Larkspurs are beyond just beautiful cut flowers — they date back several millennia, where they were used to decorate ancient Egyptian mummies.
But that was just the beginning of this incredible looking flower’s exciting journey through history.
Larkspur flowers were also a highlight of colonial times — back then, they were used by European settlers and Indigenous peoples to make inks and dyes.
Today, they’re among the top-selling ornamental flowers worldwide.
We know what you’re thinking: There must be something special about the larkspur flower when it’s been an object of human fancy from ancient to modern times.
Today we’re exploring that “something” and how it can benefit your garden, as well as how to care for this incredible plant so that it always shows its prettiest face.
How to Care for Your Larkspur Flowers
Larkspur, rocket larkspur, lark’s claw, or lark’s heel — all names that are used to denote larkspur flowers.
Today, we’re talking about the “annual larkspur. — the flower that belongs to the Consolida genus. An early bloomer and cottage garden staple, it looks as if it emerged right out of a storybook.
The larkspur flower is known for its tall spires that come in the colors red, blue, yellow, and pink. It’s a hardy and resilient plant, so growing larkspur flowers is easy.
Larkspur flowers need full sun to grow well and develop color, but they won’t appreciate hot and dry weather. Cool temperatures provide perfect conditions for this plant’s growth.
Growing larkspur in soggy soil is also a no-no, as it requires well-drained, evenly moist soil.
Here’s how to care for larkspur flowers:
- Larkspurs won’t hold up in hot, dry summers — which is why you want to water the flowers regularly. Especially if rainfall is under 1 inch per week.
- The hollow larkspur stem can break in high winds. Plant your larkspurs in front of a fence or a stone wall for protection. Or, you can use 6- to 8-foot stakes to prevent them from snapping in the wind.
- To ensure the soil is moist and rich in organic matter, add a thin layer of compost and a 2 inch layer of mulch to your soil. Use organic fertilizer to feed the plants without disturbing the microbial ecosystem.
- At the first sign of powdery mildew on your larkspur flowers, apply an organic fungicide. Organic fungicides based on potassium bicarbonate are non-toxic and FDA-approved.
- Deadhead any dead blossoms and prune your larkspur plants to encourage blooming. Cutting the flowers and using them for arrangements will promote plant growth. Pinch using your fingers, or use gardening shears to prune your plants.
Benefits of Growing Larkspur Flowers in Your Garden
Annual larkspur (Consolida ajacis) is a popular cut flower used in cottage gardens. But, more importantly, it can help you get through a rough patch when the springtime bloom is over.
Winter annuals such as rocket larkspur will add color to your garden over the summer.
With flowers like the rocket larkspur, your early spring planting will keep you covered with violet, pink, and blue blossoms.
Sowing fall larkspurs will let you continue to have your colorful display long into the fall, and with the added perk of the leaves retaining their green color through the coldest months.
But don’t stop reading now, because more awesome larkspur benefits are yet to come!
- Although an annual species, larkspur plants are known for their ability to self-seed — meaning all you need to do is plant them once. When the blooming season closes in, let the plants set seed and they’ll keep returning to you year after year. Nifty, right?
- Larkspur flowers are stately plants that can add architectural height to your garden. Landscaping experts often use them as a backdrop for other, more informal looking annuals. They fit snuggly along the garden fences, while smaller varieties make for excellent border plants.
- Larkspurs are perfect both for cut flower displays and dried arrangements. And do you want to know the best part? Dried cut flowers retain full color, so fans of dried arrangements have something to look forward to.
- Larkspur plants can help you with pest control, as all parts of the plant are toxic. But while this may keep pests away, take precautions if children, pets, or livestock have access to your garden.
Growing Larkspur Flower: Which One Are You Actually Growing — Delphinium or Consolida?
There are two different flowers that share the same common name of “larkspur flower.” This is what often causes confusion among gardeners and even experts.
Let us clarify:
The two plant species that often get mixed up are the perennial “Delphiniums,” and the annual “Consolida” species.
Strikingly similar, they both belong to the Ranunculaceae family. And, although Consolida was once part of the Delphinium genus, it’s now deemed a separate genus in itself.
Exercise caution when looking for different species and cultivars. Flowers of the Consolida genus are often labeled “larkspur flowers” in seed catalogs. If you’re on the lookout for perennial Delphiniums, search for “Delphinium” on the label.
These botanical cousins differ slightly, though. Delphiniums come with compact flower clusters densely arranged on spikes, whereas Consolidas can have looser flower patterns.
The annual larkspur has daintier flowers that are more versatile in color, whereas the perennial larkspur typically comes in blue and white color ranges.
Finally, the perennial larkspur bears 3 to 5 fruits per flower, while the annual one can be as little as only one.
We shouldn’t forget to mention that both of the larkspur species need similar conditions to grow — however, our focus here is primarily the annual larkspur.
Plant Larkspurs and Rake in the Benefits
Now you understand why larkspur flowers have been capturing attention for centuries on end.
Larkspurs are ideal for those who want beautiful, storybook-like flowers. These proud plants could be just what you need to create a swoon-worthy garden.
What you get after spring planting is a flower bed full of summer blooms. The larkspur will self-seed and is easy to care for, requiring minimal effort from you.
For even more relevant gardening information, head over to the Clean Air Gardening blog. We’ll keep you up to date on exciting ideas and ways to grow your gardens in an eco-friendly way.
Featured image: Needpix