How to Grow Delphiniums in Your Garden

How to grow delphiniums in your garden.  You can get started with seeds, purchase a plant or take root cuttings. Delpiniums are easier to grow than many think!

You can easily bring height and grandeur to your cottage garden with a few Delphiniums. Add them to your borders, beds, and the cutting garden. The Magic Fountain series delphiniums are bred to grow shorter and are perfect for cutting and arranging.

My cottage garden gets a boost in July from these beautiful tall spires of blooms. (when they bloom is determined by your gardening season) Some claim Delphiniums are difficult to grow but so far I have found them easy.  

The delphiniums in my Entrance garden get full sun most of the day while the delphiniums in the side garden get some afternoon shade. The delphiniums in the Secret Cottage Garden in the back get all-day hot sun and they bloom well there too.

Don’t be put off growing them if you don’t know how they will do in your conditions. Just give them a try and find out for yourself! You may be pleasantly surprised.

Delphiniums attract pollinators such as bees, butterflies and hummingbirds and are resistant to deer and rabbits. Though everybody knows if they are hungry enough they will eat just about anything in your garden.

All of the delphiniums in my garden were started from seed. They have been dug up and divided, cuttings taken from them, and seeds collected to start more.   Growing delphiniums is not complicated at all.

How I Grow Delphiniums, english delphiniums stand tall and stately in the cottage garden. They add height to the garden and come back every year. They will reseed themselves for years of delight or you can collect the seed and start them indoors.

Where do Delphiniums Grow Best

We have cold snowy winters and dry, warm summers.  Delphiniums need a cold winter to be at their best.  The website where I purchase my seeds has a map showing where delphiniums grow well.  Where You Can Grow Delphiniums

The New Millennium Delphiniums are my favorite because of how well they perform in my garden. If you don’t wish to grow them from seeds then you can buy plants here: Annie’s Annuals

Many folks are familiar with the Pacific Giant series or the Centurions. All are beautiful.

Generally, delphiniums grow well in zones 3-8. In areas where you get 95+ degree summer weather, they prefer a bit of afternoon shade. But that being said many of my delphiniums are in full sun. One summer we consistently had over 95 degrees and they did fine. They just bloomed out and started to go to seed much faster than usual.

I also had a friend that grew them in zone 9b and hers were beautiful. She just made sure they got afternoon shade. As I said before don’t be afraid to try them even if you do not have the ideal conditions in your garden.

How I Grow Delphiniums, english delphiniums stand tall and stately in the cottage garden. They add height to the garden and come back every year. They will reseed themselves for years of delight or you can collect the seed and start them indoors.

How to Grow Delphiniums

To be truthful, I don’t treat Delphiniums any different than the majority of my cottage flowers. Plant in soil full of organic matter like compost or well-rotted manure.  It should be free draining but still hold moisture well.

Delphiniums do like plenty of water, so if you don’t get summer rains (we don’t), give them at least an inch a week. Most soaker hoses or drip systems will tell you how long to leave the water running to accomplish that. Mulch helps retain moisture and keeps roots cool.

You will need to protect Delphiniums from wind, heavy rain. You will need to stake them to prevent the stems from snapping, they are top-heavy and the stems are hollow.  

Pagan Purple Delphiniums supported by obelisk, Flower Patch Farmhouse dot com

The delphiniums in the photo above are supported by one of my DIY Obelisks, you can build one yourself! Though I built this one as a tomato support, I decided to use it for this delphinium. The obelisk is 8 feet tall so you can see how big this delph is.

Feeding Delphiniums

Feed delphiniums with a liquid organic fertilizer every other week.  I dilute it to half strength. Delphiniums are heavy feeders so extra fertilizer is needed. I usually don’t fertilize most of my plants in the ground as the soil is nutrient-dense.

How I Grow Delphiniums, english delphiniums stand tall and stately in the cottage garden. They add height to the garden and come back every year. They will reseed themselves for years of delight or you can collect the seed and start them indoors.

In Fall, I dump tons of composted chicken debris from the hen house around all the gardens. This keeps the garden beds rich and well-draining. No further fertilization is usually needed during the growing season but I make an exception with Delphiniums.

Pests & Disease

Here we have dry summers and don’t usually have to deal with much powdery mildew.   If a problem does show up I use this spray, but sparingly. 

Slugs can be a problem in early Spring as the Delphiniums are just sprouting. Sluggo Plus works well and the one treatment is usually all that needs to be done. Though both of the products are rated for organic gardening I still limit their use. Though accepted for use does not mean it won’t harm the good insects we do want in our gardens.

How do you Keep Delphiniums Blooming

After blooming you can cut off the flower stalk just at the side shoot flowering stem (if there is one).

If you look to the right of the blooms in the photo below you will seed a side shoot with tiny buds on it.  Once the main bloom is beginning to lose its petals on the bottom of the plume, cut down to just above that side shoot.

The variety I grow doesn’t keep blooming all Summer though the shorter varieties will keep blooming longer if you cut them.

I don’t cut mine at this time as then I lose the entire plume that is still looking beautiful and I want it that in my garden.

After the small shoots finish blooming cut the main stalk off at the base and sometimes you can get a re-bloom if you have a long enough garden season. I usually do not have long enough.

So instead of cutting off the stalk…..

How I Grow Delphiniums, english delphiniums stand tall and stately in the cottage garden. They add height to the garden and come back every year. They will reseed themselves for years of delight or you can collect the seed and start them indoors.

…let them go to seed.

To let them go to seed do not cut off any blooms, just let them develop seed pods and either collect the seed when it is ready or let them drop to the ground around the parent plant. Plants coming up from seed won’t always come true, meaning they can be different colors than the parent plant.  To get true clones of the parent you must take cuttings.

To collect, once the seed pod is dry and starting to crack, I hold something under the pod, like a small paper bag or envelop, then cut the seed pod off and let the pod and seeds fall into it.  Set them aside in the paper container to completely dry.  Then separate the seed out from most of the chaff and store them in a small baggie in the refrigerator until it is time to germinate.

Do Delphiniums Grow Back Every Year

Yes, in the right conditions. The ones I show in my photos I have been growing for 10+ years. They have been coming back bigger and better each year.

I have read that in warmer zones you should treat them as an annual. But that has not been my experience.

Blue Delphiniums with text overlay, easy How to Grow Delphiniums, Flower Patch Farmhouse dot com

How to Grow Delphiniums from Seed

Click on over to my entire post on How to Start Delphiniums from Seed

Have you been inspired to try growing Delphiniums?  They are worth it!

Special note: All delphiniums are considered toxic and parts of the plant and flower may cause severe discomfort to humans and animals if eaten. Gloves should be worn when working with delphiniums, contact with the foliage can result in skin irritation.

I wish you all Happy Gardening!

How to Grow Delphiniums in Your Garden

how to grow delphiniums, flower patch farmhouse

Step by step cheat sheet to grow delphiniums

Prep Time 10 minutes
Active Time 1 minute
Total Time 11 minutes
Difficulty Easy

Materials

  • Delphiniums
  • Seeds
  • Garden
  • Plants

Tools

  • Shovel

Instructions

  1. Grow delphiniums from seed or buy plants
  2. Plant in well-draining rich soil
  3. Delphiniums like 6 hours of sun daily, provide summer shade in hotter climates
  4. Give 1 inch of water per week, more if the temperatures are above 90 degrees
  5. Feed with organic fertilizer once every other week
  6. Dead head or cut for bouquets to keep some types blooming
  7. Cut back to base for a possible re-bloom
  8. Propagate by cuttings, root division or saving seeds.

Notes

Most say that Delphiniums do best in Zone 3 through 7 but I am in Zone 8 and they grow well for me. I also had a friend that grew beautiful Delphiniums in Zone 9 with afternoon shade.

How I Grow Delphiniums, english delphiniums stand tall and stately in the cottage garden. They add height to the garden and come back every year. They will reseed themselves for years of delight or you can collect the seed and start them indoors.



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6 Comments

  1. I have always loved the blue delphiniums & I am happy that you are here to guide me as I would like to see if I can grow some of my own. I signed up.Thank you for sharing the great photos. I didn’t know thre were pink ones too!

    1. Pink and white ones. I have grown white in the past and would love to get more. I have so much pink in my garden already that I have not invested in that color yet. I will though. I do enjoy the height delphiniums bring to my garden.

  2. I’ve had same delphiniums for past 6 years. All I do is cut them right down after flowering and every year, often twice a year, they grow right back and multiply! I had far too many for my small garden so have been dividing them and giving away to friends. I had too stake mine which not pretty so next spring will cage them, as suggested by a previous comment. I currently have mine in large plant pots, cut them back for what I thought would be last time this year but due to weather conditions have been growing up again and are 10cms so I will have to cut back again, I think, hope they go dormant till late spring next year. Would like to add that they are easy to divide and never needed to collect seeds but worth a try.

    1. Wow, that is great they they self propagate so readily for you. Mine do but much too slowly for my taste. They must really love your climate.

  3. I’m kind of disappointed.

    My husband and I live in North Carolina just outside of Charlotte, and we recently rented a small house that’s gray with white trim. I picked up 2 packages of Delphinium Magic Fountains, Mixed Colors (Dwarf) to plant in front of our porch railing which is raised up approximately two or so feet above ground level.

    The blue/lavender/white flowers would look very nice up against the porch railing on both sides of the front steps but, according to the map you would have us click on, North Carolina seems to be an area where Delphiniums are not successfully grown.

    Sigh

    Well, I’m going to go ahead anyway and plant these seeds indoors first to give them the best chance of growing.
    (in eggshells filled with plant-soil so they won’t get ‘root shocked’ when placed outside).
    Then, once the seeds germinate and get two or three inches of height on them, I’ll plant them in front as planned.

    Because the front yard has a fairly large tree on the lawn, these plants will get sun with partial shade.so that’s something that may help in this ‘poor climate’ situation.

    I’ve also ‘Bookmarked’ your site here! Heaven knows I’m not going to go into this venture all by myself. I’m taking you and your knowledge with me! Lol!

    Wish me luck! 🙂

    1. You never know with plants and many gardens and yards have micro climates. My garden does not follow any rules! You won’t know until you try. I wish you great success. Happy gardening!

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