Geophytic Delphinium

Cynthia Mueller
Sat, 24 Jan 2004 15:50:49 PST
Mary Sue recently said:

"Since I have not received any impassioned posts against including 
Delphinium (or for that matter any against it at all) I will start a 
Delphinium wiki page and will use the very broad definition of geophyte
suggested by Jim Shields and Jim McKenney for determining which species
I will include." and more, about Delphiniums she had grown.

Mary Sue:

It was interesting to read about your successes with Delphiniums.  Here
in my Central Texas garden Delphiniums, even the Bellamosa, only grow in
the fall, winter and spring, then die because of the heat.

However, I  dug up several plants of D. carolinianum ssp. carolinianum
(which can be several shades of blue to purple) and transplanted them to
my home garden.  There are multiple thin bloom stalks per plant with
many small flowers that are quite noticeable in the landscape. They have
returned from their summer 'dried sticks' for two springs now, altho I
understand this species is short-lived.  Strangely, no seedlings have
come up.  What does a person have to do to grow these from seed?  

The special place on a hilly margin of a highway near my town, where
these could be spotted when in bloom, has now been reduced by half due
to a widening project.  The same strip is now slated to be widened to
accommodate several more lanes of divided traffic, and in that case the
whole hillside will be gone.  So I have no qualms, really, about taking
up some of the plant material.  The most interesting things are small,
flexible narrow leaved yuccas with fibrous edges (they have behaved well
in the garden but have not flowered), various shades of Tradescantia,
brown-eyed susans, clumps of Rosa bracteata (the original MacCartney
rose cursed by farmers, not the modern rose of the same name), scattered
bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush.  Everything except for the steepest
parts is shredded by the Highway department several times a year.  The
soil is very sandy - heaven for gophers. 

Please tell more about what Delphiniums you think might survive in
these conditions.

Cynthia W. Mueller
College Station, Tx
Zone 8b-9 


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