How to Plant and Grow Larkspur

Add this classic annual to your garden for spectacular cut flowers.

Larkspur
Photo:

BHG / Evgeniya Vlasova

Larkspur (Consolida ajacis) is a classic cottage garden staple that produces great cut flowers. With airy stalks of blue blossoms, this plant adds a gracefulness to any garden and looks good in masses or mixed with other perennials and annuals. A true annual, larkspur is easy to start from seed and will happily reseed itself in the garden year after year.

With blooms coming in beautiful shades of sky to navy blue, it's easy to see why larkspur is a classic. Blue is a hard-to-find color in the flower world, and larkspur has it in spades, along with other colors. The plant is available in single and double varieties, some of which have so many petals, they have a pom-pom appearance.

The foliage of larkspur is a great addition to the plant (and the garden!). Light, airy foliage lends a soft fern-like effect. It also helps plants blend in the garden, making larkspur extremely versatile when paired with other plants.

The leaves, flowers, and seeds of larkspur are toxic if ingested, so plant them away from children and animals.

Larkspur Overview

Genus Name Consolida ajacis
Common Name Larkspur
Plant Type Annual
Light Part Sun, Sun
Height 1 to 3 feet
Width 6 to 18 inches
Flower Color Blue, Pink, Purple, Red, White
Foliage Color Blue/Green
Season Features Spring Bloom, Summer Bloom
Special Features Cut Flowers, Good for Containers, Low Maintenance
Propagation Seed
Problem Solvers Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant

Where to Plant Larkspur

Larkspur is an annual that grows in USDA Hardiness Zones 2–11. It does best in sunny garden beds and borders, and in optimum conditions, it can self-seed in the garden.

How and When to Plant Larkspur

Larkspurs are extremely unfussy plants and grow easily from seed. In southern climates, you can sow seeds directly in the ground in the fall. In more northern climates, sow seeds in early spring.

Larkspur Care Tips

Light

For the best blooms, plant larkspur in full sun. Although plants can handle a small amount of shade, they are likely to flop and require stakes. You can prevent this by planting larkspur near tall neighbors to act as a support system, by sowing plants densely, or by planting them along a wall or structure.

Soil and Water

When planting larkspur, make sure you choose well-drained soil. Larkspur doesn't like to stay wet for long periods, but it does need consistent moisture. Be sure that plants stay evenly moist, especially when flowering. If they remain too dry for too long, plants can become stunted and have poor bud set, so you may miss out on blooms.

Temperature and Humidity

Because they are cool-season annuals, the plants will begin to turn brown and die in the humid summers of the South. Plants can last longer into the summer in the North before the weather gets too warm.

Pests and Problems

Larkspur is relatively insect and disease free. Because all parts of the plant are toxic, it is rare for any animals to eat it, although some instances of cattle-poisoning have occurred.

Types of Larkspur

Larkspur 'Cloudy Skies Mix'

'Cloudy Skies' larkspur

BHG / Evgeniya Vlasova

Consolida 'Cloudy Skies Mix' bears blooms in shades of purple, blue, white, and silver on 3-foot-tall plants.

Larkspur 'Imperial Strain Mix'

purple-and-pink-imperial-larkspur-3f25097b
Mike Jensen

Consolida 'Imperial Strain Mix' bears stately spikes in shades of pink, rose, blue, purple, or white on strong 4-foot stems.

Larkspur 'Sublime Mix'

sublime larkspur

BHG / Evgeniya Vlasova

Consolida 'Sublime Mix' bears flower-packed spikes in a variety of shades on 4-foot stems.

Larkspur Companion Plants

Cosmos

pink larkspur cosmos

BHG / Evgeniya Vlasova

You can depend on cosmos to fill your garden with color all season long. The simple, daisylike flowers appear in cheery shades on tall stems that are great for cutting. The lacy foliage makes a pretty backdrop for shorter plants. Cosmos is an annual that often self-seeds in the garden, so you may only have to plant it once, though the colors can appear muddy after reseeding.

Snapdragon

snapdragon larkspur

BHG / Evgeniya Vlasova

Few gardens should be without the easy charm of snapdragons. They get their name from the fact that you can gently squeeze the sides of the intricately shaped flower and see the jaws of a dragon head snap closed. The blooms come in gorgeous colors, including some with beautiful color variations on each flower. Snapdragons are an outstanding cut flower. Snapdragons are especially useful because they are a cool-season annual, coming into their own in early spring when the warm-season annuals, such as marigolds and impatiens, are just being planted. They're also great for fall color. Snapdragons often self-seed if not deadheaded, so they come back year after year. In mild regions, the entire plant may overwinter if covered with mulch.

Marguerite Daisy

Marguerite Daisy larkspur

BHG / Evgeniya Vlasova

Plant marguerite daisy for a spectacular show during cool weather. Often confused with Shasta daisy, marguerite is more mounded and shrubby. Bloom colors include pink, white, and a purple that resembles purple coneflower. Marguerite daisy's hallmark is that it loves cool weather, blooming best in most areas in spring and fall, though it will continue to bloom through the summer in mild-summer areas. Even when it's not in bloom, the dark green, finely cut foliage looks good against just about any light-color flower.

Garden Plans for Larkspur

Summer Cottage Garden Plan

Illustration of colorful flower garden
Illustration by Mavis Augustine Torke

Stately delphiniums are the backbone of this colorful cottage garden plan.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is larkspur the same as delphinium? They look alike.

    A very close relative of larkspur, delphinium looks almost identical in many aspects, but a few differences set these two plants apart. Delphinium tends to be a perennial species, whereas larkspur is an annual. The foliage of larkspur is finer textured than delphinium. When it comes to blooms, delphinium flowers are densely born on spikes, while individual blossoms tend to be much larger than larkspur. With those few exceptions, general plant care and maintenance are basically the same.

  • Does larkspur attract pollinators?

    The blooms of the plant attract bees—especially bumblebees—and hummingbirds. Bees are larkspur's primary pollinators. Butterflies and other insects are attracted to the plant as well, but they aren't as efficient at pollination.

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