Delphinium Flower Colors and Types: How to Grow Delphinium, Care Tips

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Gardening | April 1, 2024

Man watering a delphinium flower after learning how to grow delphiniums (blue, purple, white, and pink delphinium types) and the planting tips for growing flowers.

The Delphinium flower makes a gorgeous addition to any outdoor landscape garden or interior.

It’s unique height, often reaching 6 feet tall, can be used as a perfect backdrop for smaller shrubs and flowers

And, if you’re looking for plants that attract hummingbirds or want to have different types of butterflies flying all around your home, the Delphinium fits the bill.

This guide outlines everything you need to know about planting and growing your own type of Delphinium flower, both indoors and outdoors, and offers practical gardening tips to ensure that these majestic flowers stay healthy and flourish in your space.

Delphinium Plant

What people see when they first look at the Delphinium perennial is how majestic it is, with its flowers growing in a tall bunch and coming in various colorful shades.

Although blue is the most common color and what many gardeners go for, there are many more at your disposal, and you may actually end up picking a pink, red, or white type.


(Delphinium spp)

Delphinium flower in an oval frame on a green background.
  • Family: Ranunculaceae
  • Genus: Delphinium
  • Leaf: Deeply lobed, palmate in shape, 3-7 toothed
  • Seed: Tiny, hard, dark in color, looks like small rocks
  • Blossoms: Each flower has five sepals, and they come in various shades of blue, purple, white, and pink.
  • Native Habitat: North Africa and the northern hemisphere
  • Height: 2-6 Feet
  • Type: Perennial
  • Native Growing Zone: USDA Zones 3-7

Image Credit: Jacques GAIMARD19

Did you know that there are more than 300 members of the Delphinium Flower species?6

These stunning blooms have been in cultivation as early as the 16th century, and so much meaning has been attached to them.

Primarily, it is usually grown as a symbol of cheerfulness or happiness, and there are instances where the flowers will be gifted in remembrance of a departed loved one.

Delphinium Flower Facts

Apart from the stunning beauty of the Delphinium Flower, there are a couple more fun Delphinium Flower facts that you should know if you will be planting one.

  1. Wondering where the name Delphinium even came from? It is actually a term that is from the word ‘delphis,’ meaning dolphin in Greek.
    They say that when the flower buds close, they sort of look like the nose of a dolphin, hence the name.
  2. The Delphinium belongs to the Ranunculaceae family of plants,7 and there are over 300 species of them, although the versions with blue flowers are more commonly planted.
  3. The plant is a herbaceous perennial that is actually short-lived, staying for about 2-3 years or so. Therefore, you can expect yours to die back in winter and fall, although the roots will stay intact and grow back in spring or summer.
  4. You should also know that the cluster of petals in the centers of Delphinium Flowers is referred to as ‘bees.’
  5. Delphiniums are actually poisonous, causing mild to severe side effects when ingested, so you should be very careful if you have children or animals that are grazing nearby.

Larkspur vs Delphinium: What Is the Difference?

It is quite common to hear someone refer to the Delphinium as a Larkspur. You will understand why when you take a look at the two plants side by side, they look almost the same, and only a trained eye could really tell them apart.

But before you misclassify one for the other, you would want to know the identifying features of Larkspur vs. Delphinium.

First, you will realize that Delphinium is perennial and short-lived, whereas the larkspur is more of an annual. One more outstanding difference is the fact that the Delphinium Flower tends to grow bigger and more closely bunched together, but looking at the Larkspur, it has delicate blooms that are usually more spaced out.

How To Identify Delphinium Flower (Pictures of Delphinium)

Undoubtedly, the Delphinium is a breathtaking flower with distinct characteristics.

To better recognize its unique features, one can refer to pictures of Delphinium.

Graphic of Delphinium flower identification showing images of Delphinium leaf, Delphinium flower, and Delphinium seed pods, along with a US map color-coded for temperature and cultivation zones.

Here is how to identify Delphinium Flower through its physical features:

Delphinium Leaves

Attached to long stalks are the green Delphinium leaves, growing in alternate patterns and with 3-7 lobes that are palm-shaped. This unique pattern makes the plant easy to spot and, of course, make it look even better.

Delphinium Flowers

Given that there are so many types of Delphinium varieties, it is not a surprise that the flowers will come in different forms. Some will grow singly, and others double or semi-double.

They also come in plenty of colors, in shades of blue, pink, lavender, white, purple, yellow, and red.

Delphinium Seeds

Each of its fruits contains so many Delphinium seeds inside. They are dark, sometimes shiny, and look exactly like tiny rocks and are hard to the touch, too.

Available Delphinium Varieties (Delphinium Groups)

It is interesting that the Delphinium varieties available are not really wildflowers but, instead, are products of frequent hybridization that has taken place since the 1800s. As a result, these are the hybrid groups that you can choose from.

  1. Elatum group: Elatum cultivars have a common feature of being able to grow to as much as 8 feet high. Although they are a tab bit high maintenance, they make up for it with their stunning blue, purple, white, and pink petal colors.
  2. Belladonna group: These ones are a bit different from the Elatum cultivars because they live longer and are easier to maintain, but they tend to grow shorter, reaching 3-4 feet high.1
  3. Pacific Giants: Some popular Delphinium hybrids that you must have heard of all belong to this group of plants.8 They are equally stunning, just like their cousins, and grow to 4-6 feet high.

Types of Delphinium (Best Delphinium Colors)

If you are on the lookout for the most stunning types of flowers that you can grow in your home, the variety of Delphinium colors will surely captivate you. You will actually be overwhelmed by how many options are available, but to help make it easier, here is a roundup of common types based on their flower colors.

Blue Delphinium

If you are a fan of blue flowers, you may want to take a closer look at these Delphinium varieties.

1. Blue Butterfly

Even though this flower grows to only around 14 inches, it is one of the most common blue Delphiniums, and the best part is how it is more tolerant of heat and blooms for the better part of summer.

Close-up view of a Blue Butterfly Delphinium showcasing its vibrant blue blossoms.

(Image: David J. Stang15)

2. Guardian Lavender

If you incline more to the pale blue flower varieties, the Guardian lavender will not disappoint, and it helps that it is known to do pretty well even under windy conditions.

3. Guinevere

Talk about blue with beautiful pink undertones. The Guinevere is subtle, ideal if you want to avoid the shouting colors.

4. Faust

If you don’t mind going for a dark blue Delphinium, then the Faust cultivar should be the one that you go for. The heavy blue color definitely stands out from the others and will make a bold statement when in your garden.

5. Summer Blues

You will find the light blue shade of this plant fascinating. It takes a softer shade than its cousins but is still a perfect plant to help spruce up your garden.

White Delphinium

There is always something special about the types of white flowers, how regal and elegant they usually look, and these white Delphinium cultivars are true testaments.

6. Summer Stars

This one comes from the Grandiflorum hybrid types and is generally a dwarf that reaches about 14 inches high.

Close-up view of Summer Stars Delphiniums displaying their pristine white blooms.

(Image: David J. Stang17)

The flowers are pure white and show up in the summer.

7. Galahad

Snow white blooms like those of a Galahad will definitely stand out in your garden. The white against the dark green of the leaves is a sight, and it is exciting that it lasts years in your garden.

8. Jill Curley

This is one type that anyone would want growing in their yard. The flowers are semi-double and grow 6-7 feet high.

9. Magic Fountain White

What about this head-turning flower? It is more of a shorter Delphinium, but the advantage of it is how it works even for small spaces and doesn’t need staking.

10. Casablanca

The ever-stunning Casablanca comes from the belladonna group of Delphinium hybrids and has sort of star-shaped flowers, perfect for cut flowers.

Pink Delphinium

If pink is your absolute favorite color, you will love the following Delphiniums with pink flowers.

11. Astolat

This perennial that grows either pink or lavender is a member of the Pacific giant group of Delphiniums and is known for being very attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds.

An Astolat Delphinium showcasing its pink bloom in a garden filled with various Delphinium varieties.

(Image: Niepokój Zbigniew18)

12. Million Dollar Blush

These double Delphinium Flowers are a must-have in your garden or containers. The light pink ruffles look so delicate and soft, and you can use them for your landscaping and home decor.

13. Pink Punch

If you ever get a hold of the pink punch, don’t let go because this New Zealand Delphinium hybrid is a unique cultivar that will work wonders for your landscaping.9

14. Princess Caroline

This cultivar is another type that works really great as a cut flower that you can use for your home decor and displays. You also don’t have to stake it because it often grows rather short.2

15. Summer Morning

This is one of the very first true pink varieties of flowers. It will show off its blooms in the summer and grow 12-14 inches tall.

Purple Delphinium

Purple and blue Delphiniums are top choices for many gardeners, and there are so many purple flowers for you to choose from.

16. King Arthur

The majestic King Arthur is one extremely tall plant with a breathtaking deep purple color that will do a great deal when planted in the back of your garden bed.

King Arthur Delphinium displays its purple blossoms, green foliage, and budding flowers on its elongated stem.

(Image: zoosnow16)

17. Highlander Bolero

One Delphinium that has a lot going on is the highlander bolero, with its massive double flowers that tend to slowly fade out to white in the center.

18. Black Knight

Want something that will effortlessly stand out in your home? Try the black knight, a famous Delphinium known for its rich purple color and enormous size.

19. Aurora Lavender

Looking at the aurora lavender, you can’t help but notice that it looks softer and more delicate with its light purple shade and short stature.

20. Purple Passion

If you are looking for a plant that is more tolerant of heat, the purple passion is a great bet. It also doesn’t miss when it comes to its looks because it has deep purple petals and some splashes of white that easily draw you in.

Growing Delphinium: How To Grow Delphinium

First time planting a Delphinium, or any flower for that matter? Not to worry because it is not really as overwhelming as you might think.

Graphic of Delphinium flower growth rate, starting from 1-2 inches in its first month to reaching 2-6 feet after a year.

Here are the primary methods for growing Delphinium, a beautiful perennial:

Growing a Delphinium Flower From a Seed: When To Plant Delphinium Seeds

For those with gardening expertise looking to start from the beginning, when to plant Delphinium seeds is best in the spring or winter to facilitate cold stratification.

What you will basically need are the seeds, small planters, a potting medium, a plastic cover, and maybe a spray bottle for watering.

Fill the planter with the soil mix and sprinkle the seeds, then cover with about an inch of mulch. Next, you are going to spray the water and cover it with plastic, constantly making sure that the conditions are perfect, and you should see the sprouts in 3-4 weeks.3

Growing a Delphinium Flower From a Cutting

If you already have a Delphinium or know someone who does, you will be thrilled to learn that you can plant one using cuttings, too. All you have to do is to make sure that you get a perfect plant to take the cutting from, then dip the end in a rooting hormone to at least speed up the process.

Next, you are going to transfer the cutting to a potting mix, water it, and then cover to maintain the level of humidity; when you are sure that the roots have formed, it will be safe to transplant outdoors.

Growing Delphinium Seedlings

The simplest way to go, especially for beginners, is using seedlings.10 Just find Delphinium seedlings from a nursery and transplant them in your flower garden.

Just make sure that wherever you choose is open and receive unobstructed sunlight every day. When digging the hole, make sure that it is of the same size as the root ball, place the plant and backfill it, then water it deeply, caring for your tree as usual.

Best Growing Conditions for Delphinium Flower

Delphiniums are short-lived perennials that require optimal growing conditions.

A diverse array of Delphiniums in a garden, showcasing a spectrum of colors including blue, purple, and pink.

(Image: pkong8816)

Ensuring the right environment helps them produce their most vibrant flowers.

Watering Needs for Delphinium Flower Plants

Flowering plants can be pretty thirsty, especially when it is too hot. That is why they need water at least 2-3 times a week, just as long as the ground never dries up.

You can also add a layer of mulch at the very top to preserve the moisture content in the soil.

How Much Sunlight Does Delphinium Flower Need Each Day?

If you don’t want to take a chance and need the most showy and healthiest flowers from your plant, you should consider providing 6-8 hours of sunlight every single day.

Expert gardeners pick spots that are sure to offer shade in the afternoon when the sun is too hot.

What Is the Best Type of Soil for Delphinium Flowers?

Root rot is pretty common, and you want to make sure that the soil is well-draining. And for the best results, check that it is only slightly acidic, and you can go ahead to add compost.

Delphinium Flower Growing Zone: What Are the Best Growing Zones for Delphinium Flower?

Planting zones are supposed to be the very first things that you check to see whether where you live will be the perfect place for the Delphinium Flowers; based on the temperature needs.

You are in luck when it comes to the growing zones for Delphinium Flower because it grows in a wide range of hardiness zones.

Delphinium flowers stand tall with their striking purple blossoms and green foliage on an elongated stem.

(Image: jhenning16)

Its ideal regions are those in the USDA Zones 3-7,11 which means that it should not be too hot or too cold.

Planting Tips for Delphinium Flower

The Delphinium Flower is a special type of perennial, and if this is your first time trying to grow your own, you will find the following tips quite handy.

When To Plant Delphinium Flower for the Best Yield

Professionals recommend planting flowering plants in spring due to favorable weather conditions. This season eliminates concerns about frost.

How Far Apart To Plant Delphinium Flower

Because Delphinium plants are known to grow pretty fast, you want to make sure that there is no overcrowding or competition. This is why it is advisable to space your plants about 2-3 feet away from each other.5

How Long It Takes To Grow Delphinium Flower

The Delphinium is relatively short-lived compared to other plants. This characteristic is why it takes only one year to determine how long it takes to grow Delphinium Flower to maturity.

How Long Do Delphiniums Bloom?

As long as you practice regular pruning, you will realize that your Delphinium Flowers will bloom all through the summer.12 Typically, the question of how long do Delphiniums bloom is answered with a time frame from June to September.

How To Grow Delphinium in Pots

As much as Delphinium Flowers would prefer growing under the full sun, they will also stay alive when planted in containers, such as Delphinium in pots, just as long as you take great care of them. You will need a larger container that will handle the massive root growth, and of course, make sure that it has drainage holes to avoid overwatering.

Lastly, place the planter somewhere with sunlight access or supplement that artificially with a grow light.

How To Care for Delphinium: Delphinium Care and Maintenance

Now that you have all the tips you could possibly need about planting Delphinium Flowers, the last step is knowing how to care for Delphinium, ensuring your plant remains vibrant and flourishing.

A close up of a cluster of blue Delphinium flowers with a distinct white center.

(Image: mvandepi16)

Here are some things you need to know about Delphinium care:

  1. Fertilizer: The minute you notice that the leaves of your plant are starting to yellow, that could be a sign of a lack of nutrients. You could add compost or a well-balanced fertilizer at the start and middle of the season to avoid such instances.
  2. Pruning: Delphiniums will surprise you with just how fast they grow, and that is why you need to learn how to regularly prune them. You just have to find where the branches are coming from, from the main stem, and use a pruner to take off the spike.
    Doing this will make it way easier for the second bloom to come back bigger and better.
  3. Weeding: Of course, there are going to be weeds growing near and around your Delphiniums, and that is why you need to know how to identify weeds by photo and remove them immediately after you spot one, either manually or using an organic weed killer recipe.

Companion Plants for Growing Delphinium Flower

If you have had a flower garden for a while now, you already know how incredible flowers look when they complement each other. No matter what shade of Delphiniums you go for, they will benefit from having companion plants for growing Delphinium Flower like these:

  1. Hyssops: If you are looking for a pollinator attractor and one whose flowers will bloom over a long period of time, the hyssops should be at the very top of your list.
  2. Sage: Planting a conventional blue Delphinium? Now imagine it growing in the middle of other lavender-colored sage plants that are fuzzy and stunning.
  3. Sunflower: The Delphinium has a weakness of toppling over when very strong winds come, which is why tall plants like the sunflower will come in handy by sheltering them.
  4. Legumes: These plants are well known for how well they add nutrients to the soil and make perfect companions, and that is what your Delphiniums need.

Common Pests of the Delphinium Flower

Pests are the number one problem when it comes to farming, and the Delphiniums are no different. So, you need to be very careful with the pests below before you lose your precious flowers.

  1. Aphids: Literally every gardener’s nemesis because these tiny insects feed on the plant and leave the leaves curling up or misshapen.4
  2. Cyclamen Mites:13 These are deadly because they are too tiny to spot; all you see is the leaves wrinkled and the blooms either distorted or not showing up at all.
  3. Cutworms: What these ones do is that they find their way up the stem and feed on the leaves, especially at night.
  4. Larkspur Leaf Miner:14 This one also manifests itself when the leaves get distorted and darkened.

Natural Pest Control for Delphinium Flower

Do you pride yourself as an eco-conscious gardener? Then you might be thinking about all the different ways that you can get rid of the pests above but with very little or no impact on the environment.

Lucky for you because there are natural methods that go a long way to eliminate insect infestations. First of all, if you are dealing with huge pests that you can clearly see, then the first thing that you can do is to manually take them off the Delphiniums.

But on the contrary, if the pests in question are too tiny, then you can hose them off. When that is said and done, the next step is to use an organic insecticidal soap.

Number one, it won’t negatively impact the environment and two, it is way cheaper because you can make it right in your house using common kitchen products.

What do you need? Dish soap, water, neem or vegetable oil, and garlic, that’s about it.

Just spray on the plant or wipe it all over the affected parts.

Common Diseases of the Delphinium Flower

Insects are not the only ones that you should watch out for; there are also some other lethal diseases that gardeners are warned about, especially fungal and bacterial infections.

These are not to be messed with because they are able to kill off your whole plant or even wipe out your garden in very little time, that is, if you don’t do the needful.

  1. Crown Rot: Say your plant is infected with this fungus.
    What gives? The foliage will most likely start turning yellow, then dry up, and finally fall off.
  2. Powdery Mildew: Gardeners know the powdery mildew all too well, and they will tell you how important it is to be on the lookout for whitish matter on the surface of the leaves.
  3. Leaf Spot: Just from the name, it doesn’t take much to tell that this disease causes dark spots on the top part of the leaves, which leads to untimely defoliation.
  4. Blight: This is another deadly one that kind of makes the leaves turn black, and it is actually made worse the more you keep watering the plant.

How To Stop Delphinium Flower Disease

One thing first comes to your mind when you think about plant diseases: treating them with fungicides.

But that is not the only remedy because there are other natural methods that you can make use of to get rid of diseases while not negatively affecting the environment.

A young Delphinium showcases a cluster of budding purple flowers on its green stem.

(Image: manseok_Kim16)

For instance, what happens when you detect infections early on?

Say only a few leaves have been affected; what do you do? Simple.

Just remove the affected parts and destroy them, and you could possibly save your plant. But this is the best-case scenario because there are instances where the infection is severe.

Here is where you will be forced to uproot the entire plant and hopefully prevent the diseases from spreading.

Have you owned a garden before? If not, you may not know exactly what you are missing out on because Delphiniums have a natural way of lifting the face of your home and making a bold statement in your home, whether in your landscape or home decor.

There is absolutely no way that you could go wrong when you choose to plant this perennial and it helps that there are so many types available just for your selection.

In comparison to other plants, the Delphinium is not demanding in matters of planting and maintenance.

Planting varieties of Delphinium flower will provide a stunning and beautiful addition to any garden.

Frequently Asked Questions About Delphinium Flower

Are Delphiniums Perennials?

Delphiniums are actually perennials that are known to live for a rather short time, dying back and coming back again later through the roots that stay intact.

How Do You Cut and Arrange Delphiniums?

If you are a fan of cut flowers and need to do the same with your Delphiniums, you will cut open flowers at 45 degrees, rinse the stalks, and place them in a vase. But before that, make sure that there are no leaves beneath the water level to maintain the clear water, and even so, you will still have to change the water at least every 3 days.

Is the Delphinum Flower Poisonous?

There is one problem when it comes to the Delphinium Flower: the fact that it is very poisonous, not only to pests but also to humans. They are infamous for causing nausea and muscle twitches or paralysis and death in severe cases.


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