Larkspur is a popular flower beloved for its beautiful cluster blossoms in white to violet to blue or pink that emerge during the spring.
As the birth flower for July, this complex plant has multiple symbolisms and a deadly trait. The Larkspur flower meaning is fickleness, but it can also symbolize love, an open heart, a personal attachment to another person, and positivity.
The height of the Larkspur can vary from one to six feet.
About the Larkspur Flower
The Delphinium Consolida is part of the Ranunculaceae family, closely related to the buttercup. There are three groups – tall (Barbeyi or Occidentale), low (nelsonii), or plains (geyeri). Where each flower grows, and its size determines the classification.
Tall Larkspur features a blue-spurred flower that resembles a garden delphinium. It has deep lobed broad leaves and a hollow stem. Tall Larkspur is perennial flowers that grow in meadows and hillsides at elevations higher than 7000 feet and reach heights of three to six feet.
Low Larkspur only reaches two feet and grows in sagebrush and grassy hillsides in lower or higher elevations. The spurred blue flowers rest at the top ⅓ of the single, unbranched hollow stem with deep, narrow lobed alternate leaves.
Two variations of the Larkspur are common for ornamentals, and cut flowers are ambigua and Orientalis. And Yellow Larkspur and Baker’s Larkspur are two species native to California that classify as endangered species.
The Larkspur once fell into the genus classification Delphinium – translated to dolphin – due to the flower petal’s resemblance to the sea animal.
But scientists have since changed this classification to the Consolida genus, consisting of over 250 perennial, biennial, and annual species.
Originating in the Mediterranean, the Larkspur flower came to Britain in the middle of the 1500s. It’s believed the name originated in England, as the flower spread rampantly through Europe. It hit America in 1572, becoming widely popular as a garden flower by the 1700s.
Native Americans used Larkspur to chase away insects and make dyes. And when warriors went off to battle, Larkspur petals were an ingredient used in protection spells.
Crushed Larkspur seeds were also used to treat body lice while making a poultice – paste – from the plant worked as a treatment for open wounds and hemorrhoids.
How to Grow Larkspurs
Most Larkspurs start with seeds rather than plants. But growing Larkspurs from seed is complex due to the seeds being toxic. However, once the seeds emerge into plants, they do not require much effort.
Before you can plant Larkspur, the seeds must experience a cold spell. An easy way to prepare your seeds for germination is to put them in a Ziplock bag filled with perlite and store them in your refrigerator for two weeks before planting.
It can take up to three weeks for the seeds to germinate – if the temperature stays below 64℉ (18℃). After that, the seeds need regular waterings, although not submerged or overwatered. After the roots appear, you can transplant the sprouts.
Before you plant Larkspur, ensure proper drainage allows the soil to stay continually damp and in direct sunlight.
Plant seeds in clusters of five to seven spaced six to eight inches apart and level with the soil surface. Then after you fill the hole with dirt, gently firm it and give a deep watering.
How to Care for Larkspurs
It may be necessary to add support to the flowers once they grow due to being top-heavy. Also, during forecasts of high winds, you may want to protect the flowers to prevent damage.
Every spring, you’ll need to treat your Larkspur beds with a thin layer of compost. Then you need to top that with a layer of two-inch mulch that keeps your beds moist and reduces weed growth.
In summers, when there is less than 1” of rain a week, you’ll need to water your plants to prevent drying out, which is extremely harmful to your plants.
Larkspurs self-sow, meaning they drop their seeds, burrowing them into the ground and growing without being planted. Your Larkspurs should return each year, although you’ll want to use care to prevent too many from growing and taking over your garden.
It’s best to cut down all but a few plants once the growing season ends and all of the flowers turn brown. And every three to four years, divide the new growths by lifting clumps of plants to thin the beds out.
Deadhead all spent flowers once they die to let new blooms grow. And after the first frost kills off the plants, cut the stems down to one to two inches above the soil line.
What to Plant With Larkspur Flowers
The height potential of Larkspur makes these flowers a popular choice for growing along fences or staked down. However, you can also use other tall plants to provide structure and support.
Numerous species of flowers can create a powerful landscape when planted with Larkspurs, like:
- Blazing star
- Joe Pye weed
- Tall grasses
Are Larkspur Flowers Poisonous?
There’s a saying that beauty kills, and unfortunately, it’s a true statement that describes the pretty Larkspur. When consumed by livestock, Larkspur is toxic and fatal. The toxicity comes from the plant’s seeds.
You should keep Larkspur seeds out of the reach of pets and children. And when growing the plant, consumption of any part in its young growth results in severe digestive distress. Even touching a young plant can cause extreme skin irritation. Remember to wash your hands after contact.
What Is the Larkspur Flower Meaning and Symbolism?
The Larkspur got its name due to the appearance of the flowers. The elongated petals resemble spurs – the hind claws – on a lark bird.
Larkspurs are old-fashioned flowers commonly chosen for expressing feelings of affection, strong attachment, and love.
You can also use these elegant flowers to represent a desire to set the scene for a lighthearted or humorous feel or to convey a pure heart.
Symbolism of a Larkspur Tattoo
Some people may choose to get a Larkspur tattoo because of the flower’s beauty. But this tattoo can also have important symbolism.
People born in July may choose a Larkspur tattoo to represent their birth month. It can also mean an open heart, attachment, lightness, or fun.
What Is the Cultural Significance of a Larkspur?
The Larkspur flower has significance in multiple cultures, including Ancient Greece, Native Americans, and Christianity.
Native American legends about Larkspur say that this flower got its name after a celestial spirit. This entity split the sky, raining down spikes made from the broken pieces. The sun caused the pieces to dry out and scatter, resulting in the Larkspur growing from these impact sites.
Christian beliefs say that Christ’s body was moved to a cave following his crucifixion. Here, a rabbit waited in the dark until Christ rose from the dead. As the rabbit celebrated Jesus’s return, Jesus presented the rabbit with Larkspur, which he gave the rabbit’s facial features.
Then Greek mythology tells the tale of two Greek heroes, Ajax and Ulysses. These two men fought over the arms of Achilles after he died. Ulysses received blessings to receive the arms, angering Ajax.
In an angered response, Ajax committed suicide with his sword. As the blood spilled to the ground, larkspur flowers appeared.
Larkspur Flower Meaning Based on Color
Flowers have meanings based on species and sometimes variation. But more than that, the color of the flower can have its own significance.
White is a peaceful, pure color that symbolizes happiness when used in a Larkspur.
Blue Larkspur carries the meaning of dignity and grace.
The most common representation for purple Larkspur is first love.
You can use pink Larkspur to convey indecisiveness or fickleness. Pink can also represent contrariness.
When to Give Someone a Larkspur Flower
There are many occasions when a Larkspur flower can make a fantastic gift. You can give this species as a present for a housewarming or celebrate a birthday. Larkspur is also common in floral arrangements and bouquets, and other species.
The tall radiant beauty of the Larkspur makes it a fantastic ornamental flower to add brilliant pops of color to your landscape. These flowers also make excellent cut arrangements, lasting around seven days in a vase. Multiple meanings and uses make Larkspur a versatile flower that you can gift for many occasions.