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Grown for their showy spikes of summer flowers, Delphiniums come in brilliant shades of blue, pink, white, and purple.  There are about 300 species of this flowering plant in the family Ranunculaceae.  It is also referred to as a larkspur.  Delphinium gets its name from the Latin for "dolphin".  This refers to the nectary, which resembles a dolphin.  This plant is a native throughout the Northern Hemisphere and is a favorite of many gardeners.  Delphiniums require moist, cool summers, and it is suggested that they be bought as a plant since it is difficult to grow them from seed. 

They do not like wind and rain, so select a location where they can be somewhat protected, especially from strong winds.  They grow best in fertile, well-drained soil in full sun to light shade.  For this alkaline-loving plant it is wise to mix some lime or wood ashes to the soil when it is planted in the spring.  Once the tall delphiniums reach 12 inches they will need to be staked.  Make sure to water and deadhead regularly, and when they stop blooming, cut the plants to the ground.  This popular plant will provide color all the way to the very end of autumn, until a hard frost.  Some companion plants that provide season-long color with Delphiniums are coneflowers, dahlias, daylilies, or ornamental grasses.