Delphiniums are not just your famed summer garden staple. Sure, these ornamentals bring colors to gardens and landscapes with their magnificent, tall flowering spikes. But on top of that, they also secure a spot as an extremely popular cut flower in floristry. Here we’ll take you through everything you need to know about Delphinium flower meaning and symbolism, their history and origins, uses and benefits, and best gifting occasions today.
- Delphinium Flower Meaning and Symbolism – The Essentials
- The Delphinium Flower
- History, Origins, and Cultural Significance
- Delphinium Flower Meaning
- Delphinium Flower Symbolism
- Delphinium Flower Colors and Meanings
- Planting Delphiniums
- Delphinium Flower Care Tips
Delphinium Flower Meaning and Symbolism – The Essentials
In the language of flowers, the Delphinium carries the symbolic meaning of joy, happiness, and goodwill. A delphinium flower also represents positive communication and interactions and has been utilized as a symbol to ward off evil spirits and negative energy for generations. The Delphinium flower is also the official birth flower for July.
The Delphinium Flower
Not every cut flower can work in all types of floral arrangements, although that’s not the case for delphiniums. They are versatile blooms commonly used as a vertical accent in floral arrangements and in cascading bouquets. Their long spikes of more or less 20 flowers present beautiful contrast not just in form but in color as well, especially when combined with other fresh flowers like roses, hydrangea, and lilies.
Delphiniums are herbaceous perennials known for their tall spikes of flowers. Although blue and purple delphiniums are commonly available, some varieties showcase pink, white, scarlet, or yellow flowers that are as attractive. Each flower has a prominent dolphin-like spur and small central flowers called bees or eyes.
The number of petals and sepals determines the form of a delphinium flower. It can be a single, semi-double, or double form delphinium.
Delphiniums are also classified depending on their hybrid group. Of many hybrids available for this famed ornamental, the most popular ones are part of the Elatum Group, Belladonna Group, Grandiflorum Group, Pacific Giants, and New Zealand Hybrids.
History, Origins, and Cultural Significance
Delphiniums are flowering plants native to the Northern hemisphere. As fascinating as their beautiful flower spikes are the name origins of delphiniums. It comes from the Greek word delphin (dolphin) because the flower’s spur resembles a dolphin’s back. They also played a role in Greek mythology, particularly since, according to a story, the flowers bloomed from the blood of Greek god Ajax during the Trojan War.
Delphiniums gained the name “Queen of the Border” since their tall flower spikes make excellent perennial borders in gardens and commercial landscapes. They are often confused with larkspur, the official birthday flower for July, because of their resemblance and “larkspur” being another known common name for delphiniums.
Delphiniums and larkspurs are both from the Buttercup family (Ranunculaceae) but different genera. Delphiniums (Delphiniums spp.) are short-lived perennials, while larkspurs (Consolida ambigua) are annuals. In terms of physical attributes, delphiniums have taller and more prominent flower spikes than larkspurs.
Delphinium Flower Meaning
You may think that delphiniums are pretty straightforward. Nevertheless, beyond the alluring façade and often blue or purple flowers that fill empty spaces in landscapes and cut flower arrangements, these ornamentals hold deep meanings and various symbolism.
But what does this famed ornamental from the buttercup family mean in the language of flowers?
Generally, delphinium flower meaning is associated with positive sentiment. They are the flowers suited for reaching and achieving goals, expanding options, and attracting exciting opportunities. Is anyone from your family and friends starting a new business venture? Then, delphiniums are the perfect flower to show support and wish good luck.
These flowers also mean celebrating even life’s little wins and focusing on the brighter side of life. With these meanings, it only makes sense that delphiniums are a suited flower gift to celebrate any occasion.
In a romantic sense, these blooms mean openness to new feelings and emotions. Thus, they are the ideal flower to express romance.
Back in the day, peasants used these flowers to drive away scorpions and as protection against scorpion stings. That part of delphinium’s history gave way to one of the flowers’ popular meanings – protection. The famed flower means protecting oneself from the dangers of life.
Delphinium Flower Symbolism
The delphinium is a broad genus with more or less 300 known species and countless hybrids with different flower colors, the associated symbolism can vary. Despite this, delphinium flowers, in general, share common symbolism. They represent lightness, joy, fun, and happiness.
A delphinium flower also represents positive communication and interactions. A part of a delphinium plant’s colorful history is that people used its flowers against evil spirits and negative things. It explains why another symbolism of this flower is protection. Also, since delphiniums are commonly available in a deep blue color, they have been used in commemoration of lost loved ones. As a result, delphiniums have become a symbol of remembrance.
Delphinium flowers further represent innocence and tenderness, which boils down to their delicate and sensitive nature. They are also a symbol of love as they allow people to express emotions. Giving a bouquet of delphiniums is one way to tell someone how you feel or express support, gratitude, or appreciation.
Delphinium Flower Colors and Meanings
In the language of flowers, the inherent meaning and symbolism of a particular plant can also vary based on the color of the flowers produced.
Blue Delphinium Flower Meaning
Blue flowers are actually not that common when you consider the wider spectrum of flower and plant life. For delphiniums, this hue is the most commonly available and highly in-demand both for cut flower and garden use.
In short, true blue delphinium flower meaning is generally associated with grace and dignity. In addition, lighter shades of blue represent youth and success. Other meanings of blue delphiniums include trust, new life, and remembrance. If you’re looking for the perfect flower gift to show support to someone important, then blue delphiniums are your one of your best options.
Purple Delphinium Flower Meaning
Purple delphiniums are secondary to blue ones in the popularity aspect. As with other purple cut flower meanings, this type of delphinium flower meaning represents beauty and royalty, which makes them an ideal flower gift for someone you adore and genuinely appreciate.
White Delphinium Flower Meaning
White flowers are often a representation of purity and innocence, and the same goes for white delphiniums. They also symbolize spirituality.
White delphiniums are popular cut flowers not just for bouquet arrangements but also for weddings and baptism. They are an ideal flower gift to a friend who welcomes a newborn baby or to your loving grandparents for any occasion.
Pink Delphinium Flower Meaning
Pink delphiniums flaunt a more feminine appeal than the other commonly available delphinium colors. These dainty flowers symbolize love and romance, which is why they are the perfect flower to express love and admiration to someone dear to you. Give it on Valentine’s Day, birthday, anniversary, or even when there’s no particular occasion, and let that special person in your life know how you truly feel.
Another pink delphinium flowering meaning includes birth and new life. They are popular flowers for celebrating the birth of a daughter or granddaughter.
How to Grow Delphiniums at Home
Though often perceived as high-maintenance plants, delphiniums only require the right environmental conditions for them to thrive well and bloom beautiful flowers. These plants perform best if provided with these conditions:
- Full sun, ideally 6 to 8 hours of sun per day
- Moist, well-drained soil since standing water causes rot
- Regular watering every 7 to 10 days during dry weather
- Neutral to slightly alkaline soil pH
- Regular fertilization during the growing season since they are heavy feeders
- Tall delphinium hybrids may require staking since the stems are hollow and can easily break when exposed to rain and wind.
Generally, delphiniums and their hybrids showcase their flowers in summer. To encourage additional flowering in late summer to early fall, you can remove the flower stalks immediately after the first flowering period.
Like other plants, delphiniums are not pest-free. The most common diseases of these perennials are fungal leaf spots, crown rot, powdery mildew, Botrytis blight, and black leaf spots. Insect pests may also frequent your plants, and these include aphids, leaf miners, and mites. All these can be prevented by practicing proper sanitation and removing any infected plant debris.
Delphinium Flower Care Tips
Because of delphinium flowers’ tall spikes and rare blue and lavender colors, they quickly become a florist-favorite cut flower for many types of flower arrangements. Their unique shape gives a beautiful look when placed and arranged in a vase or mixed with other blooms.
Delphinium flowers typically last between 7 to 14 days, depending on care and handling practices. Here are a few helpful tips to follow to prolong the vase life of delphinium cut flowers:
- Rinse the stems thoroughly before placing them in a vase.
- Cut each delphinium stem at a 45-degree angle underwater using a sharp cutter to promote water intake.
- Remove or cut any foliage that will fall below the water level.
- Change out the water every two to three days.
- Place your delphinium arrangements in a cool area out of direct sunlight.
- Delphiniums are sensitive to ethylene, so keep them away from ripe fruits to prolong their vase life.
Delphinium Flower FAQ
Do delphiniums come back every year?
Delphiniums will consistently return year after year.
Do delphiniums like sun or shade?
The delphinium flower thrives in bright, sunny locations. Where possible provide the plant with at least six hours of direct sun each day.
Is delphinium poisonous to touch?
The delphinium is considered poisonous to both humans and animals so should be handled with care.
How long does a delphinium bloom?
Delphiniums typically bloom from early summer for several weeks.
Do delphiniums flower more than once?
With some proactive dead-heading of past prime blooms, it’s possible to encourage the delphinium plant to flower for a second time towards the end of summer.
Petal Republic’s flower and plant guides:
Looking for a particular stem or in need of some inspiration on the best blooms for a certain occasion? Check out Petal Republic’s expert flower guides to Roses, Asphodel, Valerian, Astrantia, Viburnum, Acanthus, Ranunculus, Lilies, Irises, Borage, Clovers, Freesia, Marjoram, Anemone, Begonia, Orchids, Allium, Carnations, Coreopsis, Gerbera Daisies, Gladiolus, and Peonies.
Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.