Delphinium barbeyi (Subalpine Larkspur)

Scientific Name

Delphinium barbeyi (Huth) Huth

Common Names

Subalpine Larkspur, Tall Larkspur, Barbey's Larkspur

Synonyms

Delphinium exaltatum var. barbeyi, Delphinium attentuatum, Delphinium cockerellii, Delphinium exaltatum subsp. barbeyi, Delphinium occidentale var. barbeyi, Delphinium subalpinum

Scientific Classification

Family: Ranunculaceae
Subfamily: Ranunculoideae
Tribe: Delphinieae
Genus: Delphinium

Flower

Color: Dark purple-blue
Bloom Time: Summer

Description

Delphinium barbeyi is a long-lived perennial herb that grows up to 5 feet (1.5 m) tall. Leaves line the stem but disappear from the lowest part of the stem by the time the plant blooms. They are somewhat rounded in outline and are divided into several lobes. The tall inflorescence bears up to 50 flowers at a time, but a plant may produce hundreds of flowers. Each is borne on an up to 2.4 inches (6 cm) long pedicel. Flowers have five dark purple-blue sepals with whitish or yellowish hairs inside. Fruits are an up to 0.9 inches (2.2 cm) long follicle.

Delphinium barbeyi - Subalpine Larkspur
Photo via wildflowerswest.org

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zone 5b to 7b: from −15 °F (−26.1 °C) to 10 °F (−12.2 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Grow Delphiniums in a sunny area with soil that is consistently moist. Don't let them dry out. Mulch helps retain moisture and keeps roots cool. The performance of this specimen is enhanced when growing Delphinium plants in neutral to slightly alkaline soil pH. Soil should be well-draining.

Care of Delphinium should include regular fertilization in spring when the plant begins to grow and during the flowering period. Work in well-composted organic material such as rotted cow manure, or use a basic 10-10-10 granular fertilizer. Yellowing foliage or stunted growth often indicates the plant needs more fertilizer.

Sun exposure is another aspect of Delphinium's care that the gardener must get right for the showy blooms to appear. Gentle morning sun is preferable to the Delphiniums, which are picky about extreme differences in temperatures. Provide afternoon shade, especially when planted in hotter zones. See more at How to Grow and Care for Delphinium Plants.

Origin

Native to the interior western United States occurs in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.

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