The Delphinium Flower: Meanings, Symbolism, and Folklore

In the language of flowers, the Delphinium symbolizes joy, happiness, and goodwill. These striking, colorful flowers also represent positive communication and interactions and have been utilized as a symbol to ward off evil spirits and negative energy for generations. Aptly named from the ancient Greek word for dolphin (delphin), the delphinium carries historical significance and meaning dating back to Greek Mythology and Victorian times.

Blue Delphinium Flowers Growing in a Field

Etymology

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.

Greek Mythology and Delphiniums

One mythological association of the delphinium involves the story of the Greek god Apollo. The delphinium is said to have sprung from the blood of the Greek god’s slain friend, the musician Aias (or Ajax). This tragic origin invokes meanings of remembrance and mourning but also the beauty that can arise from sorrow.

Another connection ties the Delphinium to the ancient city of Delphi, the site of the famous oracle and the sanctuary of Apollo. The flower’s association with Delphi and, by extension, Apollo, the god of the sun, prophecy, and the arts, further enriches its symbolic meanings associated with enlightenment, protection, and divine communication.

Delphiniums in the Victorian Langauge of Flowers

Delphiniums gained the name “Queen of the Border” in floriography since their tall flower spikes make excellent perennial borders in gardens and commercial landscapes.

These flowers held significant meanings to the Victorians and conveyed various emotions and messages. Known for their striking beauty and towering spikes of colorful blooms, delphiniums symbolized big-heartedness, fun, lightness, and levity. They also carried a sense of ardent attachment, reflecting the flower’s ability to communicate deep, emotional connections.

July Birth Month Flowers

The tradition of July birth flowers is thought to have originated in ancient Rome, where flowers were given as gifts to celebrate birthdays and other special events. Each month was associated with a particular flower, believed to hold specific characteristics or powers that would be imparted to people born in that month.

Delphiniums, with their striking spikes of vibrant blooms, are one of the flowers associated with July, serving as a symbol for those born in this midsummer month.

The most common color, blue, represents grace and dignity and is often associated with trust and loyalty, mirroring the qualities that July-born individuals are believed to possess.

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 Flowers

Blue Delphinium Flowers in bloom

Blue flowers are uncommon when considering the broader flower and plant life spectrum. This hue is the most commonly available for delphiniums and is highly in demand for cut flower and garden use.

In short, the 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 one of your best options.

Purple Delphinium Flowers

Purple Delphinium Flowers in bloom

Purple delphiniums are secondary to blue ones in popularity. 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 Flowers

White Delphinium Flowers in bloom

White flowers often represent purity and innocence, and the same goes for white delphiniums. They also symbolize spirituality.

White delphiniums are popular cut flowers for bouquet arrangements, weddings, and baptisms. They are an ideal flower gift to a friend who welcomes a newborn baby or to your loving grandparents for any occasion.

Pink Delphinium Flowers

Pink Delphinium Flowers growing in a garden

Pink delphiniums flaunt a more feminine appeal than the other commonly available delphinium colors. These dainty flowers symbolize love and romance, so they are perfect for expressing love and admiration for 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 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.  

Delphinium Flowers in Art and Literature

Delphiniums have inspired various works in art and literature. Here are a few of my favorite examples where these elegant flowers have been featured or have influenced creative expressions:

In Art:

  • Botanical Illustrations: Delphiniums have been a popular subject in botanical art and illustrations, where their intricate details and vibrant colors are meticulously captured. These illustrations often serve artistic and scientific purposes, showcasing the beauty and diversity of the species.
  • Impressionist Paintings: Artists like Claude Monet, who painted numerous garden scenes, included delphiniums among the flowers in lush, vibrant landscapes.

In Literature:

  • Poetry: Delphiniums appear in poetry where flowers often carry symbolic meanings. For example, in “Delphiniums in a Window Box,” the poet Dean Young uses delphiniums metaphorically to explore themes of beauty, transience, and the complexity of human emotions.

Fun Facts About Delphiniums

Delphinium flowers, with their majestic spikes and vibrant hues, are not only a feast for the eyes but also come with a host of interesting facts that add to their allure:

  1. Cultural Significance: In some cultures, delphiniums are believed to ward off scorpions and were used in bunches to protect against these venomous creatures.
  2. Growth Habits: Delphiniums are known for their tall, towering spikes that can reach up to 6 feet in height in optimal growing conditions, making them a dramatic backdrop in garden settings.
  3. Royal Connections: The delphinium’s regal appearance has made it a favorite in royal gardens. It’s also part of the buttercup family, which includes other notable flowers like the ranunculus.
  4. Butterfly Attractors: These flowers attract butterflies to the garden, adding another layer of beauty to their presence.
  5. Short Lifespan: Despite their robust appearance, delphinium blooms have a relatively short lifespan, which makes them even more precious when they adorn gardens or bouquets.
  6. Hybrid Varieties: Due to their popularity, numerous hybrid varieties of delphiniums have been developed, offering gardeners a wide range of options in terms of size, color, and resilience to environmental factors.

Wrapping Up

Delphiniums, with their striking beauty and towering presence, are prized for their ability to convey big-heartedness, an openness to new experiences, and protection against adversity. In the language of flowers, the beautiful delphinium historically carries the meaning of goodwill, joy, and happiness.

Editorial Director | andrew@petalrepublic.com | Full Bio

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.

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