Delphinium

Delphiniums are perennials with sensational spikes of color. They’re summer flowers, and you’ve probably seen them  in blue, pink, white, and purple, usually around cottages.

“There is no blue like the blue cup the tall delphinium holds up.”

Louise Driscoll

The Meaning of Delphiniums

When you look at paintings of cottages, you usually see delphiniums all around, but it’s not just cottages where they’re found. Delphiniums are found in many parts of the United States and Europe. 

Overall meanings associated with delphiniums regardless of color are as follows:

Striving for successOnward and upward! Excelsior! Delphiniums represent striving for something greater and pushing yourself or others toward their goals. Delphiniums are the perfect gift for someone about to open their own business or starting a new job!

Protection – Delphiniums symbolize protection as well. Heading off into the deep, dark woods? Bring a delphinium! This is the kind of flower you can gift to someone who is very dear to you and whom you want to see protected by all means. There is even a practical explanation why the Delphinium flower was used for protection and that is because its smell scared away the scorpions. Because of this, people carried it in their pockets to protect themselves.

Enjoying life – YOLO! This beautiful flower symbolizes enjoying life and living everyday like it’s your last. It’s tough to argue with that logic! 

July birthday – Delphiniums are the flower of July babies! Definitely make sure you include delphiniums in a bouquet if your loved one has a July birthday.

Celebration – Ok, yeah this one is probably as generic as it gets, but we just want to reiterate that life is great and worth celebrating. Use delphiniums for really any occasion that’s important to you!

Delphinium Color Meanings

Alright, now onto what delphiniums mean with each different color. Each delphinium color adds some more symbolism to its already huge core of meaning.

White
White delphiniums are usually gifted to newborns or used as decorations during weddings and baptisms. This flower is both gentle and strong in a symbolic sense, and the color white compliments this symbolism perfectly.

Blue
Blue Delphiniums are a perfect gift for someone who needs your support regarding something important. Maybe a big decision to move somewhere or an engagement.

Pink
Pink delphiniums symbolize romance and love. This gentle color goes perfectly with the symbolic meaning of the Delphinium flower and can be used as a gift for Valentine’s Day or for your anniversary.

Purple
Purple Delphinium flowers are truly beautiful and unique. The color purple symbolizes royalty and beauty, which makes it an ideal gift for someone who is as unique and beautiful as this peculiar flower. [1]

The History of the Delphinium

Delphiniums received their name from the ancient Greeks who thought the shape of the flower bud with its spur, resembled that of a dolphin. 

In England, in the times of the Tudors, some of the species grown were referred to as “larkspur” apparently because the nectary (contained in the base of the top or nectar sepal) looked somewhat akin to a lark’s claw. Personally I think that the leaves of larkspur look more like the feet of a hawk or eagle. Many species certainly share a liking for the same habitat. [2]

The modern delphinium is the result of hybridization of delphinium species from many widely varied parts of the world. Unknown enthusiasts crossed many species including, probably, D. elatum from the Swiss Alps, D. cheilanthum (dark blue, yellow bee) from Siberia, D. bruninianum from the Himalayas (purple, hooded) and D formosum from Armenia. From these crosses and probably many others modern delphinium elatum type (resembling the original D.elatum in growth habit, form and foliage) has evolved. An extensive species list for North America is available at NRCS plant database for Europe at the Czech plant library.

Like most flowers growing freely throughout Europe, delphiniums were used in medieval times as a medicine. People used to take delphinium to kill off internal parasites, fall asleep, and recover a lost appetite. However, the toxins in this plant also cause the blood pressure to drop dangerously low. Difficulty breathing and a slow heart rate make this flower dangerous enough to avoid for internal use.

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DID YOU KNOW?

Delphinium Fun Fact

Because of their rich color, they’ve been used by native peoples to create blue dye for clothing.

How Delphinium Grows

You must plant delphinium flower in spring. Grow them in full sun to light shade, then put them in well-drained and fertile soil. Mix the soil with compost about 4 inches, make a hole that is twice bigger than the plant’s box, and make sure that the top of the root ball is close with the soil.

Delphinium seeds and very young delphinium plants are poisonous. They can cause nausea, paralysis, twitching muscles if ingested — some worst cases including death.

How To Care for Delphiniums

Give regular fertilization in spring during the flowering period and at the beginning of growth. You can use a 10-10-10 granular fertilizer, or if you want it to work well, you can use well-composted organic material like rotted cow manure.

If you find the foliage turns yellow or stunted growth, it indicates that the plants need more fertilizer.

Another thing you need to get right is sun exposure. Give delphinium flower gentle morning sun and provide afternoon shade (in hotter zones).

Then, you must remember to deadhead the first bloom in early summer. When blooms are finished, remove flower stalks.

Once all the blooms are removed, then the fertilization and moisture are met, you can expect a generous blast of blooms later in late summer or early fall.

Since delphinium is short-lived, it may be the final show for the plants, but it is worth the effort as the stunning beauty and long-lasting blooms will give you joy.

For taller varieties, make sure you stake them, especially if it is planted in an area with rain or heavy wind. When the plants reach 12 inches high or before the mid-spring, you should insert supports. 

Stake the low-growing perennials with twigs support. If you stress them, the stems will hollow and break easily.

Keep an eye on the young plants as some insects and diseases may attack your delphinium. Make sure you are choosing the right soil. You may propagate delphiniums from basal cuttings or seed, but never propagate them from diseased plants.

Delphinium will bring positive energy, joy, and happiness in your house, so before deciding to grow delphinium in your garden, make sure you know how to plant delphinium properly. [3]

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DID YOU KNOW?

Delphinium Fun Fact

Delphinium is the most refined named for this meadow flower, but you might know it better as lark’s spur, knight’s spur, larkspur, or bird’s claw. 

How to Care for Delphiniums

The stems of hollow-stemmed flowers like delphiniums need to be filled with water. Simply turn the flower upside down and pour water into the open cavity of the stalk. To keep the water inside, you can plug the hole up with a small piece of cotton and then place it in the vase. Alternatively, place your thumb over the opening at the bottom of the stem and then put it in the water. The water trapped inside will keep the stem strong and straight. 

This elegant flower is good for a cutting garden. If you take the blooms into the house as soon as they open, they will bloom again. Add sugar plus lemon juice and bleach to arrangements of delphinium. You can also use a commercial flower preservative. [4]

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When to Give Delphinium as a Gift

We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again. There really isn’t any occasion that isn’t heightened with the presence of delphiniums. They’re great in bouquets for birthdays, wedding bouquets, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, to send to a friend you miss, to send to a long lost love!

References:

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