blossom-encircled flower spikes add linear beauty to gardeny and
Larkspurs were, in the past, classified as a species in the genus
Delphinium, but today they constitute a genus of their own,
Like Delphiniums, larkspurs are members of the
Ranunculaceae (buttercup/crowfoot) family and are closely
related to Aconitum (monkshood), Anemone, Aquilegia
(columbine), Clematis, Helleborus, Nigella, Ranunculus
(buttercup) and, of course, Delphinium.
Larkspur florets, which are often doubles, are about 1/2 inch wide;
are cup-shaped, with a nectar spur at the back (giving rise to the
common name “larkspur”); and occur on short stems in spike-shaped
clusters. As cut flowers, stems range from about 2 to 3 feet long
and are frequently branched. Foliage is delicate, feathery and
Larkspurs’ natural hues include white, light pink, dark pink, lilac,
lavender and purple.
spring, summer and
These flowers are available year-round from a combination of
domestic and foreign growers; however, supplies are greatest from
May through September.
Purchase larkspurs that have two to four blossoms open per stem.
Avoid those that show signs of petal drop, especially on the lower
portion of the bloom spikes; bruising; mold; or discolored (gray or
yellow) foliage. Also, inspect the stems for thickness, sturdiness
and broken tips.
five and dime
Larkspurs are packaged in bunches of five or 10 stems. Check stem
counts to ensure value and to be certain you have enough product
when specific quantities are needed.
issues with ethyl
Larkspurs are highly sensitive to ethylene gas, which causes rapid
flower shattering, so make sure your purchases are treated with an
ethylene inhibitor at the grower level or during shipping. In
addition, keep them away from sources of ethylene in your shop such
as decaying flowers and foliage, automobile exhaust, tobacco smoke
Unpack larkspurs immediately upon arrival in your store, and check
flower quality. Next, remove lower foliage that will fall below the
water line, 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 flower-food solution.
Immediately after processing larkspurs, 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 or delivered.
Check water level in containers daily, and add flower-food solution
as needed. Change the vase water and recut the stems every other day
or so, to ensure effective water uptake. Remove flowers and foliage
as they fade.
facts of life
Larkspurs should last four to 12 days at the consumer level,
depending on variety, care and stage of maturity at the time of
splint broken stems
If a stem becomes bent or collapses, insert a wire or chenille stem
to repair it. No wilting will occur if a stem has not been punctured
high and dry
Larkspurs can be air dried by hanging them upside down in a
well-ventilated area at 70 F to 80 F for two to four weeks. To
soften dried larkspurs and reduce breakage, place them into a floral
refrigerator for 24 hours before designing with them.
Larkspurs can be toxic to humans and animals. Contact can cause skin
irritation, and ingestion can cause inflammation of the mouth, lips
and tongue followed by numbness as well as stomach disorders.
Communicate this to buyers with small children and pets.
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