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Mail Order Delphiniums

Mail Order Delphiniums

Mail Order Delphiniums

Unsurpassable in the big and tall department, THIS is one of the best Delphiniums to grow! Scrumpdillyicious, XL, mulberry colored blooms with dark, fuzzy “bees” form multiple, 3’+ spikes on ex­tremely strong stems for seriously decadent bouquets. To at least 6’ tall and 4’ across. Mid-Spring blooming, it blooms again in Fall if you cut it back and add a little compost. To-die-for cut flowers! Rich soil for awesome performance. Thanks goes again to the Dowdeswell family of New Zealand for their dedication to these towering and robust Delphiniums that grow so well for us here by the Bay! Grown from seed so color can be somewhat variable.

Delphiniums

It's mid summer and perennial borders all over the country are bursting at the seams with plants and colour. At the back of many of those borders there are a group of plants that have been pushing up thick strong stems since late winter and are now producing tall flower spikes, all standing to attention demanding you look at them, and yet all the colours blend together perfectly. Not one standing out like a sore thumb; the perfect artists palette. It is of course the delphinium, the “Queen of the Border”, the epitome of summer.But all is not as it seems in the Delphinium world, for there are some bad guys amongst the good. The most widely available delphinium is the Pacific Hybrid with names such as King Arthur, Black Knight and Galahad springing to mind. Bred by Frank Reinelt in California in the 1930’s the Pacific Hybrid certainly gave us more vivid blues and purples and lovely rich colours were being bred into his delphiniums. The colour is these hybrids came true from seed so they could be grown in huge numbers and distributed all over the world, therefore allowing the everyday person to grow these wonderful plants. So what’s the problem?

The delphinium that should be grown is the Elatum Delphinium. This is a very hardy, reliable and powerful delphinium and is the Rolls-Royce of the genus. There are certainly a number of species responsible for producing our modern day delphiniums and we do not really know who was involved or when it all began, but what is certain is that today’s plants derive from a species found in the European Alps and mountain ranges further east. The blue delphinium elatum species has all the same qualities as present day delphiniums in terms of size, foliage, shape etc. and elatus (meaning tall in latin) also fits the bill and so today we simply know them as Elatum Delphiniums.Elatum Delphiniums can withstand very cold conditions (RHS rated H5, which is -10°C to -15°C). Indeed it is often found that they flower better following a very hard winter. Tolerant of many soil types, from slightly acidic to alkaline, they must have a sunny position and a fertile but free draining soil, and resent sitting wet during winter months. They are heavy feeders so a good feed of general fertiliser in spring is advised, and an autumn/winter mulch of organic matter certainly gives them a boost. Elatum Delphiniums do not grow true from seed so named cultivars need to be grown from cuttings. This is a time consuming process so plants are only available from a handful of specialist growers. (Source: www.rareplantfair.co.uk)

 

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