Eazy Gardening

Candle Larkspur: A Striking Plant for Your Garden

Plant: Delphinium elatum ‘Million Dollar Sky’ (Candle Larkspur)

Are you looking for a bold and beautiful addition to your garden? Look no further than Delphinium elatum ‘Million Dollar Sky’, commonly known as Candle Larkspur.

This stunning plant boasts sky-blue flowers that bloom on tall spikes, creating a striking visual display. In this article, we’ll explore the various aspects of this plant, from its appearance to its cultivation and care, to help you decide if it’s the right fit for your garden.

Overview of the Plant

Common Names, Vernacular Names

Delphinium elatum is a species of flowering plant in the buttercup family Ranunculaceae. It is commonly known as Candle Larkspur due to its tall spikes of flowers that resemble candles.

The specific cultivar we are discussing in this article is ‘Million Dollar Sky’, which refers to its striking sky-blue color.

Description of the Plant

Appearance

Delphinium elatum ‘Million Dollar Sky’ grows up to 5 feet tall and 2-3 feet wide. Its long, slender stems are lined with palmate leaves, which are lobed and resemble a hand with fingers.

In early summer, it produces tall spikes of sky-blue flowers that bloom from the bottom up. Each flower has five petals and a spur that protrudes from the back.

Blooming Habits

‘Candle Larkspur’ blooms in early summer, typically in June or July. The flowers bloom on tall spikes that can grow up to 5 feet tall, creating an impressive display in the garden.

After blooming, the flowers may be cut back to promote new growth and potentially a second blooming period in late summer or early fall.

Benefits to Wildlife

As a member of the buttercup family, Delphinium elatum is an important source of nectar for pollinators such as bees and butterflies. It is also a host plant for the larvae of the Celastrina ladon (Spring Azure) butterfly.

Plant Cultivation and Care

Preferred Growing Conditions

‘Candle Larkspur’ prefers to grow in moist, well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade. It is important to ensure that the soil does not become waterlogged, as this can cause root rot.

In areas with hot and dry summers, it may benefit from some afternoon shade to prevent wilting. It is hardy in USDA zones 3-7.

Potential Pest and Disease Issues

Delphinium elatum is susceptible to several pest and disease issues, including aphids, slugs, snails, and powdery mildew. To prevent these issues, it is important to maintain good garden hygiene, keep the foliage dry, and avoid overcrowding.

Planting and Maintenance Tips

To plant ‘Candle Larkspur’, dig a hole that is twice the size of the plant’s root ball and incorporate compost into the soil. Plant the Delphinium elatum at the same depth it was growing in the nursery container and water thoroughly.

Mulch around the plant to keep the soil moist and suppress weeds. When it comes to maintenance, it is important to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged.

Delphinium elatum also benefits from regular fertilization, especially in early spring when new growth begins. Deadheading spent flowers can also promote new growth and potentially a second blooming period.

In conclusion, Delphinium elatum ‘Million Dollar Sky’ is a stunning addition to any garden with its tall spikes of sky-blue flowers. While it may require some care and maintenance, the payoff is well worth it for the visual impact it provides.

By following the planting and maintenance tips mentioned in this article, you can ensure the longevity and health of your Candle Larkspur plant.

3) Plant Propagation Methods

Delphinium elatum ‘Million Dollar Sky’ can be propagated using both sexual and asexual reproduction methods.

Sexual Method – Seed

Propagation by seed is a common method for Delphinium elatum ‘Million Dollar Sky’. To propagate this plant by seed, collect the seeds when the flower spikes have turned brown and cut them carefully.

Store the seeds in a dry and cool location until it is time to plant them in the spring. Before planting the seeds, it is advisable to soak them overnight to increase their germination rate.

Plant the seeds in a well-draining soil mix and keep the soil moist until the seedlings emerge a few weeks later. Seedlings are usually ready to be planted in pots or in the garden after the last frost in spring.

Asexual Method – Division

Another way to propagate Delphinium elatum ‘Million Dollar Sky’ asexually is by dividing an established plant. The best time to divide the plant is in the spring, before the blooming period begins.

To divide the plant, carefully lift it out of the soil, and gently separate the clump into smaller sections, making sure that each section has some roots attached. Replant the divisions in well-draining soil and water them well until they have established roots.

4) Plant Adaptations to Different Environments

Delphinium elatum ‘Million Dollar Sky’ is well adapted to a variety of environments. Here are some of the adaptations that this plant has developed:

Drought Resistance

‘Candle Larkspur’ is well adapted to areas with low rainfall or hot and dry summers. It has deep roots that can access water from deeper soil layers, reducing its dependence on surface-level moisture.

It also has a waxy coating on its leaves that helps reduce water loss through transpiration.

Cold Tolerance

Delphinium elatum ‘Million Dollar Sky’ is a cold-hardy plant that can survive temperatures down to -20F. It has adapted to these low temperatures by producing a natural antifreeze, which protects its cells from freezing and bursting.

It also goes dormant during the winter months, conserving its energy and resources until spring.

Wind Resistance

‘Candle Larkspur’ is often found growing in open meadows or exposed hillsides, making it susceptible to damage from strong winds. To overcome this, the plant has evolved to have a strong and sturdy stem that can hold up the tall, heavy flower spikes.

The palmate leaves of Delphinium elatum also help reduce wind drag, allowing the plant to withstand strong gusts.

Insect Repellent

Delphinium elatum ‘Million Dollar Sky’ produces several secondary metabolites that make it unpalatable to most herbivores. These compounds are toxic to insects such as caterpillars and aphids, reducing the risk of damage from these pests.

It is important to note that some insects, such as bees and butterflies, are attracted to the flowers and may still visit them for nectar. In conclusion, Delphinium elatum ‘Million Dollar Sky’ is an impressively adapted plant that has thrived in a variety of environments.

Its drought resistance, cold tolerance, wind resistance, and insect repellent properties make it a resilient and valuable addition to almost any landscape. With proper propagation methods and an understanding of its adaptations to different environments, ‘Candle Larkspur’ can be a stunning and low-maintenance plant for years to come.

5) Usage of the Plant in Indoor Setting

Delphinium elatum ‘Million Dollar Sky’ is primarily an outdoor plant but can be grown indoors if enough sunlight is available. It is important to note that indoor conditions may not be suitable for optimal growth and blooming.

Light Requirements

‘Candle Larkspur’ requires full sun exposure for optimal growth and blooming. If grown indoors, it should be placed in a location that receives at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight every day.

South, west, or east-facing windows are the best options for this plant.

Temperature and Humidity

Delphinium elatum ‘Million Dollar Sky’ prefers cool temperatures ranging between 50F to 70F. This plant does not require high humidity, which makes it a good option for indoor growth.

However, dry indoor conditions may require occasional misting of the plant to increase the moisture content in the air.

Soil Requirements

Indoor plants require well-draining, fertile soil with a pH range between 6.0 to 7.0. Regular potting soil with a good mix of organic matter is a good option for Delphinium elatum ‘Million Dollar Sky’.

Fertilization

Indoor plants require regular fertilization to provide them with essential nutrients for optimal growth. Fertilize ‘Candle Larkspur’ once every two to four weeks with a balanced fertilizer formula during the growing season.

6) Usage of the Plant in Outdoor Setting

Delphinium elatum ‘Million Dollar Sky’ is primarily an outdoor plant that is well suited for garden beds, borders, and cottage gardens.

Companion Planting

‘Candle Larkspur’ can be planted with other summer-blooming perennials such as coneflowers, black-eyed Susans, and Shasta daisies, which provide an attractive complement to the plant’s tall spikes of blue flowers. Additionally, combining this plant with other shade-tolerant plant species such as ferns, hostas, and astilbes, can give an attractive mix of blooming and foliage plants.

Soil Requirements

Delphinium elatum prefers well-draining soil with a pH range between 6.0 to 7.0. Organic-rich and fertile soil is best for the optimal growth of this plant.

Watering

‘Candle Larkspur’ requires regular watering to keep soil moist to the touch. In dry conditions, adding a layer of mulch around the plant can help to conserve water in the soil.

Fertilization

‘Candle Larkspur’ benefits from regular fertilization with a balanced fertilizer formula during the growing season to promote healthy foliage growth and abundant blooms.

Pruning and Deadheading

Deadheading spent blooms can encourage the plant to produce additional flowers throughout the blooming period. Cutting off the spent flower spike promotes new stem growth and increases the chances of reblooming.

In conclusion, Delphinium elatum ‘Million Dollar Sky’ is a versatile and adaptable plant that can be grown both indoors and outdoors. Its light, soil, and temperature requirements vary according to the growth environment, and to obtain optimal growth and blooming results, careful consideration of these conditions is necessary.

Whether used in indoor or outdoor settings, ‘Candle Larkspur’ can make a striking and beautiful addition to any garden. 7) Toxicity of the Plant to Pets and Horses, Humans

Delphinium elatum ‘Million Dollar Sky’ is a beautiful and striking plant that adds to the aesthetic beauty of a garden.

However, it is essential to note that this plant can be toxic to both humans and animals if ingested in large quantities.

Toxicity to Humans

The alkaloids found in the Delphinium genus are toxic to humans, and every part of the plant is poisonous if ingested in large quantities. Symptoms of poisoning include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and in severe cases, cardiac arrhythmias, seizures, and respiratory failure.

It is advisable to keep these plants out of reach of small children.

Toxicity to Pets and Horses

Delphinium elatum ‘Million Dollar Sky’ is highly toxic to cats, dogs, horses, and other livestock. The toxicity results from a group of naturally occurring chemicals in the plant called diterpenoid alkaloids.

Ingesting any part of the plant can result in symptoms such as drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, cardiac failure, and respiratory failure. In severe cases, death may occur.

Pet owners should keep their animals away from Delphinium elatum ‘Million Dollar Sky.’ If pets do ingest any part of the plant, immediate medical attention should be provided by a veterinarian. Additionally, livestock owners should ensure that pastures with these plants are fenced off or eradicated entirely.

In conclusion, Delphinium elatum ‘Million Dollar Sky’ is a beautiful plant that can contribute to the aesthetic beauty of a garden. However, it is essential to keep the poisonous nature of the plant in mind, and proper measures should be taken to prevent accidental ingestion by both humans and animals.

With proper care, ‘Candle Larkspur’ can be enjoyed safely and without any harmful consequences in your garden. In conclusion, Delphinium elatum ‘Million Dollar Sky’ is a visually stunning and adaptable plant that brings beauty to any outdoor setting, but can also be grown indoors if enough sunlight is available.

It is important to follow proper planting, care, and maintenance techniques to ensure the longevity and health of the plant. Additionally, while beautiful, it is essential to be aware of its poisonous nature and take precautions to prevent accidental ingestion by people and pets.

With these considerations in mind, ‘Candle Larkspur’ can be a valuable and beautiful addition to almost any garden.

FAQs:

Q: What is the best growing condition for Delphinium elatum ‘Million Dollar Sky’?

A: The plant prefers well-draining, fertile soil, and full sun to partial shade, but may require some afternoon shade in areas with hot and dry summers. Q: Is Delphinium elatum ‘Million Dollar Sky’ drought resistant?

A: Yes, the plant is drought-resistant and can access water from deeper soil layers due to its deep roots. Q: How can I propagate Delphinium elatum ‘Million Dollar Sky’?

A: The plant can be propagated by seed or division methods. Q: Is Delphinium elatum ‘Million Dollar Sky’ toxic to pets and humans?

A: Yes, every part of the plant is poisonous if ingested in large quantities and may cause severe symptoms.

Q: Can Delphinium elatum ‘Million Dollar Sky’ be grown indoors?

A: While primarily an outdoor plant, it can be grown indoors if enough sunlight is available, but may not flourish in indoor conditions.

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