/4” deep in a sunny location.
- They need darkness to germinate, so make sure they are covered.
- Water well (but not with a high-pressure hose so the seeds don't get disturbed)
- Keep the soil consistently moist until the seeds germinate (may take up to 4 weeks)
- Be patient after planting. Larkspur is notoriously slow to germinate, often takes 20-30 days in optimal conditions.
- Flowers bloom in mid to late summer.