Growing Guide
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Delphinium (Belladonna Group)

Herbaceous Perennial Flower

Delphinium sp. Belladonna Group
Ranunculaceae Family
Synonym: Delphinium x belladonna

This 3- to 4-foot tall, upright perennial bears beautiful bell-like blooms in shades of blue or white in summer. Has loose, branching flower spikes, unlike the taller, denser spikes of the Elatum delphiniums, but is easier to grow and longer lived.

Site Characteristics
  • full sun

Soil conditions:

  • requires well-drained soil
  • requires high fertility
Prefers protection from strong winds.

Hardiness zones:

  • 3 to 7
Plant Traits

Lifecycle: perennial

Ease-of-care: moderately difficult

Plants need good soil, protection from wind, and usually staking, but still easier to grow than Elatum delphiniums. Prone to pests and diseases.

Height: 2.5 to 4 feet

Spread: 1.5 to 2.5 feet

Bloom time:

  • early summer
  • late summer
  • early fall

Blooms in early summer. Will rebloom in late summer to early fall if plants are cut back properly.

Flower color:

  • blue
  • indigo
  • violet
  • white

Foliage color: medium green

Foliage texture: medium

Shape: upright

Shape in flower:

  • flower stalks with upright spikes
  • flower stalks with flowers as cups

Blooms borne loosely on erect, branching stems.

Special Considerations
Special characteristics:
  • non-aggressive
  • non-invasive
  • not native to North America - Product of horticultural selection, though originally native to Europe
  • bears ornamental fruit - Seedheads used in arrangements.
Special uses:
  • cut flowers
  • dried flowers - The seedheads can be allowed to dry on the plant and then cut and used for arrangments.
Growing Information
How to plant:

Propagate by seed, cuttings, division or separation - Some varieties breed true. Collect fresh seed and sow as soon as possible. Needs cold treatment to germinate.

Take 4-inch long basal cuttings in the spring. Cutting should be solid (not hollow) and white. Root in part shade in sand or sand/peat mix.

Divide in the spring every 4 to 5 years.

Maintenance and care:
May require staking. Protect from strong winds.

If diseases are a problem, thin to 3 to 5 stems per plant when plants are about 6 inches tall. Do not pinch back later or plants may not flower.

Remove faded flower spikes back to nearest new lateral flower spike. When blooming has ceased in the early summer, cut plants back to basal foliage to encourage rebloom in the fall.

Cut back for the winter in fall or wait until spring.

More growing information: How to Grow Perennials

Slugs and snails
Cyclamen mites
Leaf miners
Powdery mildew
Southern blight
Root and crown rot
Botrytis blight
Fungal and bacterial leaf spots
White rot
White smut
Leaf smut
Damping off
'Bellamosum' grows 3 feet tall with very deep indigo blue blooms.

'Blue Bees' bears sky blue blooms with white centers.

'Casa Blanca' grows 4 feet tall with pure white blooms.

'Cliveden Beauty' grows 3.5 feet tall with light blue blooms.

'Connecticut Beauty' Series bears blooms in shades of of white, blue, or violet.

'Moerheimii' bears pure white blooms.

'Piccolo' bears bright indigo-blue blooms.

'Wendy' ('Andenken an August Koenemann') bears indigo-blue blooms.

'World Peace' (‘Volkerfrieden’) bears deep blue flowers. Good cut flower.