Delphinium is rightly ranked among the most spectacular garden plants with obvious buds. Aristocratic and delightfully openwork, huge vertical delphinium candles create festive and expressive accents, mesmerizing both with its gigantic size and the beauty of individual flowers with funny spurs. Dolphiniums are not very difficult to grow, and care for them is fully paid off by the beauty of flowering. You can get a new generation of these impressive garden aristocrats using both vegetative methods and seeds. To do this, be patient.
Vegetative methods can fully preserve the varietal characteristics of plants, are the fastest and easiest way to increase the collection of these amazing perennials.
Reproduction of the delphinium by dividing the bush
The simplest and most popular way to get a healthy and strong plant is to divide the rhizomes of adult delphiniums. Adults, of course, are conditional, because it is best to use bushes at the age of 3-4 years for reproduction (the older the delphiniums, the more they are susceptible to diseases and the worse their adaptability in a new place). With the purpose of reproduction, tall and strong bushes can be dug up both in spring and in autumn. The spring method is considered preferable, while the separation must be carried out at the time of the beginning of the growth of young leaves. Autumn dates are a little more difficult to determine: separation is necessary when the seeds at the delphinium only begin to ripen after flowering is complete and the mass of foliage re-grows.
The rhizome is extracted carefully, with a large earthen lump, and try to cause minimal damage to the roots. In the autumn separation of the bushes, it is necessary to remove the old leaves and cut the shoots at the soil level. The rhizome is broken or cut with a large knife or shovel between the buds or young shoots so that divisions are formed with at least one shoot, a large bunch of roots and at least one sleeping bud. Unlike other garden perennials, it is not necessary to leave 2-3 buds in delphinium in delenki: this plant grows and develops quite intensively and increases the mass of young foliage at such a pace that it allows you to get beautiful and able to grow from small parts with one shoot flowering bush.
The resulting plants are planted in a permanent place according to the usual scheme. They need enhanced care. Usually they bloom profusely already this year.
Dolphinium propagation by cuttings
Delphinium cuttings should be apical. They are cut in the spring, cutting off young shoots that have reached a height of 10 cm. Such cuttings should be thin, without a cavity formed inside and separated directly from the root neck so that part of the root tissue (or “heel”) remains on them.
They root in the same way as cuttings of shrubs. To root the delphinium shoots, it is better to use a soil mixture of equal parts of peat and sand. Harvested cuttings are set in boxes or on beds with a cap so that the heel is not more than 2 cm deep in the soil. Rooting of the delphinium will occur only in shading, at a temperature of 20 to 25 ° and maintaining constant humidity. Rooting takes on average up to 5 weeks, although after 2 weeks callus is formed on the cuttings, then transforming into rhizomes.
Delphinium cuttings must be grown in boxes and hotbeds throughout the current year. They are transferred to a permanent place of cultivation only the following year in spring, planting at a distance no closer than 30-40 cm from neighboring plants.
Reproduction by seeds also allows to obtain beautifully flowering specimens, although waiting for the flowering of new plants will take much longer. But the main objection to this method is the "lottery" with the inheritance of varietal characteristics and decorative characteristics, because the seeds of the delphinium do not always convey all the properties of the mother plant. Moreover, the delphinium on the color of varieties and key flowering characteristics can also be affected by the characteristics of wintering, the contrast between frosty days and thaw periods, which at the cellular level change the characteristics of seedlings. The most reliable method is to grow seedlings, although seeds are also sown directly into the soil. When propagated by seeds, the delphinium requires growing and blooms fully only next year.
Growing delphinium from seeds
For seedlings, delphinium seeds must be sown in March. For ordinary species delphiniums, temperature is not critical, but varietal plants germinate best at temperatures from 12 to 15 ° heat. Stratification of seeds should not be carried out, but lowering the germination temperature will allow you to get faster seedlings (8-10 days against 20). Since this plant prefers to do without picking and you need to minimize trauma to rhizomes, it is better to sow seeds quite rarely in boxes or pots, in which small plants can be grown before transplanting into open ground. Caring for seedlings is no different from caring for any other seedlings and comes down to watering.
To transfer young plants to the open ground to a permanent place is possible only in June. A much more productive strategy is to transplant young and not yet strong dolphiniums that are not afraid of spring frosts into the soil in early May into the so-called nurseries, in which they need to be cultivated until next year and only then transferred to a permanent place.
During the first year, the delphinium will gain the power of greenery and grow rhizome. Usually, when grown through seedlings, delphiniums can bloom weakly already six months after sowing, and in the second year, plants are able to produce full-fledged inflorescences already twice, in July and August (of course, it all depends on the characteristics of a particular variety).
Sowing in the soil
If you do not want to mess with seedlings, then you can get a new generation of delphinium from seeds by direct sowing in open ground. Spend it on the ridge in April-May.
Before sowing seeds, prepare the soil in the selected area so that young plants have enough nutrients for active growth and they do not die from adverse weather conditions. For each square meter of soil, about 100 g of wood ash, 1 tbsp. nitrofoski and 2 kg of humus or peat. After fertilizing, the bed is dug up to a depth of at least 30 cm.
Sowing the seeds of delphinium is best done in shallow grooves. Before the procedure, the soil is watered abundantly. Harvested seeds of the delphinium are uniformly and rarely enough spread in the moist soil along the grooves, sprinkling them on top with a thin layer of dry substrate and gently tamping the earth with your hand so that the seeds are immersed in moist soil. To accelerate germination, seedlings with delphinium seeds must be covered with any non-woven material or film. In order for shoots to appear after 20 or 25 days, every 2-3 days the soil must be moistened using about 2 liters of water per square meter of surface for wetting. Shelter can be removed only after the appearance of the first sprouts.
Throughout the summer, young dolphinia need careful care. Plants need to be watered at the slightest drought, to apply scarce top dressing with complex mineral fertilizers, to loosen the soil and to prevent the spread of weeds.
Dolphinium grown in this way can only be planted in a permanent place next spring. Delphiniums will be able to bloom lavishly in the same year in which transplantation from seedling beds was carried out.
Sowing seeds of annual delphiniums
Delphinium of annual species and varieties can be propagated exclusively by seed method. Sowing seeds is best done not on seedlings, but directly in open soil. Sowing can be done before the winter, and with the advent of spring, but since the seeds of the delphiniums quickly lose their germination, it is better not to wait for the beginning of the next season, but to plant them in the ground immediately after harvesting. Delphinium flyers do not tolerate transplants very well, like their perennial counterparts, so try to sow seeds as little as possible. As the plants grow, they thin out so that between the young plants a distance of about 20-30 cm remains.
How to collect quality seeds
At delphinium seeds are tied surprisingly easily, and as a rule, up to 800 seeds can be collected from each plant with 4-5 inflorescences. But not all seeds will turn out to be equally high quality. In order to collect really good seeds, and the process itself did not lead to a deterioration in the development of the plant, did not affect the quality of preparation for wintering, it is necessary to prevent all seeds from ripening in the inflorescence. Leave only 10 -15 leaflets in the bottom of the inflorescences in the candles of the delphinium and do not let them wake up on the ground (the delphinium gives abundant self-seeding, and the seeds germinate very quickly).