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Larkspur

Larkspur 'Cannes' series

Larkspur ‘Cannes’ series. Click image for larger view.

Consolida ajacis, C. orientalis, C. regalis

Propagation:

  • Larkspur is an annual grown from seed. Seeds require low temperatures for germination and growth, and do not germinate well above 65 F.
  • Growers typically refrigerate the seed for 2 weeks before sowing, or if transplanting, may place the seedbox in a cold room at 40 to 50F for two weeks after sowing.
  • Seeds may be sown in fall in high tunnel, and survive winter in seedling state.
  • Sowing in late Feb. to mid-March in the greenhouse after seed is cold-treated and transplanting to the tunnel in early to mid-April resulted in flowering mid-June in Ithaca.
  • Cool spring tunnel conditions can satisfy cold temperatures needed for flowering. But late spring tunnel planting may result in poor quality flowers and short stems.

Growing:

  • When direct-seeded, space seeds 1 in. apart in the row, rows 12 to 24 in. apart.
  • Space transplants in beds at 4 x 4 in. to 6 x 6 in.
  • Larkspur is susceptible to root rot. Planting in raised beds reduces this risk by improving drainage.

Varieties:

There are many good series with colors ranging from white to deep blue, pink, and variegated shades. Stems are typically 3 to 5 ft. tall, with green, lacy foliage. Consult seed catalogs for detailed descriptions. Some we’ve had success with include:

  • Super Giant Imperial series
  • Qis series
  • Sublime series
  • Cannes series

Postharvest handling:

  • Flowers are sensitive to ethylene, and lose petals (shatter) quickly if stored with fruits that give off that ethylene gas.
  • Vase life at room temperature: 5 to 7 days.
  • Keep flowers cool until used.
  • Flowers retain color after drying and are often used in dry bouquets.

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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