Annual larkspur (Consolida spp.), once considered part of the delphinium family, produces beautiful spikes of delicate blue, pink, purple, white or red flowers each spring. Several varieties of annual larkspur seed freely, producing successive generations every year. The flowers are perfect for cut flower arrangements. Larkspurs make a colourful border, or plant several together for an eye-catching mass of bright colour.
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Rocket larkspur (Consolida ajacis) has become naturalised in the wild and is now found across the U.S. This species of larkspur has several cultivated varieties, including series varieties that generally vary only in bloom colour. Giant Imperial series larkspurs grow up to 4 feet tall with a spread of 1 to 1 1/2 feet. The Cannes series has double flowers of pink, white, blue or lavender on sturdy stems more than 2 feet tall for an overall plant height topping 5 feet. Cannes larkspur is disease resistant and often produces striped and bicolor flowers. Cannes cultivars Stiletta Indigo Blue and Stiletta Rosy Red produce flowers with unusually deep, rich colour.
Varieties in the Exquisite series grow about 3 feet tall with flowers of blue, pink or white. Each variety is named for its flower colour. Exquisite Carmine King has deep pink flowers, while Exquisite Rose Queen's flowers are pastel pink. Choose the dark, purplish-blue flowers of Exquisite Blue Spire, or the dainty, pale blue flowers of Exquisite Blue Bell. Punctuate your larkspur plantings with Exquisite White King, which produces dazzling, pure white blooms. The QIS series larkspurs grow 2 to 3 feet tall. Seeds in this series are available in mixed colours and in dark blue, dark and light pink, lilac, rose and white. Bunny Bloom larkspur (Consolida ambigua "Bunny Bloom") is an unusual plant. Each of the pink or purple flowers has what appears to be a white bunny face in the centre. This larkspur grows 1 foot wide and 3 feet tall.
Dwarf hyacinth larkspur grows only about 18 inches tall and produces white, blue, pink or salmon-coloured flowers. Dwarf rocket larkspur grows 1 to 2 feet tall and produces pink, blue and white flowers. Both dwarf larkspur varieties grow easily from seed and are generally available in mixed seed packaging through mail order, websites and garden centres.
Cultivation and Uses
Larkspur is a cool-season plant and its seeds need temperatures below 18.3 degrees Celsius to germinate properly. Try placing the seeds in the refrigerator for two weeks before planting them in the garden. Plant in the fall in southern regions and in early spring in northern regions. Sow seeds directly into the garden, placing them 1/8 inch deep and four to six inches apart in rows one to two feet apart. Plant in a sunny area of the garden that has slightly alkaline soil and good drainage. Larkspur makes a beautiful mass planting and works well as a border plant.
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- Cornell University Department of Horticulture: Larkspur
- Michigan State University Extension; Consolida -- Annual Larkspur; November 1999
- Texas A&M; AgriLife Extension: Bunny Bloom Larkspur
- Learn 2 Grow: Consolida Ajacis -- Exquisite Series
- Texas A&M; AgriLife Extension: Rocket Larkspur
- Floridata; Consolida Ajacis; Steve Christman; January 2004