How to get good delphiniums?

northspruce(z3a MB CDA)August 9, 2009

Does anyone have any advice for me where to get really good delphiniums? I have bought seeds from two different mail orders that were supposed to be pink and they were both blue. The one I have now is ok but it is kinda loose and floppy, not nice tight spikes like I see in everyone else's yards. Is it best to buy them from a nursery, or has anyone had luck growing specific colours from seed? I'm most interested in pink or very pale blue or white.

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weeper_11(2b SK)

Well this is just my first year growing delphiniums...I bought all of mine from a nursery. I got one mislabeled one, but other than that, I got the pink and blue and other specific varieties that I wanted. My plants seem good this year - I cut the spikes off as soon as the blooms were tapering off, and all of them sent up more spikes and fresh growth. I fertilized them this spring when I planted them with slow-release fertilizer. They get shade in the morning and full sun the rest of the day; they have also got quite a bit of water this year.

I'm not sure what the key to "really good" delphiniums are, but I'm very happy with mine. I think that I would start with nursery plants that are absolutely the varieties you want, then keep seeds from those plants, since delphiniums are supposed to fizzle out after a few years.

Oh! And absolutely stake or hoop them!

    Bookmark   August 9, 2009 at 3:23PM
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marciaz3 Tropical 3 Northwestern Ontario

Dunno, Gil - my blue ones stand straight and tall, and the white ones are lying on the ground. LOL I'd love some pink ones, though - will have to investigate the possibility next summer.

I've had these delphs for several years - haven't fizzled yet (flopped, yes, in the case of the white ones, but not fizzled!).

    Bookmark   August 9, 2009 at 4:53PM
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canadianprairiegirl(zone 3)

Delphiniums are perhaps my favorite perennial and I grew a whole garden row of various pink ones started from seed purchased from a New Zealand company years ago. The nicest specimens were grown in a slightly raised bed of loose compost enriched rich soil. Funny how that is....the bright blue or dark ones seem to be much sturdier than the white or pastel varieties and while the others will self sow, the whites don't seem too. Has any one found the same?

    Bookmark   August 10, 2009 at 12:07AM
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marciaz3 Tropical 3 Northwestern Ontario

I haven't noticed self-sowing from either my blues or my whites. I can't remember if the white ones were started originially from seeds or not (not, according to my winter-sowing list, which is the only way i would have started them), but i have collected seeds from both and tried to start them, to no avail.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2009 at 1:31PM
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I find the shorter variety has tighter flower stocks. It is mostly blues that seed out. I have a gorgeous mauve and pink one but it had no name on it when I bought it. I wish it would seed but no luck so far.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2009 at 2:26PM
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hykue(2b Saskatchewan)

I planted out three delphinium plants this year. The one that got the most sun bloomed first, with a small but compact flower spike. The one with the second most sun bloomed second, with the flower spike a little more open. The one with the least sun had the most open spike. I don't know if this is a general rule, but it looks to me like the more sun, the tighter the spike. Are they getting a ton of sun?

    Bookmark   August 10, 2009 at 4:06PM
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northspruce(z3a MB CDA)

Hykue, that might be a factor. My whole yard is part shade and they are towards the back of the bed. I just made a new bed in the sunniest patch I could find so perhaps I will move them to a sunnier spot.

I remember looking at that New Zealand company before, they have some truly drool-worthy delphs. Maybe this winter I will have to do some seed shopping... :0)

    Bookmark   August 10, 2009 at 5:30PM
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I have started most of my delphs from seed. I have never been totally satisfied with finding a pink delph yet, most have a lavender shade to them. I have been looking at the Dowdeswell Delphinium site in New Zealand and love the looks of the Pink Punch one.I think it depends on the temperature and moisture on each year on what shade the "pink" delphs are... Jean
Astolat delph

Dusky Maiden delph

Mixed delphs..another Astolat on the nearest end

    Bookmark   August 10, 2009 at 6:10PM
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Pudge 2b

If you can find a supplier of Millenium series delphs ... you want to talk about mouthwatering - huge, thick spikes packed with flowers. They're also Dowdeswell's but sold as plants thru greenhouses. Two friends are growing some and they wintered just fine for them

    Bookmark   August 10, 2009 at 6:53PM
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northspruce(z3a MB CDA)

I love the black bee on that Dusky Maiden, Jean!

The blue one I'm growing now was supposed to be Astolat too. Here is the sad individual:

    Bookmark   August 10, 2009 at 8:07PM
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One thing that grew wonderfully for me this year, were my Delphs...I normally just give them a shovel full of manure & compost along with slow release fertilizer in the spring and lots of water throughout the summer. I agree with Pudge on the Millenium Series, they are indeed the fullest/fattest most gorgeous Delphs I have. I love your Dusky Maiden one Savona! I too, am looking for a very dark double pink.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 6:50PM
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If you want live plants, check out Marg

    Bookmark   August 18, 2009 at 7:40AM
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