Starting Delphinium Seeds - Knowledgebase Question

Madison, WI
Avatar for dtracy4
Question by dtracy4
April 16, 2001
The instructions on the Burpee delphinium blue mirror seeds I bought do not specify if they need light or a certain temperature in order to gernminate. Some delphinium belladonna seeds from a different source indicate to "sow indoors, 2-4 weeks in a refrigerator, 8 weeks before last frost". Those instructions were very confusing to me, and I will appreciate your response regarding both varieties.


Answer from NGA
April 16, 2001
The seeds of Delphinium germinate best when pre-chilled for two weeks before planting. Just place them in the refrigerator for the prescribed length of time and then plant them in moist seed starting mix. The seeds will take 14-28 days to germinate when kept at 50F to 55F degrees. They do not need light to germinate, but should be placed under a source of light after they sprout.

Another way to go about it is to start your delphinium seed (or buy your plants) in late summer, plant them into the garden in early fall, mulch them for the winter (if your ground freezes considerably), and expect a knock-out show next spring-early summer. Hopefully, your plants will get large enough the first fall-to-spring season that they will survive the following summer (and each year they may get bigger and bigger and stronger and stronger). A summer mulch will help keep the soil moist and cool, by the way.

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