About Prairie Larkspur: This native cousin of the delphinium grows in the wild, often found thriving in grassland and prairie 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.
Prairie Larkspur Germination: Direct sow in late fall, planting just below the surface. 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 rocky or sandy soil.
Growing Prairie Larkspur Seeds: Water the plants occasionally, especially in periods of dry weather. Keep weeds down, since this plant does not like competition. After blooming, it will go dormant; cut the stem down to the ground to allow for new growth and possible second blooming in the cooler weather of fall. If the flowers are left to mature, they will readily reseed. Watch out for snails and slugs, which will damage this plant.
Harvesting Prairie 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 Prairie 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 Prairie Larkspur Info: Origin: US Native Other Common Names: Carolina Larkspur, Plains Larkspur, Penard's Larkspur, White Larkspur Duration: Perennial Bloom Time: Summer Height: 24-48 inches Spacing: 18-24 inches Light: Full Sun to Part Shade Soil Moisture: Dry USDA Zone: 3a-8b Seeds Per Oz: 60,000 Produces divided, toothed green leaves and an elongated cluster of 1” spurred blossoms of bright blue or purple.