Larkspur Delphinium 'Black Velvet'
Delphinium 'Black Velvet' is known for its striking appearance characterized by its deep, saturated blooms that closely resemble the shade of black velvet fabric. The flowers are densely packed along tall spikes, creating a dramatic and bold display. Each blossom is beautifully shaped like a cup or a dolphin, a fitting reminder of the plant's name. The unique hue of the petals is accented with a contrasting white or light-colored bee, which is the central part of the flower that holds the stamens. The foliage of Delphinium 'Black Velvet' presents a lush green color, providing a vivid background that further accentuates the dark tones of the flowers. The leaves are typically divided into multiple lobes, with each lobe having a toothed margin, giving them a somewhat lacy and delicate look. As part of a garden setting, this plant adds vertical visual interest and brings a touch of elegance and mystery with its rare, almost black coloration, which is particularly sought after for creating depth and contrast in garden designs or floral arrangements. Delphinium 'Black Velvet' is celebrated for its majestic and royal appearance, making it a prominent feature in any space that it graces.
About this plant
Larkspur, Black Velvet Larkspur
Delphinium 'Black Velvet'.
Larkspur, including the variety 'Black Velvet', is highly toxic if ingested. All parts of the plant contain alkaloids such as delphinine, which can cause serious symptoms including gastrointestinal upset, muscle weakness, and paralysis of the respiratory system. Ingestion can lead to potentially fatal outcomes if not treated promptly; medical attention should be sought immediately if poisoning is suspected.
Larkspur is also poisonous to animals. If pets consume any part of the plant, they may exhibit symptoms such as drooling, nausea, vomiting, weak pulse, paralysis, and potentially fatal respiratory failure. The plant’s toxicity is due to the presence of dangerous alkaloids. Immediate veterinary care is critical to address any exposure.
Color of leaves
3-4 feet (0.91-1.22 meters)
1-2 feet (0.30-0.61 meters)
- General Benefits
- Aesthetic Appeal: Delphinium 'Black Velvet' offers striking dark purple to black blooms that add a dramatic touch to gardens and landscapes.
- Attracts Pollinators: The vibrant flowers attract bees, butterflies, and other beneficial pollinators that are essential for a healthy ecosystem.
- Vertical Interest: With its tall, spiky growth habit, it provides vertical interest and can be used to create depth and structure in garden design.
- Cottage Garden Style: It's a classic choice for creating a traditional cottage garden look with its old-fashioned charm and towering spires of flowers.
- Seasonal Color: Blooming in the late spring to early summer, it offers seasonal color when many other plants are just beginning to grow.
- Cut Flowers: The blooms make excellent cut flowers for vases and arrangements, lasting a long time and adding elegance to bouquets.
- Versatility: Delphiniums can be grown in borders, as part of a mixed bed, or even in containers, making them suitable for a variety of garden settings.
- Medical Properties
This plant is not used for medical purposes.
- Air-purifying Qualities
This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.
- Other Uses
- Textile dye: Delphinium flowers, including those of Black Velvet, can be used to create a natural dye for fabrics, yielding a range of colors from green to blue depending on the mordant used.
- Photography: Delphinium 'Black Velvet' with its striking dark blooms is often used by photographers as a subject or backdrop to add depth and interest to their floral photography.
- Artistic inspiration: The unique color of Delphinium 'Black Velvet' serves as an inspiration for artists, especially those specializing in botanical illustration and painting.
- Culinary decoration: Although not edible, Delphinium 'Black Velvet' can be used to ornately decorate plates and dishes for high-end culinary presentations, then removed before consumption.
- Educational tool: Horticulture students study Delphinium 'Black Velvet' for its distinct characteristics and learn about hybridization and plant genetics.
- Companion planting: Some gardeners use Delphinium 'Black Velvet' in companion planting to attract pollinators to their gardens, benefiting other plants.
- Frost indicator: Delphinium 'Black Velvet' can act as a natural indicator of early frost as its delicate blooms are sensitive to cold temperatures, signaling gardeners to protect other plants.
- Themed gardens: Delphinium 'Black Velvet' is often included in gothic or moon-themed gardens due to its dark hue that provides a unique aesthetic contrast to lighter flowers.
- Wedding decor: The deep, luxurious color of 'Black Velvet' makes it a popular choice for wedding bouquets and arrangements, adding a touch of drama and elegance.
- Special effects: The petals of Delphinium 'Black Velvet' have been used in film and theater productions to create natural confetti or to simulate droplets of black magic for special effects.
- Feng Shui
The Delphinium is not used in Feng Shui practice.
- Zodiac Sign Compitability
The Delphinium is not used in astrology practice.
- Plant Symbolism
- Openness to New Experiences - The tall spikiness of the Delphinium suggests reaching out into the world, representing a person's readiness for new adventures.
- Protection - Delphiniums are believed to ward off dangers and negative emotions; their bold presence implying strength and a protective barrier.
- Heavenly Aspirations - With their skyward blooms, they symbolize striving towards higher goals and aspirations, or a connection to the divine.
- Remembrance - These flowers, especially in darker hues like 'Black Velvet', can symbolize remembrance of loved ones and the past.
- Fun - Delphiniums add a playful aspect to gardens with their vibrant colors and textures, embodying a sense of light-heartedness and enjoyment.
- Grandeur and Dignity - The stately appearance of the Delphinium represents dignity and an air of elegance and grace.
- Arbitrary Favor - In Victorian flower language, Delphiniums sometimes represent fickleness or inconsistent loyalties.
Larkspur, commonly known as Delphinium 'Black Velvet', should be watered deeply and thoroughly to encourage root growth. During active growth periods in spring and summer, watering should occur once or twice a week, depending on weather conditions. Ensure that the plant receives about 1 inch of water weekly. Allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings to prevent root rot, but do not let the plant wilt from drought. Adjust the amount of water during hot, dry periods or if the plant is in a particularly windy location, as these conditions can increase the need for water.
Larkspur thrives best in full sun to partial shade. The ideal location for this plant is a spot that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight daily. Avoid deep shade as it can lead to weak growth and fewer blooms. The morning sun is particularly beneficial, as it warms the plant and helps prevent diseases by drying dew off the leaves.
Larkspur prefers moderate temperatures and can generally tolerate temperatures between 50°F and 75°F. It can survive minimum temperatures down to 40°F, but frost can damage young shoots. The ideal temperature range for optimal growth is between 60°F and 70°F. Provide protection from extreme heat, as temperatures above 85°F may lead to stress and poor flowering.
Larkspur should be pruned to remove spent flowers, which encourages the plant to produce new blooms. Pruning can also help maintain a bushy, compact shape and prevent it from becoming leggy. Cut the flower stalks back after the initial bloom, typically in mid to late summer, to promote a second flush of flowers. Pruning can be done again in late fall or early winter to clean up the plant after flowering has ceased for the season.
Larkspur 'Black Velvet' thrives best in well-draining soil with a mix of loam, compost, and peat to retain moisture without becoming waterlogged. Its preferred pH range is neutral to slightly alkaline, between 6.8 and 7.5.
Larkspur 'Black Velvet' should be repotted every one to two years or when it outgrows its current container, to provide fresh nutrients and space for growing roots.
- Humidity & Misting
Larkspur 'Black Velvet' prefers moderate humidity levels; avoid overly humid conditions to prevent disease.
- Suitable locations
Ensure full sun, cool temps for Larkspur 'Black Velvet'.
Plant in full sun, fertile soil, with good drainage.
- Life cycle
Delphinium 'Black Velvet', also known as "Larkspur," begins its life cycle with seed germination, which happens in early spring when the soil has warmed up sufficiently. The seedlings develop their first true leaves and, as they mature, form a rosette of basal leaves. Gradually, the plant develops a sturdy stem and begins its vertical growth, eventually reaching a height of up to 6 feet for some varieties. This is followed by a flowering period in late spring to early summer, where it produces tall spikes of velvety, deep-purple flowers that attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. After pollination, the flowers develop into fruit that contains numerous small seeds, which are dispersed by wind or gravity. The plant then enters a dormant phase in late autumn and winter, either dying back if it is an annual variety, or surviving as a perennial through its root system, with new growth resuming the following spring.
The most popular method for propagating the Delphinium 'Black Knight', which is commonly known as Larkspur, is by seed. Larkspurs can be directly sown into the garden after the danger of frost has passed, usually in the spring. The seeds need light to germinate, so they should be sown on the soil surface or covered very lightly with soil. They should be spaced out to allow ample room for growth, usually at a distance of about 12 to 18 inches (approximately 30 to 45 centimeters) apart. It is crucial to keep the soil moist during the germination period, which can take 14 to 21 days. Thinning the seedlings can ensure the plants have healthy air circulation and are not overcrowded. This method is straightforward and does not require special equipment, making it accessible for most gardeners.