Growing Larkspur?

redrumed(5)May 28, 2008

Has anyone grown this? Is it true it will self seed? I got a pack of seeds and put them in my fridge w/some soil and they have been in there for over two weeks and there are now little white things in the dirt - is that normal????

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Yes, they will self seed. I have plants from plants I originally planted in 1998. I shake the dried seeds off the plants where ever a want plants to come up.
"They" say plant them in the fall. I never do that I scatter them at the same time mother nature does. They are through blooming and have gone to seed here in TX.
I have no idea what your white thingies are. I have never done the fridge thing, but those may be the seeds putting out roots.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2008 at 4:49PM
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Well, I don't refrigerate them and our winters are certainly warmer than yours. I do plant them in fall - November or so. They come up and dawdle about and then, all of a sudden, they shoot up in spring and bloom (as they are right now). I just wish I could get them to grow everywhere I plant them. I wanted a whole circle around the edge of my garden and I just have clumps here and there. Oh, well. They are still glorious!

They are one of the most trouble free plants I've ever grown, btw.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2008 at 8:09PM
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Nell Jean

There is documented historical evidence to indicate that plants from fall sown seeds grow on faster than early spring sown -- in the south.

I plant mine in late fall. When the seeds are ripe in late spring/early summer, periwinkles and other delights are coming on. I plant larkspur when I'm pulling/cutting periwinkle plants, late fall. Where I let them self seed, they grew more sparsely than where I sowed.

Like LindaKimy, I wanted larkspur everywhere. I have them some places. There's always next year.

We need to hear from those who grow larkspur in zone 5 or colder.


    Bookmark   May 28, 2008 at 8:58PM
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I am in zone 5 also and it has self-seeded for me in the past. I haven't grown them in this house before but this year I just sprinkled seed over the snow in March (old seed, at that, from 2005) and I have little ones popping up all over the place where I sprinkled them.


    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 7:43AM
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Thank you. I only put 1/2 the pack in the fridge and I'm glad. Based on above, I'll throw the other 1/2 in the garden in the fall.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 8:25AM
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For some reason I have a hard time growing them myself. I direct sow about 2 packages in March and once in fall and get no where near that amount. They are very slow to grow for me and not even all the ones that do come up bloom. I don't know what it is for me. Maybe they need even colder temps? Now Cosmos!...that's a different story I sowed 2 packs of those and I think they all came up! I have them going along my fence and I can't wait for them to bloom!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 8:34AM
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fammsimm(Z8 DFW)

This is my first year to grow larkspur, too. I didn't refrigerate the seeds, I just scattered them around last fall.

These seeds came from the Seed Swap last year, although I can't remember from whom. If you recognize them as yours, I'm sending a big Thank YOU. I am really loving them.


Thanks for the information regarding letting them self-seed vs sowing them. I'll be sure to gather seed to sow this fall.


    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 9:31AM
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Fwiw, I planted some last spring, and only got a few self-seeding this year. I did end up moving a couple seedlings, since they were getting hidden under the catmint.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 11:16AM
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I haven't had to sow larkspur seed in 4 years - they will readily reseed for me - this is just one of many gardens that I have them coming up in. We also yank out a ton of them each year but I do love them and will always have them.....


    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 1:23PM
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thinman(Z5 MI)

I'm in my second year of trying to grow them, and the best I can say is that they are better for me this year than they were last year. I got the seeds in the ground in early April about a week after the snow left us. Maybe about ten percent came up and they are all still very tiny, the second worst of the five things planted then. I had some self-seeders from last year that were twice as big, but still nothing to brag about.

I'm going to try a fall planting this year, along with the method below in the spring. I really want a lot of these guys.

From - Pamela and Frank Arnosky, 2004

Larkspur likes dark, cool conditions. If we plant larkspur in late October, it will come up in about three weeks, longer if the soil is dry. This is a lot of time, so we started "priming" our seed in the refrigerator. What we do is this: about two weeks before we plant, we put the dry seed in zip lock bags and then add a small amount of water. Inflate the bag a bit, seal it, and shake the seed until it is well coated with water. Add a bit more water if needed to moisten the seed completely, but drain off any extra water you might have in the bottom of the bag. Put the bag in the fridge, and check it the next day. The seed should have absorbed all the waterÂit should flow freely and not stick together in clumps. If it does, open the bag and set it out to dry for an hour or two. If your seed still looks really dry when you check it, add a tiny bit more water and check it again in a day. The key here is that you want the seed to be moist enough to respond to the cold treatment, but still be dry enough to flow through the seeder when it is time to plant.

After two weeks, the seed will be ready to germinate. We sow our larkspur with a walk-behind Earthway planter, using the onion plate. If you want it thicker, use the cucumber plate. We plant four rows in a four-foot wide bed. Using primed seed, we get germination in about a week. This cuts down on crop time, and more importantly, gives the larkspur a jump on the weeds. This method works well for late plantings in the spring, when soil temperatures are warming up.


Hope this helps both of us.


    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 1:25PM
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fammsimm(Z8 DFW)

Wow, Lynne...your garden has really filled in! I don't remember the hammock from your prior pictures, either. It all looks great.

Your larkspur is looking good!


    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 3:18PM
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What pretty photos!!!!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 4:36PM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Lynne your garden is really lovely, To me it has a magical quality, love the way you've fenced it and the arbor sigh,... now on to Larkspur, I tossed some seed in a narrow strip along our driveway, I haven't seen any sign of them coming up and after reading TM's post I can understand why. I'll save these instructions and try again later, maybe next year I'll have better luck. Something else is coming up gangbusters though either it's clarkia or a zillon seeds from the blueberry vine have germinated, does anyone know what shape the seed leaves of clarkia look like?

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 5:55PM
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Bought a flat of annual larkspur at the Pepperell Garden Sale. I see from the photos on GW that the plant will make branches and bloom on each branch. If that is the case, should I cut off the tops of each plant now, hoping that will increase branching? Anybody grow this in Zone 5?

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 12:52PM
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Dumb me, I didn't know it was hard to grow larkspur. they self sow here when the seeds fall, and thats it. I try to keep the pods picked off, but some always get missed. My Dad called them trash plants.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 9:32PM
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They reseed and self-sow like weeds in my garden. Initial planting is done in early fall. I have the worst soil there is, yet they thrive. Love them.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 2:54AM
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northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)

I sowed Larkspur for the first time this year. Picked up the seed for 99 cents. I winter sowed them on May 6 and by May 20 I had little sprouts. I hope they re-seed here as mentioned above. I hope to plant them between my peonies and either they will blend or replace them, depending on bloom times. I have not even checked that out.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 3:14AM
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I have found the main, central flower spike of the larkspur to be the fullest and most lovely. Sometimes I dead head the central flower spike and I do get flowers on the side shoots, but the side flowers are never quite as glorious as the central flower. That being said, if you have enough plants, it could be interesting to pinch back a few now and then compare the flowering results.

If you let some of the dead flower heads go to seed, you are most likely assured of having them self sow in subsequent years. In my zone 5 garden, they sprout in fall and then overwinter as small seedlings.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 3:47PM
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I know this is an old thread, but let me chime in about larkspur, please. I don't know about warmer climates, but up here in zone 5 they are as easy to grow as weeds! I scattered a package of larkspur seed about 5 yrs ago in very early spring, and I get larkspur every year. Usually the dark purple, but a few lavenders and pinks. Purple seems to be the dominant color reseeding for me. This year, when my cosmos got eaten up by the woodchucks, I was so glad that the larkspur had reseeded in the same spot, so I have color there despite the woodchucks. When it gets very hot, they do turn brown and die, but when in bloom they are so lovely, and good for cutting too. And - an added bonus - wildlife doesn't seem to snack on them! I think cool temps are key to germination, which is why they are great for wintersowing, but I don't even bother with that, just sprinkle the seed where you want them and nature does the rest, year after year.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 6:11PM
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I tried for many years to grow this and I finally got it to do just that. i wintersowed them in an empty milk jug and they came up like weeds! they are blooming now and are so beautiful. mine are pink, dark purple and light purple, all in the same clump. so pretty!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 12:03PM
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a_shau(San Francisco 8b)

Do you guys ever stake your larkspur? Lots of sites seem to say they should be staked, but wondering if that's really necessary.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 12:58AM
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