About Rocket Larkspur: This close cousin of the delphinium has a similar appearance to that flower, but grows as an annual. The genus name Delphinium comes from a Greek word meaning dolphin, referring to the unique shape of the blossoms; the species name “ajacis” comes from the Greek myth that these flowers first grew in the place where the great warrior Ajax committed suicide. The common name of larkspur comes from the supposed resemblance of the blossoms to the claw of a lark. Native Americans and early settlers used the bright flowers of this plant to make blue ink. Larkspur is the flower of the month of July, and symbolizes a carefree or fickle heart.
Rocket Larkspur Germination: Direct sow ?” deep in deeply worked, rich soil. In warm regions the seed can be planted in fall for earlier bloom, while early spring planting is a better time for areas with cold winters. To start the seed indoors, sow ?” deep in a flat kept evenly moist and at a temperature of 60 degrees F. This seed germinates rather slowly, but should sprout within 20-30 days. Transplant the seedlings when there is no chance of frost. This plant tolerates sandy or clay soils.
Growing Rocket Larkspur Seeds: Water the plants regularly, keeping the soil consistently moist. Avoid overwatering, since excess moisture may cause root rot. The plants should bloom in their first season if started early; otherwise, they will begin blooming in the following summer. After the first crop of blossoms fade the plant may be pruned for new growth and a possible second blooming. These plants will self-seed in good growing conditions. Cut the plant several inches above ground level after the first hard frost. Larkspur attracts hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies.
Harvesting Rocket Larkspur: For fresh flowers, cut long stems of flowers that have just opened; these flowers usually have a vase life of 7-10 days. Delphiniums also make excellent dried flowers. For this purpose, choose flowers that have fully opened and bundle them, hanging them upside down in a dark, warm place until dried. Handle these plants with care, since the seeds and leaves contain poison.
Saving Rocket Larkspur Seeds: After the flowers fade, this plant will produce papery light brown seed pods that open at the top when ripe. Mature seed will be a dark brown color. Remove entire stalks of ripe seed pods and spread them out to dry. Alternatively, the plants can be shaken over a container to remove the seed from the open pods. Store the cleaned seed in a cool, dry place.
Detailed Rocket Larkspur Info: Origin: Southern Europe Other Common Names: Larkspur, Lark's Heel, Doubtful Knight's Spur Duration: Annual Bloom Time: Summer Height: 36-48 inches Spacing: 12-15 inches Light: Full Sun to Part Shade Soil Moisture: Medium USDA Zone: 3a-9b Seeds Per Oz: 9,000 Produces finely cut, delicate foliage and tall spikes of semi-double blossoms in varied shades of pink, white, and blue.