I’m back! With the weather finally warming up, that means we’ve got even more plants coming into bloom! Today we’ll be taking a look at larkspur. Here in my zone, larkspur can sometimes be a little bit tricky. Here are some of the notes that I’ve been able to take.
NAME: Larkspur (also known as rocket larkspur )
TOXIC: YES. Always do your research and be responsible any time you add something new to the garden. Be aware of what you’re growing around kids, pets, and everyone else. Many ornamental plants and cut flowers are toxic. Use common sense, always wear gloves, wash hands, don’t touch your eyes or face, etc. Safety first! Before planting, ensure that plants are not considered invasive in your area.
HOW: Easy to direct sow. Easy to germinate using the winter sowing method. Broadcasting seed onto prepared flower beds.
WHEN: In my garden, the best results come from seeds that were direct sown in fall (at the end of September in my garden). The seeds germinate and seedlings survive the winter. Some seedlings are lost during the winter, and will vary depending upon how cold your winter is. Overall, I had an excellent success rate. My seedlings survived a few nights down to 8F, with little damage. They were also briefly covered in snow. Overwintering results will definitely vary from garden to garden.
Direct sowing the seeds in the spring as soon as soil can be worked is also an option. However, in my garden, this was not successful. The resulting plants from a spring planting were diminutive, and simply not worth the time or effort. I will not be direct sowing in the spring again. This may be a viable option to those who live in a cooler climate, but I obviously can’t say for certain.
Larkspur appear to germinate best when temperatures are cool. While I’m not sure if they require a period of cold before germination, this requirement would naturally be met when planted in the fall. The seeds also respond well to use of the winter sowing method (using containers), though the tiny seeds make this very difficult.