Everything You Need to Know About Larkspur Flowers

Larkspur is an annual or perennial flower in the (Ranunculaceae) or buttercup family. It produces irregularly shaped flowers on the upper part of the flower stalk. Colors range from white, yellow, pink, and red to lovely shades of blue and purple. Here we’ll take you through everything you need to know about Larkspur flower meaning and symbolism, their history and origins, uses and benefits, and essential tips for gifting and caring for fresh-cut Larkspur flowers at home. 

Larkspur Meaning & Symbolism – The Essentials

In the language of flowers, the larkspur holds the symbolic meaning of strong love bonds, dedication, sincerity, positivity and an open heart. The color of the individual larkspur flower traditionally holds varying inherent symbolism with blue larkspur flowers associated with grace and respectability; pink with fickleness, love and affection; purple with first love; and white symbolizing happiness and joy. 

Larkspur is also the official birth flower for the month of July. Larkspur has long been thought to hold the ability to ward off evil, earning it a place in cottage gardens during the Victorian era.

About Larkspur

About Larkspur

Larkspur – Family, Genus, and Taxonomy

Larkspur belongs to the buttercup or Ranunculaceae family and the genus Delphinium. Delphiniums include approximately 300 species of annual and perennial flowers. The name larkspur and delphinium are used interchangeably in referring to these flowers as there remains some confusion over recent reclassification of these flowers.

Botanical Characteristics, Colors, Fragrances, Toxicity?

Most larkspurs are perennials that grow well in USDA plant hardiness zones 2 through 10, depending on the variety. These flowers grow best in cool climates with humid summers, but they can be grown in warm climates, too.

Etymological Meaning

The common name larkspur comes from the resemblance of the flower to the long claw of a meadowlark. The scientific name delphinium (meaning dolphin) comes from the ancient Greek word delphínion meaning dolphin as the flower buds resemble a dolphin.

What Regions are Larkspur Native to?

Larkspur flowers are native to parts of eastern North America and are also found in parts of Africa. 

When are Larkspur in Season?

Larkspur blooms in early spring to mid-summer depending on the variety. While some are long-blooming, most bloom for a few weeks and stop blooming. Cutting them back after blooming often spurs a new flush of blooms later in the season.


Popular Larkspur Types, Species, and Cultivars

There are many varieties of larkspur available that range in color, size and shape. Both the Consolida ambigua and Consolida orientalis are typically the most popular choices for fresh cut flower arrangements. If you are looking for an unusual larkspur, consider one of the cultivars below.

‘Red Lark’

This striking cultivar produces bright red flowers which is unusual for larkspurs. It grows to heights of 2 to 3 feet. ‘Red lark’ prefers full sun and is cold hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 3 through 8. This larkspur variety is sure to attract attention in your flowerbed.

‘Golden Larkspur’

This larkspur grows wild in California and blooms in late spring. “Golden Larkspur’ grows to heights of 2 feet and prefers full sun.This cultivar is hardy only in USDA plant hardiness zones 8 and 9. But beware. Wild ‘Golden Larkspur’ are an endangered species in many areas. If you choose to grow “Golden Larkspur’ make sure you purchase seeds or plants from a reputable source.

‘Blue Mirror’

‘Blue Mirror’ sports delicately colored petals that are blue around the border and transition to soft lavender and finally cream or yellow in the center. This showy variety is compact at 12 to 18 inches in height and never needs staking. It thrives in USDA plant hardiness zones 3 through 7. ‘Blue Mirror’ creates a color sensation in the flowerbed.

‘QIS™ Light Pink’

This variety produces delicate pink flowers with a hint of green in the center making it a great choice as a cut flower or adding to wedding displays. It grows to heights of 3 to 4 feet and produces 9-to-12-inch flower spikes. For a touch of romance you can’t go wrong with this enchanting larkspur.


Uses and Benefits of Larkspur

Uses and Benefits of Larkspur

Larkspur attracts hummingbirds and butterflies to the yard, but all parts of the larkspur plant are toxic to humans and animals. Precautions to prevent poisoning by pets and children should be taken. Larkspur has also been used to eradicate skin parasites and lice.


Larkspur Meaning & Symbolism

In the language of flowers, Larkspur traditionally symbolizes love, joy and positive emotions, but there are special meanings associated with some individual colors as well.

Purple Larkspur Flower Meaning: 

Purple Larkspur Flower Meaning

A purple larkspur is the symbol of first loves. Purple is also traditionally symbolic of royalty, regality, influence, and ambition.

White Larkspur Flower Meaning: 

White Larkspur Flower Meaning

A white larkspur flower symbolizes happiness and joy and is often held as a sign of innocence. The color white also traditionally used to convey new beginnings and a fresh start or clean slate. 

Pink Larkspur Flower Meaning: 

Pink Larkspur Flower Meaning

A pink larkspur was historically thought to be symbolic of fickleness and sudden changes. The color pink in the language of flowers is often associated with love and affection used to convey positive sentiments and happiness. 

Blue Larkspur Flower Meaning

Blue Larkspur Flower Meaning

A blue larkspur flower is symbolic of grace and respectability.


The Meaning, Symbolism and Cultural Significance of Larkspur

The Meaning, Symbolism and Cultural Significance of Larkspur

Larkspur were a popular flower used during the Vicitorian era as a means to ward off ghosts and evil spirits. It was commonplace to plant larkspur flowers near the front door to ward as a symbol of protection. 

Larkspur were also thought to be a useful tool to repel witches and nullify any spells they were considering bestowing upon you! 

Larkspur Flowers in Greek Mythology

The Larkspur flower appears prominently in Greek Mythological stories. Most famously the flower is referenced in the Battle of Troy where the great warrior Ajax took his own life after being passed over the honor of receiving the armor of the slain Achilles. Where the blood of Ajax began to soak into the soil, a Larkspur flower bloomed. 

Larkspur Flowers in Native American Culture

Larkspur flowers grow natively across the North American continent and the petals were traditionally used by Native American tribes for making blue dyes. 


Suitable Gifting Occasions for Larkspur

Suitable Gifting Occasions for Larkspur

Larkspur is commonly included in floral displays and as such can be given for a wide range of occasions to show love, friendship, and affection. 

It is especially appropriate for July birthdays as it is the official birth flower for July, but don’t think you need to limit larkspur to birthdays. It is appropriate for housewarmings and other celebrations where you wish to bring positive energy to the occasion.


How to Care for Fresh Cut Larkspur Flowers at Home

How to Care for Fresh Cut Larkspur Flowers at Home

Larkspur flowers make attractive cut flowers that have a vase life of approximately one week. They can be displayed singly in a tall slender vase or added to a mixed floral bouquet to add color and fragrance.

  1. Cut the larkspur spike with open flowers at the bottom and partially opened buds at the top. They will continue to open in the vase.
  2. Harvest your flowers early in the morning after the dew dries but before the flowers have been subjected to the stress of the day.
  3. Remove the foliage on the part of the stem that will be below the water level.
  4. Fill a bucket with tepid water and place the cut flowers in the water.
  5. Set them in a cool, dark area for several hours to allow them to rejuvenate and uptake fresh water.
  6. Add the larkspur flowers to mixed bouquets or display them in a tall slender vase and place them in their permanent location.

Wrap-up

Larkspur adds color and movement to the garden as they attract hummingbirds, butterflies and bees. They also make stunning cut flowers for the home, but beware. Do not place vases of larkspur in areas where pets and children can reach them as they are extremely toxic.


Larkspur Flower FAQ: 

Whilst very similar in many regards, larkspur and delphinium are distinctly different flowering plants. The vast majority of delphiniums are considered perennial species whilst larkspur are annuals.

Larkspur plants are heralded for the re-seeding capabilities and will return with abundance year after year.

Larkspur are considered easy flowering plants to grow (much easier than delphiniums) and will tolerate a wide range of hardiness zones.

Every part of the larkspur is poisonous to both humans and animals and should be treated carefully.

In the language of flowers, the larkspur holds the symbolic meaning of strong love bonds, dedication, sincerity, positivity and an open heart. The color of the individual larkspur flower traditionally holds varying inherent symbolism with blue larkspur flowers associated with grace and respectability, pink with fickleness, love and affection, purple with first love, and white symbolizing happiness and joy. Larkspur is also the official birth flower for the month of July.


Author

I’ve long been fascinated with the world of flowers, plants, and floral design. I come from a family of horticulturists and growers and spent much of my childhood in amongst the fields of flowering blooms and greenhouses filled with tropical plants, cacti, and succulents from all over the world. Today, my passion has led me to further explore the world of horticulture, botany, and floristry and I'm always excited to meet and collaborate with fellow enthusiasts and professionals from across the globe. I hold a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and have trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris.

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