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Video: Growing Delphiniums: Culture Features, Sowing
Delphiniums - blue eyes of summer
July is the top of summer, the sun is the brightest and hottest, the sky is deep blue, and in the gardens, like a reflection of heavenly blue, the blue eyes of the delphinium flowers attract the eye.
Blue and blue bells bloom here - sprawling, Carpathian, peach-leaved, broad-leaved and others; meadow and mountain cornflowers, pansies - from pale blue to almost black velvet flower-portraits, irresistibly charming. Blue is the color of tranquility, tranquility, pleasant coolness …
Perhaps the brightest blues and blues give the garden the magnificent Delphiniums, members of the Buttercup family. The plant got its name in ancient Greece, it is associated with the similarity of flower buds and the shape of the body of a brown dolphin. The genus includes more than 350 species from Europe, Asia, Africa and North America. About ten of them are grown in culture, but most cultivated delphiniums are hybrids obtained from the crossing of wild species.
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Species plants are interesting for their unusual color of flowers, while their inflorescences, as a rule, are less decorative, consist of a small number of flowers with a diameter of 3-5 cm. Many of the species were introduced into culture in the middle of the 18th century. For example, the flowers of the red delphinium have red flowers, the bare-stemmed ones - red or orange, the half-bearded ones - bright yellow. Unfortunately, these species do not winter with us, but they can be grown like dahlias, digging out rhizomes in the fall and storing them in a basement or other cold place.
Features of delphiniums
In modern varieties of the cultural delphinium, the length of the vertical inflorescence is at least 120 cm with a total plant height of up to 200 cm (there are also medium-high varieties with a height of 120-160 cm and low ones - no more than 120 cm).
Inflorescence - few or many-flowered (up to 80 flowers!) Brush or panicle. Flowers are considered large with a diameter of more than 6 cm, medium - 5-6 cm, small - less than 5 cm. The most appreciated varieties are with semi-double disc-shaped and star-shaped, as well as double flowers.
The regular semi-double flower consists of five petal-shaped colored sepals, five true small petals - nectaries and staminodes. The upper sepal is extended into the original hollow funnel-shaped spur; 24-32 stamens decorate the flower quite well. When describing varieties, petals (nectaries and staminodes) are usually called eyes, they differ in shape and color. The sepals and petals are wide, with sharp or blunt tips; narrow and long, like that of an aster, and also reminiscent of gelichrisum, daffodils.
The main color of the flowers is blue and blue, but blue is less common in varieties with semi-double and double flowers. Double color is often observed: in dark blue sepals, petals are light purple, lilac; the white peephole is spectacular in deep purple flowers. The eye color ranges from pure white through yellow and brown to amber black.
Interestingly, the color of flowers is largely dependent on the pH of the cell sap and air temperature. It has been noticed that blue and purple tones in the middle of summer with the onset of colder days acquire different shades, which often complicates the identification of varieties.
The pigment delphinidin, present in the petals of even white flowers, can cause bluish and purple hues when the weather changes. It has not yet been possible to create varieties of delphinium with semi-double flowers, pyramidal inflorescences with red and yellow flowers, although wild plants have them.
By the timing of flowering, the varieties of perennial delphinium are early (flowering in early and mid June), medium (at the end of June) and late (mid-July).
Depending on the weather conditions, delphiniums bloom for 20-30 days. Inflorescences with semi-double flowers are well cut. If you cut off the peduncles after flowering, then after a month's pause in August - October, secondary flowering occurs, but less abundant, with small inflorescences. When sowing seeds in March, the flowering of delphinium seedlings occurs in 4 months - in July - August. In the south, the delphinium can bloom up to three times a year if the faded shoots are cut off, but the plants are quickly depleted and after three years they can die.
The delphinium fruit consists of 3-5 polyspermous leaflets filled with triangular or rounded seeds with “wings” or membranous surface. When sown in spring without prior stratification, the seeds germinate within 8-10 days. Self-seeding of a delphinium is often in the garden, seedlings are obtained by hybrids from free pollination, since the delphinium is cross-pollinated (spatial isolation to preserve varietal traits should be at least 100 m).
According to some features, it is possible to determine the color of future flowers at the stage of seedlings. For example, the seedlings of white-flowered varieties have a green hypocotyl knee; in dark-colored flowers, the stem will be purple or reddish. Diving young plants, you can immediately group them according to the color of the flowers.
According to the methods of reproduction and genetic characteristics, the cultivars of the cultural delphinium are divided into five groups. It is important to know that the group of Pacific hybrids (varieties Blue Jay, Black Knight, Galahad, King Arthur) during seed propagation, unlike others, retains semi-doubleness and color of flowers. Marfinsky domestic hybrids only in conditions of spatial isolation repeat varietal characteristics in seed progeny. The healthiest and most resilient plants are known to come from seeds. Self-seeding from seeds that have fallen to the ground successfully overwinters next to the mother plant without shelter.
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You can sow seeds at any time, including fresh ones, as well as before winter.
The best results are obtained when sowing in March, sprinkling the seeds with a layer of soil no more than 3 mm (light delays germination, and deeper sowing significantly reduces germination) and maintaining a temperature of + 12 … 15 ° C. Temperatures above 20 ° C lead to a decrease in germination. Sow densely, cover the crops with paper or film until shoots appear, then the seedlings dive in time 3-4 cm apart.
The grown and hardened seedlings are planted in open ground in early May, adding 1 teaspoon of granules of long-acting complex fertilizer AVA to the hole. If it is not possible to apply a long-term (2-3 years) active fertilizer, then a month after planting, the seedlings are fed with full fertilizer, repeating feeding every two weeks (Kemira-wagon, 20-30 g, 50-80 g per m²). Pinching the tops by 2/3 promotes better root development. It is better to leave flowers in inflorescences until seeds ripen, as this inhibits the growth of renewal buds unwanted in young plants. For the winter, seedlings are covered with spruce branches.
The main root inherent in delphinium seedlings does not develop further, but many adventitious roots are formed. Over time, a short rhizome develops, from which numerous thin roots grow, growing in a bunch. A feature of the delphinium is the presence of a hollow part of the stems, formed as a result of the gradual withering away of old stems. The thicker the stems, the more significant destruction occurs in the underground part of plants. Therefore, delphiniums are usually divided and rejuvenated after 2-3 years of growing season, then they may simply not survive in winter.
Read the next part. Growing delphiniums: reproduction and care →