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Officers - Plant Care - Potting Compost - How to plant

How to grow delphiniums

These young delphinium plants are suitable for planting out directly into their flowering positions but will need care and attention until they are established.

Alternatively, they may be potted into 6"pots and grown on until the root system fills the pot - they may then be planted out.

The growing tip has been "stopped" growth will darken and die back and soon young shoots will appear. This encouragement of the root to increase and strengthen is essential to the long-term health and vigor of your plant.


The distance allowed between the plants depends on the purpose for which they are grown. For general planting in the herbaceous border, 2-21/2ft. will be better. As with most herbaceous border plants, planting in groups in more effective - groups of the same variety, in three¹s or five¹s, according to the width of the border, with the dwarf varieties to the front and the taller varieties behind. Borders with predominance of delphiniums and phlox are especially attractive and provide a succession of color from mid-June until the end of August. The actual planting must be done carefully as a lot will depend on the initial encouragement the plants receive to make fresh root. When the plants arrive they are ready to be planted out immediately. A hole should be dug of sufficient depth to allow 2-3 inches of soil to be replaced over the uppermost roots. The plant should be placed in the hole and soil put over the roots. This soil should then be firmed lightly with the fingers and more soil added to the level of the surrounding soil, firming then being completed by pressing moderately with the feet. On no account must they be left loosely planted, whilst on the other hand, excessive pressure must be avoided if the soil is very wet. As growth advances light weeding around the plant will be necessary, and if at any time the plants appear dry a thorough soaking will be advantageous and amply repaid in terms of flower.

Delphiniums take at least one full season to get properly established after moving, and in order to ensure that they settle in with the minimum delay and build into strong clumps, they are as well to be restricted to carry only one or two spikes in their first season. the plant and remaining spikes. Care should be taken to avoid overcrowding in the herbaceous border as delphiniums need space to achieve their maximum potential.


Once delphiniums are established they are not fussy about the soil in which they are grown. They can be grown with equal success in sandy soil or heavy loam, their only requirement being that the soil is well prepared. Therefore it should be well dug and liberal quantity of humus added - well rotted manure of any kind or a well decayed compost, and a liberal dressing of bone meal. All this should be done well before planting to enable the soil to consolidate as plants, particularly delphiniums, will not establish themselves in loose. soil.


It is important that delphiniums do not stand in waterlogged ground during their dormant months. Ground which remains very wet during the Winter months will cause rotting of the dormant crown. The digging of small drainage channels to allow the water to escape is recommended.


Periodically a dressing of good complete fertilizer is recommended. Sprinkle it fairly liberally and place it into the top inch or so of the soil leaving the next heavy shower of rain to do the rest. On very light soils and an additional mulching with any well decayed humus may be applied to retain the moisture that is essential to delphiniums. This is recommended just before flowering and is more than necessary in the very early Spring when the pattern of the whole year is being set.


Supporting the delphiniums is an important operation - three 4ft. canes placed in a triangle around the plant, ties added around these ans necessary as the plant grows. This system allows the plant spikes to move within the confines of the ties, is relatively inconspicuous and is defeated only by really strong winds.


The presence of mildew, which sometimes occurs at the end of the season on the foliage, should not be taken too seriously. It does not harm the plant but looks unsightly. After dormancy the delphinium will emerge clean and strong. Normally it only shows itself during a spell of mild weather especially if the plants are dry at the root, and the degree of attack varies according to variety. Should mildew occur a light spray of BENLATE on the leaves should climinate it but if persistent a further spray of NIMRODT is advisable. This is best dealt with swiftly, o the first sight of any mildew.


When flowering has finished, the spikes should be removed to the top of the foliage and no further. Remember that seed-bearing weakens all plants and if seed is required, a few pods only should be left on the plant the rest to be removed long before they mature. As summer passes into autumn son the foliage will begin to yellow, the supporting stakes would then be removed and the flower spikes cut down to within a foot of the ground. From now on the plants will be developing their dormant shoots for the next years growth.


It is essential to guard against slugs and snails. More plants are lost during the winter through lack of protection against slugs and snails than through any other cause. It is important to realize that no delphinium has ever bee lost through heave frosts alone, indeed the ancestors of our present garden forms lived largely in mountainous districts where intensely heavy frosts were the rule. Their garden descendants are no less hardy in this respect and it is almost invariably through peat or disease that winter losses occur among established plants. Virtually all the damage done by slugs is caused by the small black species that spends most of its time just beneath the soil surface, consequently, once the shoots show above the ground in the spring the danger is past. It is, in fact, while shoots are in their dormant state, below the ground, that they are eaten, and it is therefore essential to protect them from the moment the plants are cut down in the autumn until the shoots reappear again in the spring. Liquid and pellets fro the control so slugs and snails is available in all garden centers and garden shops.

Blackmore & Langdon LTD.
Stanton Nurseries
Pensford, Bristor BS18 4JL


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