About Western Larkspur: This native cousin of the delphinium grows in the wild, often found thriving in open woodland areas. 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.
Western Larkspur Germination: Direct sow in late fall, planting just below the surface of rich soil. To plant in the spring, mix the seed with moist sand and store it in the refrigerator for 60 days before direct sowing. This seed can also be planted indoors on the surface of a flat, and kept evenly moist and at a temperature of 60-65 degrees F until germination. Transplant seedlings 8-10” apart after the last chance of frost. This plant adapts well to partial shade, especially in warmer climates.
Growing Western Larkspur Seeds: Water the plants occasionally, especially in periods of dry weather. Avoid overwatering, since good drainage produces the healthiest growth. Keep weeds down, since this plant does not like competition. Remove wilted blossoms for the best blooming; if blooming decreases, the entire plant can be cut back for new growth and possible second blooming. If the flowers are left to mature, they will readily reseed. Larkspur attracts hummingbirds and butterflies and resists deer.
Harvesting Western Larkspur: For fresh flowers, cut the stems near the ground and place them in water immediately; strip the leaves that will fall below the water. Handle these plants with care, since the seeds and leaves contain poison.
Saving Western 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 Western Larkspur Info: Origin: US Native Other Common Names: Duration: Perennial Bloom Time: Summer Height: 36-48 inches Spacing: 15-18 inches Light: Full Sun to Part Shade Soil Moisture: Medium USDA Zone: 5a-8b Seeds Per Oz: 6,500 Produces a plant with divided, toothed green leaves and tall spikes of purple-blue spurred blossoms.