Do delphiniums bloom first year from seed?

Answered by Cody Janus

Delphiniums, also known as Larkspurs, are beautiful and vibrant flowering plants that can add a touch of elegance to any garden. While they can be grown from seed, it is important to note that getting them to bloom in the first year can be quite challenging.

To start delphiniums from seed, it is best to begin the process indoors early in the year. This allows for a longer growing season and gives the plants a better chance of blooming in their first year. Sow the seeds in trays or pots filled with a good quality seed-starting mix. It is important to lightly press the seeds into the soil and cover them with a thin layer of the mix, as delphinium seeds require light for germination.

After sowing the seeds, keep the trays or pots in a warm and well-lit area, such as a sunny windowsill or under fluorescent grow lights. Maintaining a consistent temperature between 60-65°F (15-18°C) can help with successful germination. It is also essential to keep the soil moist but not overly wet during this time.

Germination typically takes around two to three weeks, but it can vary depending on the conditions. Once the seedlings have emerged, it is important to provide them with adequate light to prevent them from becoming leggy. If you notice the seedlings stretching towards the light, consider placing them closer to a light source or using supplemental grow lights.

As the seedlings grow, it is crucial to thin them out to ensure proper spacing. This will allow each plant to receive enough nutrients and sunlight for healthy growth. Transplant the seedlings into individual pots when they have developed their second set of true leaves.

When the weather warms up and there is no longer a risk of frost, you can consider transplanting the delphinium seedlings outdoors. Choose a location with well-draining soil and full sun exposure for optimal growth. Delphiniums prefer fertile soil, so incorporating organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure can be beneficial.

If you decide to sow delphinium seeds directly in the ground, it is important to note that these plants will not flower until the following year. The seeds will still need to go through a period of dormancy and undergo natural stratification, which is the exposure to cold temperatures, to break their dormancy and trigger germination. This process typically takes several weeks to a few months, depending on the specific delphinium variety.

While delphiniums can be grown from seed, achieving blooms in the first year can be challenging. Starting the seeds indoors early in the year and providing them with optimal growing conditions will increase the chances of flowering in the first year. However, if seeds are sown directly in the ground, it is important to be patient as the plants will not bloom until the following year due to the need for natural stratification.