Monday, July 19, 2010

Delphinium - Fast Track Flowering

To the house from the clothes-line
As a breeder of delphiniums and producer of seed I often receive mail either directly or via mail lists, groups etc; from people wanting advice on aspects of growing these wonderful flowers. By way of adding interest, perhaps helping a few folk out and (no doubt at all) causing a little controversy from time to time, I will be posting some of the advice given into this blog. If you disagree I invite you to post a comment about it. Disagreement promotes discovery!

And yes, I do grow delphiniums in my garden. And no, you can't see any right now.

There have been a couple of questions in the past few days about how to get delphiniums to flower a second time in the season. I referred to this briefly on our Dowdeswell's Delphiniums Facebook page and am posting a fuller comment below:

Diamonds Forever 
The Question
ok so now that my delphiniums are done blooming and have seedpods on them should i cut  them down to a couple inches above soil level to let them regrow and bloom again in the fall should I fertilize them with dried cow poop also to get them growing again
any advice would be helpful.

The Answer

The most reliable way to get a second flowering from you delphiniums, provided your are not bothered about saving seed, is to cut them back early, say just after the best of the flowering is passed. The key is to get more light into the base of the plant and to remove the older stalks and leaves which are taking energy from new growth (rather than sustaining it). This is fully understood by delphinium cut flower growers who cut the stems right back to the ground as they harvest the half open flower spikes. It really works.
Just a lonely little Mammilaria in an Alyssum patch
Another good thing you can do is to commence feeding again as the flowers pass their best. This also promotes new growth. The combination of extra feed and more light boosts the growth of new stems tremendously. I strongly suggest feeding well and cutting right down to the ground asap.

Naturally, where you are in the world also influences how many flushes of flower spikes your beautiful delphiniums will produce for you. Here, in upside-down New Zealand, I can confidently expect three flushes if I use the method outline above.

You will find much more information on growing delphiniums here

Why not become a follower of our Facebook page about delphiniums?

Yes, Alcea in mid-winter

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