The delphiniums are a glory of the summer border with their tall spires of blue, white or pink flowers. However not all delphiniums are so grand although they are still very beautiful.
Many of the species are very light and airy with blue, yellow or red flowers dancing in a cloud rather than a spire. It is the big ones that catch most people’s attention. These can either be grown in border situations or grown separately as exhibition blooms. There are a great number of varieties available, many with just subtle variations of colour from the predominant blue and mauve.
On the whole they are not difficult to grow as long as slugs are kept at bay from their luscious stems and they are staked with canes to prevent the wind breaking them. They prefer a moist, rich soil and a sunny situation.
Most of the larger varieties are perennial and are propagated from basal shoots in the spring. The smaller species can be perennial or annual. Many of the perennials are short lived and are best grown afresh each year. They can be propagated from seed, preferably sown while still fresh, in the late summer or autumn.