Larkspurs are a beautiful and nostalgic plant that practically grows itself. But if you want better looking blooms, use the following tips.
1. Pick the perfect spot
- Larkspurs are especially eye-catching if planted where their blue flowers can echo the colour of a nearby pond or patch of sky.
- Larkspurs look best in a small grouping of mixed colours.
- The Giant Imperial series has a wide range of colours and is the standard for cut-flower purposes.
- The Messenger series blooms two weeks earlier.
2. Plant them in the right kind of soil
- Larkspurs are likely to self-sow and sprout in just the right place without effort on your part.
- They like fertile, fluffy and well-drained soil with plenty of lime.
- Larkspur also requires regular, reliable moisture.
- To ensure that the spires aren’t buffeted by wind, stake them as they begin to shoot up.
3. Sow them at the right time
- Since larkspurs dislike hot weather, sow them in early spring when the ground thaws. Or, sow in autumn for flowering the following spring.
- In cold regions, sow in September. On the West Coast, you can safely sow until the end of November.
- The seeds can take up to 20 days to sprout, and germination from fall sowing is often erratic.
- The goal is to get larkspurs to sprout as early as possible.
- The seedlings tolerate extreme cold, but mature plants subjected to nighttime temperatures above 13°C for any length of time fail to flower well.
4. Give them a little cover
- Larkspurs don’t like to be transplanted. It’s more effective to sow the seeds directly in the ground than attempt to transplant seedlings.
- Larkspur seeds require darkness to germinate. Sprinkle them over good garden soil and cover them with a thin layer of finely sifted soil.
- Sprinkle to moisten the seedbed, keeping it moist until they sprout.
5. Protect them from pests and disease
- Although pests aren’t usually a problem, larkspurs sometimes get fungal diseases, like powdery mildew, crown rot and root rot.
- To prevent mildew, try thinning the plants to increase air circulation.
- Rotating, or sowing seeds in different locations every year, and adding compost to the soil will keep rot from occurring.
- The seeds and leaves of larkspurs are poisonous if eaten, so place the plants in an area away from children and pets.
Larkspur was once a mainstay of the garden, and there’s no comparison when it comes to their nostalgic appeal. The trick to growing larkspur is giving it the right conditions early on, and keeping an eye on the sprouts as they grow into beautiful plants.