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Delphinium or Speronella
The Delphinium are perennial or annual plants, the species are many, some hundreds, spread a little throughout the northern hemisphere and in Africa; in the garden they are cultivated mainly of hybrids, the annual ones are related to Delphinium ajacis, while the perennial varieties are generally crossed with Delphinium alpinum, a species widespread in nature also in Italy.
They produce a dense tuft of large, finely divided leaves, or very elegant palm-shaped, bright green; starting from late spring, until the end of summer, a thin stem rises between the leaves which at the apex bears numerous broad flowers, generally of blue or pink color, intensely colored, very beautiful and elegant, also used as cut flowers. A single plant sometimes has more spikes, and the flowering is quite long.
They are often grown in pots, or in large flower beds; generally if placed in the ground in the garden, i delphinium they appear more striking when planted in a certain number of specimens.
There are many hybrids, as well as colors, generally always in shades of blue or lilac, there are also varieties with a white flower, or with double and double flowers.
They are typical Mediterranean garden plants, they like a slightly calcareous soil, even stony and dry, in a sunny place; generally the delphiniums are sown directly at home, because the root system tends not to love being moved or handled.
They are annual plants, but the seeds do not particularly fear the cold, and in general the sowing in late winter tends not to guarantee a good flowering in the new plants; therefore they are generally sown directly in the autumn, when the summer heat has given way to a more humid and cooler climate. Indeed i delphinium annuals often tend to autoseminarsi, and although they are plants that dry up completely in the cold, the following year we will find new seedlings in the flowerbed, generated from the seeds of the previous year.
If we fear that in the area in which we live the winter climate is too harsh we sow the annual delphinium in autumn in small pots, which we will keep in a cool place sheltered from frost: in spring we will place the plants in the ground, taking care to keep the bread intact of earth that is found around the roots.
The plants of Larkspur they are not very demanding, they may need watering in the event of prolonged drought, but generally they are satisfied with the water supplied naturally from the weather; we are going to water in particular the young seedlings, in the case in which the spring is particularly drought.
These are plants suitable for slightly shaded beds, not in very hot places; they are planted in autumn or at the end of winter, in a good rich and fertile soil, well drained, but which remains fairly fresh and humid.
They do not like shade, but if we live in an area with hot and dry summers it is advisable to put the perennial Delphinium in a place in the garden sheltered from the hot wind and the burning sun in the hottest hours of the day.
During the cold months the species of Larkspur they completely lose the aerial part, and do not fear frost, as the roots are not affected by the harsh climate; as soon as in spring we see the first leaves sprout, the waterings will become regular, so as to maintain a fairly moist and fresh soil, but waiting for it to dry perfectly between one watering and another.
The perennial delphinium do not like drought, especially if prolonged and particular attention to humidity should be made during the flowering period, which in case of dry climate will become scarce.
Also the perennial delphinium can be sown, in order to propagate them in general it is preferred, in autumn, to divide the clumps of roots, thus producing new plants; the practice of division also allows to maintain over time a beautiful and luxuriant plant, in fact with the passage of time the delphinium left completely undisturbed tend to produce less and less flowers.
The crabs, both annual and perennial, produce plants of considerable size, about 35-45 cm wide, but with floral spikes that can easily reach and exceed one meter in height; they are plants suitable for large pots, or a garden of good size in the garden.
In general, they are placed at the bottom of perennial or annual flowerbeds, to serve as background to smaller plants; along with the Delphinium, can be placed aquilegia, verbena bonariensis, belladonna, all plants of similar shape, which produce a small bush of leaves, dominated by floral stems.
If we have a small corner to fill in the garden, these plants are definitely not suitable.
Together with the plants mentioned above, the delphinium find their place in the gardens of the English cottages, because they tend to have a natural and wild aspect, even when it is decided to plant the varieties with larger and showy flowers.