delphinium

Delphiniums bring to mind the vision of tall spikes of blue flowers in the background of the English perennial border and old fashioned cottage garden. The modern delphinium is a result of hybridization of delphinium species from many parts of the world.

A member of the buttercup (Ranunculaceae) family, delphinium consists of around 250 species of annuals, biennials, and perennials. Delphinium comes from the Greek word for dolphin, a reference to the new flower bud's resemblance to the bottle-like nose of the dolphin.

In Tudor England some of the species grown were referred to as "larkspur" apparently because the nectar sepal looked somewhat akin to a lark's claw. The common name larkspur also applies to a similar looking but different plant called Consolida ajacis.

Delphinium flowers may be single or double. Blue is the most common color; however, red, pink, white, and violet flowered varieties, also are available. Many flowers have white or black centers known as "bees."

Flowers occur in regal spikes with numerous flowers on each spike. The spikes of most delphiniums make attractive, long-lasting cut flowers. The foliage is palmately lobed and is divided into 3 to 7 parts depending upon the location on the stem.

Mature plants can reach 6 to 9 feet tall, though dwarf varieties grow 3 to 4 feet tall. Placing the tall plants in the background of a perennial bed is one popular choice. Delphiniums can also be used as specimen plants or as a small grouping in the garden.

Some Delphiniums you can expect to find at Portland Nursery:

Delphinium 'Aurora Lavender'

Delphinium elatum
Aurora Series

A newer group of hybrids with excellent uniformity, vigor and sturdy stems

Semi-double flowers in shades of blue, purple, lavender and white in summer.

Grows 3-4' tall and wide

Zones 3-8.

D. elatum Guardian Series

Delphinium elatum
Guardian Series

A Pacific Giant hybrid that grows 24 to 36 inches tall and wide.

Flowers in shades of blue, lavender, and white.

Hardy in zones 4-8.

D. elatum Guardian Series

Delphinium elatum
Magic Fountain Mix

Bushy plants are 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide with blue, lilac and white flowers in June. Well suited for windy areas.

D. elatum 'New Millennium Series'

Delphinium elatum
New Millennium Series

An English hybrid bred for exceptional garden performance.

Sturdy, strong-stemmed spikes packed with loads of richly colored flowers, often double or semidouble that can re-bloom during a single season.

Grows 6 feet tall and 2 feet wide.

Zones 3-8.

Some varieties include 'Black Eyed Angels'- white with black bee, 'Blue Lace'- sky blue, 'Green Twist'- white flowers tinted green, 'Pagan Purples'- shades of deep blue and purple.

Delphinium elatum 'Hybride'

Delphinium elatum
Pacific Giant Hybrids

Spikes of semi-double blue, lavender, pink, white and bi-color florets.

Grows 4 to 6 feet and can re-bloom in a single season.

Zones 3-8.

Several varieties include 'Black Knight'- dark blue with black bee, 'Galahad'-pure white double flowers, 'Guinevere'- lavender pink with white bee, and 'King Arthur'- deep purple with white bee.

Delphinium grandiflorum 'Blue Butterfly'

Delphinium grandiflorum 'Blue Butterfly'

Cobalt blue flowers May through August

Grows 12-18" tall by 18" wide

Great in containers

Zones 3-8.

D. nudicaule 'DeRosso Red'

Delphinium nudicaule 'DeRosso Red' (Red Larkspur)

Vibrant flowers in a most unusual color for delphiniums are irresistible to hummingbirds and butterflies.

Compact, bushy plants are 10 to 14 inches and bloom in May.

Prefers dryish, rocky, well drained soil.

Beautiful at a garden's edge, rock gardens or in patio containers.

Zone 5.

Find the Best Perennials for your Garden

We have a wonderful selection of perennials year round, but if you are looking for a specific perennial we will have the best selection when it is in bloom around town. Note: Native plant pages will take you into the Native Plant section.

Perennials

Actaea: Bugbane

Natives

Native Actaea: Bugbane

Perennials

Agastache: Hyssop

Perennials

Anemone: Windflower

Perennials

Aquilegia: Columbine

Natives

Native Aquilegia: Columbine

Perennials

Artemisia

Natives

Asarum: Wild Ginger

Natives

Asclepias: Milkweed

Perennials

Aster

Perennials

Astilbe: False Spirea

Perennials

Bellium: Miniature Daisy

Perennials

Bergenia: Pigsqueak

Perennials

Brunnera: Bugloss

Perennials

Canna Lily

Natives

Camassia: Camas

Perennials

Chrysanthemum

Perennials

Coreopsis: Tickweed

Perennials

Corydalis

Perennials

Cyclamen

Bulbs

Dahlia

Bulbs

Delosperma: Ice Plant

Perennials

Delphinium: Larkspur

Perennials

Dianthus: Carnation

Perennials

Dicentra: Bleeding Heart

Natives

Dodecatheon: Shooting Star

Perennials

Echinacea: Coneflower

Perennials

Epimedium

Natives

Erigeron: Fleabane

Natives

Eriophyllum: Oregon Sunshine

Perennials

Erodium: Alpine Geranium

Perennials

Eupatorium: Joe-Pye Weed

Perennials

Euphorbia: Spurge

Natives

Fragaria: Wild Strawberry

Bulbs

Fritillaria

Perennials

Hardy Fuchsia

Perennials

Hardy Geranium

Perennials

Geum: Avens

Perennials

Helenium: Sneezeweed

Perennials

Hellebore

Perennials

Hellebore: Gold Collection

Perennials

Hellebore: Winter Jewel

Perennials

Heuchera: Coral Bells

Perennials

Hosta: Plantain Lily

Perennials

Iberis: Candytuft

Bulbs

Iris

Natives

Native Iris

Perennials

Kniphofia: Red Hot Poker

Perennials

Leptinella

Perennials

Leucanthemum: Shasta Daisy

Natives

Lewisia: Bitterroot

Perennials

Ligularia

Perennials

Monarda: Bee Balm

Perennials

Moss

Bulbs

Narcissus: Daffodil

Perennials

Paeonia: Peony

Perennials

Papaver: Poppy

Perennials

Parahebe

Natives

Penstemon: Beard Tongue

Perennials

Perovskia: Russian Sage

Perennials

Primula: Primrose

Perennials

Rudbeckia: Black-eyed Susan

Perennials

Salvia

Perennials

Santolina: Lavender Cotton

Perennials

Sedum

Perennials

Evergreen Sedum

Natives

Native Sedum: Stonecrop

Perennials

Sempervivum: Hen & Chicks

Natives

Sidalcea: Checker Mallow

Natives

Sisyrinchium

Blue-eyed Grass
Natives

Solidago: Goldenrod

Natives

Synthyris: Native Figwort

Perennials

Top Shade Perennials

Perennials

Top Sun Perennials

Perennials

Tricyrtis: Toad Lily

Natives

Trillium: Wake Robin

Bulbs

Tulip

Natives

Vancouveria: Inside-out Flower

Perennials

Vinca: Periwinkle

Perennials

Viola: Violet

Natives

Native Viola: Violet

Perennials

Zantedeschia: Calla Lily