Nature’s true blue
blooms provide design options that few other flowers can.
it’s all relative. There are approximately
250 species in the Delphinium (del-FIN-ee-um) genus, but there are
three main hybrid groups that are grown as cut flowers:
Each of these hybrids is a
cross between D. elatum and one or more other species.
what about larkspurs?
In the past, botanists
included larkspurs in the Delphinium genus, but today larkspurs are
classified in a separate genus, Consolida (con-SAW-li-da).
family tree. Both the Delphinium and
Consolida genera are members of the Ranunculaceae
(buttercup/crowfoot) family and are closely re-lated to Aconitum
(monkshood), Anemone, Aquilegia (columbine), Clematis, Helleborus,
Nigella and Ranunculus (buttercup).
12-month supplies. Hybrid Delphiniums are
available year-round from a combination of domestic and Dutch
suppliers; however, supplies are highest from May through October.
out of the blue. All of these Delphinium
hybrids are available in a range of blues, from light to dark (they
are among nature’s few true blue flowers). Belladonna Delphiniums
also come in white while Pacific Hybrid and Elatum Delphiniums also
are available in white, cream, mauve, lavender and purple, with
white, brown or black centers (eyes).
flowers and stems. Belladonna Delphiniums
are generally single flowered and have branched stems as tall as 3
feet. Pacific Hybrid and Elatum Delphinium varieties have either
single or double blooms, and stems are nonbranched and as tall as 5
physical examination. At least one or two
flowers per stem should be fully open at the time of purchase. Look
for signs of petal drop, especially on the lower portion of the
bloom spikes; bruising; mold; or discolored foliage. Also, inspect
the stems for thickness, sturdiness and broken tips.
five and dime. Delphiniums are packaged
in bunches of five or 10 stems, depending on type and grower. Check
stem counts to ensure value and to make sure you have enough when
specific quantities are needed.
issues with ethyl. Delphiniums are
extremely sensitive to ethylene gas, which causes rapid premature
petal drop, so make sure your purchases are treated with an ethylene
inhibitor at the grower level or during shipping.
health care. Unpack Delphiniums
immediately upon arrival in your store, and check flower quality.
Next, remove lower foliage that will fall below the water line in a
container, and rinse stems to remove dirt and debris. Then, recut
stems with a clean, sharp blade, removing at least 1 inch of stem.
Immediately after cutting, dip or place the stems into a hydration
solution, to help the flowers take up water more quickly, then place
them into a sterile storage container partially filled with properly
prepared nutrient solution.
cool down. Immediately after
processing Delphiniums, place them into a floral cooler at 33 F to
35 F for at least two hours before arranging or selling them. Except
for design time, keep these flowers refrigerated until they’re sold
callous behavior. Delphinium stems tend to
callous over quickly, so recut them daily to maximize water uptake.
Change the nutrient solution and wash containers every other day.
facts of life. Delphiniums will last
for four to 12 days at the consumer level, depending on hybrid and
variety, care, environmental conditions and stage of maturity at the
time of sale.
splint broken stems. Delphinium stems tend to
be fragile. If a stem becomes bent or collapses, insert a wire or
stake into the stem (depending on the diameter of the stem) to
repair the problem. No wilting will occur if a stem has not been
punctured or severed.
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