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Delphinium

Delphinium Guardian series.

Delphinium Guardian series.

Delphinium elatum, D. grandiflorum

Propagation:

  • A perennial (Zones 3 to 7) that flowers in the first season when planted from seed.
  • Sow seed in 72- to 144-cell trays with seed covered. Emerges in 12 to 18 days.
  • When sown in early March, can be transplanted in mid-May to the tunnel.

Growing:

  • Plants transplanted to the tunnel in mid-May can be harvested in early July.
  • Plants produce 2 to 3 usable stems in the first year, but should be earlier and more productive in the second year.
  • Root disease (Sclerotium rolfsii?) devastated plant populations in Cornell open field plantings, and less so in the tunnel.
  • Sowing in late summer for earlier cropping the following year is another option.

Varieties:

  • There are a number of D. elatum hybrids with erect spikes of large florets that make a spectacular show in the vase.
  • Aurora, Guardian and Candle series offer white, blue, purple and lavender shades, with stem lengths of 22 to 30 in.
  • Belladonna hybrids such as Bellamosum, Belladonna Clivenden Beauty, Oriental Blue have a more open raceme with branching, shorter stems, but longer plant life.

Postharvest Handling:

  • Delphinium is very sensitive to ethylene, and must be stored away from ethylene-producing produce.
  • Vase life of D. elatum hybrids is 5 to 7 days, for Belladonna hybrids only about 4 days, with flower life ended with petal loss.

For more information, see: Armitage, A.M. and J.M. Laushman. 2003. Specialty Cut Flowers, 2nd Edition. Timber Press, 586 pp. Available through ASCFG.

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