Delphenium, Larkspur, Lupine. Difference??

luke_oh(zone 5 NE Ohio)November 17, 2009

Can anyone tell me what the difference is between these three flowers? And which would be the best to raise for cut flowers. Thanks

Luke

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tommyk

Delphinium & Larkspur are of the same family. Lupine is in the legume family. Delphiniums are the easiest to grow from seed and to flower and come back every year. Larkspur is sowed sometimes in the winter so it can start growing early. It likes cooler weather and fades in the heat.

I grow Delphiniums because they are reliable, and improve as they get bigger. Pacific Giants is outstanding because of the height of the stems and the huge flower spikes. There are others that are just as good, however. Larkspur in my mind is far more fussier and more challenging. Both make outstanding cut-flowers.

Most Lupines are perennials and the larger varieties have impressive flower spikes, but are not a long-lasting cutflower.

I would stick with Delphiniums . . . but nothing wrong with experimenting with the other two if you have the space.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2009 at 2:38PM
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luke_oh(zone 5 NE Ohio)

Thanks!

    Bookmark   November 17, 2009 at 7:19PM
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diggerdee

Tommyk, where are you located? From what I've heard, delphiniums are notorious for being difficult here. Hard to overwinter, specifically. My personal experience has matched that - I overwintered a few successfully for the first time this past winter, but they were not very strong plants. We'll see if they make it through the coming winter.

I grew larkspur a few years ago, and they have reseeded for me, but I have yet to get big, strong stems from them. I've pretty much neglected them (both the intentionally-grown ones and the reseeders) so maybe if I paid more attention I'd get better blooms, but as they were I was a bit disappointed in the stem strength, although the flowers are gorgeous.

Lupines I grew for the first time last year and loved them, although I didn't cut any. Beautiful in the garden, though, a gorgeous purple/blue - although they bloomed a week too late to go with the pink and apricot roses I planted them with. The best laid plans....

:)
Dee

    Bookmark   November 19, 2009 at 10:00PM
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luke_oh(zone 5 NE Ohio)

My wife loves delphenium and has some luck over wintering from a couple that she bought from a nursery. She tried to grow from seed last spring and I think that she got a couple of plants but nothing great. She got them planted in the ground, but they were small and I doubt that they will over winter. I've been checking out the winter sowing forum and will try that method to get some growing for her. Have either of you tried winter sowing? I will probably try the larkspur and lupine and see what happens.

Luke

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 8:08AM
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tommyk

Southwest NH (Zone 5) Our Delphiniums (Pacific Giants)always come back. We don't do anything to protect them over the winter . . . no mulch . . . nothing. We do grow the vast majority of our plants (annuals & perennials from seed) in our greenhouses and that may be a key since they are started where they will grow rather than buying plants from your local garden center and/or nursery that gets them from a wholesaler growing them who knows where.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 2:55PM
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diggerdee

Hmm, I grew my delphs from seed. Luke, as a matter of fact, I grow all my seed-started plants by winter-sowing. I haven't started a seed indoors in about 8 years. And it was winter-sowing that got me started on growing cut flowers, because it was such a successful method of growing and I had soooo many plants!

Tommyk, you've inspired me - I think I will try delphs again this year.

:)
Dee

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 6:12PM
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luke_oh(zone 5 NE Ohio)

Dee, Winter sowing has really caught my attention. I've read through the WS forum and checked out all of the "how to" sites, but I just having a little trouble grasping the concept. I thought that I had it figured out until I read today about keeping the seeds warm until sowing.?? maybe I've read too much into this. I'm looking forward to trying it out.

Luke

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 6:47PM
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diggerdee

Luke, I'm not sure specifically what you were reading, but for the most part you don't have to worry about keeping seeds warm. I suspect you may have been reading about a certain plant that needs a warm-cold-warm period for germination - perhaps the thread on hellebores?

Most plants don't need that. Don't overthink WSing. Take your container, make sure there are drainage holes, make sure you have enough good-quality potting mix, dampen it, throw in the seeds, close up the container, stick it outside, and check in the spring. That's pretty much it. And make sure if you have a question, you ask it - you WILL get an answer on that forum, I guarantee it.

Good luck! And have fun! There's nothing like playing in the dirt in the middle of winter!

:)
Dee

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 11:27PM
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luke_oh(zone 5 NE Ohio)

Dee, Thank you. You're right, I was reading about the hellebores thread. I'm collecting containers and actually looking forwrd to winter. Thanks again.

luke

    Bookmark   November 21, 2009 at 5:31AM
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teresa_b(z6 MO)

Luke,

I tried winter sowing delphiniums early this year and had great success to my big surprise. Plus, I live in an area that is notorious for being delphinium unfriendly. I have never been able to grow delphiniums but sowing my own seemed to be the ticket. I hope mine over winter as some of the plants are strong and vigorous. Mine bloomed all summer long and I just cut one yesterday for a small bud vase!

Regarding larkspur, they should be direct sowed on site in January or early February. Some authors advise freezing the seed in the packet first for a couple weeks before sowing. I have read that larkspur resent transplanting so I would not sow them in a container using the winter sowing directions. According to Lynn Byczynski, (author of the The Flower Farmer) they must have a certain number of days at 55 degrees or less if they are to be successful. I also feel that the right variety and thinning your larkspurs is key to getting lots of strong, fully blooming stems.

Flower growers in the north frequently sow their larkspurs in the Autumn so they have a head start in the spring. The small plants can withstand extremely cold winters.

In the vase, my delphiniums last longer than larkspur, which tend to shatter more easily. Larkspur blooms do not have the substance of delphiniums.

I would not be without either flower.

If you winter sow lupines, many books advise nicking the very hard seed surface and while others suggest soaking in water for 24 hours before planting.

Teresa

    Bookmark   November 28, 2009 at 9:57PM
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luke_oh(zone 5 NE Ohio)

Teresa, Thanks for the info. I just received some delphenium seeds that I purchased from Swallowtail. I think that I'll try the winter sowing technique and see what happens. This will be my first attempt at winter sowing and I'm facinated by the whole process. I have always had a veg. garden and my wife took care of the flowers. But, I always plant way too many vegetables and can't even can, freeze or give away everything. I can see fewer vegetables and more flowers in next years garden. Thanks Again. Luke

    Bookmark   November 30, 2009 at 8:19PM
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