Heirloom Annuals

You’ve seen this great spring annual in beds around town, usually in older neighborhoods where it re-sows its seeds every year. Larkspurs are actually delphiniums, but these old heirloom annuals are the best-suited types for Texas landscapes.

These inbred (non-hybrid) larkspurs grow 18 to 24 inches tall. They thrive in sun or part sun and they’ll produce flowers in shades of purplish-blue, light lavender-blue, white and pink. Their foliage is fine-textured, almost fern-like. They flower in March and April depending on where you are in Texas, and the plants will reseed and die away by late spring and early summer.

If you’re interested in “getting a start” of these wonderful spring flowers see if a neighbor might share some seeds as the plants mature later this spring. Save the seeds over the summer in a zipping sandwich bag in the butter keeper of your refrigerator (you didn’t need all that butter anyway). Sow the seeds into well-prepared garden soil in September so that they can germinate and begin establishing roots over the late fall and winter. They’re especially nice planted among daffodils, species tulips, reseeding inbred petunias, oxalis, summer snowflake, Louisiana and other iris and other vintage spring flowers.

If you just can’t wait to enjoy larkspurs, many nurseries sell potted transplants of the hybrid types. You can use them as tall spike flowers in patio pots and color bowls. Their pastel shades blend well with almost any floral color.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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