Delphinium vestitum


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Delphinium vestitum

Delphinium vestitum has large, baggy flowers stacked up the stems.
And each flower has a prominent black heart, surrounded by rich violet-blue petals.
Hence the common name of “Black Hearted Delphinium”.
And by the way, the botanical name D. vestitum acknowledges that every part of this unusual plant is hairy. Even the flowers !!! Hence vestitum, meaning clothed.

Black hearted baggy britches of violet-blue

But the foliage of Delphinium vestitum is also lovely.
Because each hairy leaf is rounded like a scallop.

Long blooming & weather proof

Delphinium vestitum really knows how to put on a show, with a long blooming period over summer.
And strong, stout flower stems make it sturdy and weather proof.
So there is no need for staking or protection.
And flower stems also make excellent cut flowers.

Easy growing & ideal for pretty edges or pots

A position in Full Sun is perfect for Delphinium vestitum. However in hotter districts it can also take a little afternoon shade.

Delphinium vestitum is frost hardy and low maintenance once it is established.
As it forms a neat clump of pretty foliage from early spring, and then billows with flowers from late spring onwards.
And probably the only essential job is to protect your clumps from snails when they are emerging in early spring. A mulch of sharp gravel helps with this.
But if they are grown in pots, they are up out of snail reach anyway.

40cm H x 45cm W


Sow autumn, winter or spring.

First place seeds on one half of a piece of wet coffee filter paper (paper towel can also be used if you don’t have a coffee filter).  Fold the filter paper over in half so the seeds are enclosed inside between 2 layers.
Then place the moist paper seed bed inside a sealed plastic bag – a zip-lock bag is perfect.

A little taste of winter

Place the sealed bag in fridge (not the freezer) for 36 hours.
Now inspect daily until you see little white roots emerging (usually at about 5 days).

Once the seeds have sprouted, remove from the fridge and the coffee filter paper and sow in punnets.
Sow sprouted seeds on the surface of good quality seed raising mix.
Cover seeds with 5mm of mix or sandy grit.

Keep punnet moist in a well lit position.

Temperatures of 18-21°C approx. is optimum for rapid germination.
Temperatures above 25°C may inhibit germination.

Most seedlings will emerge in approx. 10-20 days.
But do not discard punnet as some may come later.

SEED COUNT: 15 seeds per pack approx – seeds are few this year.
(We always aim to exceed the stated seed count, and give a generous serve).

GROWING: Delphinium vestitum

– Height with flowers: 40cm approx.
– Width: Scallop shaped hairy leaves form a handsome clump, to a diameter of 45cm approx.
– Position: Plant in Sun to Partial Shade, depending on how hot your district is.
Though Delphinium vestitum is used to surviving rugged conditions. Hence the whole plant is very hairy, to protect it from the extremes of heat and cold on the rocky slopes where it grows wild.
– Soil: A fertile and well-drained soil is just perfect.
Delphinium vestitum is quite used to growing amongst rocky or gravel soils, but it does like a feed.

– Fragrance: No fragrance, but the exquisite baggy blooms make up for this.
– Frost:
Delphinium vestitum is very frost hardy. So it can withstand hard frosts down to -15C.
– Growth:
Perennial clump.
– Beneficial for wildlife: Bees, butterflies and nectar sipping native birds just love getting their noses into the tubular flowers.
– Deer & Rabbit resistant: The pests should be too smart to have a nibble due to the toxic compounds in Delphiniums. The wretches seem to know.

Beware: All members of the Delphinium genus are toxic to humans and animals.
– Care: Gloves should be worn when working with Delphiniums. So avoid getting the sap on your hands.
Delphiniums are heavy feeders. So they love a good fertilise in early spring, as well as another feed later in the season.
Cut back to ground level once  the clump has finished flowering.
Mulch helps retain moisture and keeps roots cool.

– Origin: Native to rocky slopes of the Himalaya.

Garden heroes

David and Shirley Bassett are considered world authorities on Delphiniums, including lovely Delphinium vestitum.
David and Shirley garden, live and breath Delphiniums near Oxford in England.
Here these two wonderful plantspeople raise little known species Delphiniums, like D. vestitum, as well as intriguing new Delphinium varieties.
Then they take them to shows so we can all fall in love with them, and save precious seed.
So their recent book about Delphiniums is the “ants pants” on the genus.

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