Types of delphiniums: 14 beautiful varieties for your garden

Here are our top types of delphiniums for brightening summer borders

types of delphiniums
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There are plenty of beautiful types of delphiniums to add to your planting list if you're a lover of cottage-garden-style schemes. And in fact, with their architectural structure and bold color, they can work wonderfully in modern plots, too.

In summer, delphiniums' tall flower towers dazzle at the back of the border. Mature plants can reach 6ft (1.8m) high, producing over 100 blooms on each of their many spikes, which point to the sky like the spires of tiny cathedrals. 

These border stars are the perennial Elatum delphiniums, which can be planted in spring. There are also annual delphs (such as D. grandiflorum) and closely-related larkspurs (Consolida), which have widely spaced blooms and less height. 

However, for vertical structure, color, and all-round impact, the Elatums are by far the best ones to grow. They are available in whites, creams, and pinks, but it is the blue forms that most people lust after. No other flower group provides such an array of piercing hues: sky, ultramarine, cerulean, and lapis. However, en masse, all varieties are spectacular.

The only downside to delphiniums is their need for a lot of TLC – they must be shielded from wind, mildew, and their nemesis: slugs. And they need fertile, retentive, well-drained, neutral to alkaline soil to thrive. But learning how to grow delphiniums is well worth the effort.

14 types of delphiniums for show-stopping summer shows

There are lots of varieties of delphiniums to choose from to liven up your flower bed ideas. We've gathered together our top picks to help you decide the best ones for your plot.

1. 'Bruce'

'Bruce' delphinium

(Image credit: Florapix/Alamy Stock Photo)
  • Hardiness: USDA 3–7 (UK H5)
  • Height: 6ft (1.8m)

'Bruce' has superb, slender towers of rich violet-purple flowers with brown eyes. It first flowers in early summer, but will bloom again later in the season.

With its impressive height, it's ideal at the back of a border as part of a blue garden color scheme.  

2. 'Blue Nile'

'Blue Nile' delphinium

(Image credit: Alan Gregg/Alamy Stock Photo)
  • Hardiness: USDA 3–7 (UK H5)
  • Height: 5ft (1.5m)

This beauty has sublime, semi-double, azure-blue flowers with white eyes. 

Grow it with darker and paler blues to show it off. It will also look dramatic when accompanied by white flowers.

3. 'Purple Velvet'

'Purple Velvet' delphinium

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  • Hardiness: USDA 3–7 (UK H5)
  • Height: 5ft (1.5m)

If you're looking for bold, regal color for your flower beds, then 'Purple Velvet' is one of the best types of delphiniums for you.

With its deep-purple petals and black eyes, it's perfect for creating vertical blocks of color at the back of the border. Whether you include it in a romantic, cottage-style scheme or in a modern garden, it's bound to turn heads.

4. 'Fanfare'

'Fanfare' delphinium

(Image credit: Julie Dansereau/Alamy Stock Photo)
  • Hardiness: USDA 3–7 (UK H5)
  • Height: 6ft (1.8m)

A graceful, pale-mauve delphinium, 'Fanfare' is wonderful for adding a touch of romance to your plot. Look closer, and you'll spot the light blue on its under-petals and white eyes. 

It looks especially lovely next to lemon-yellow flowers – think of the 'Xanthos' or 'Lemonade' types of cosmos, for instance. Plus, it's good for cutting and bringing indoors for stunning floral displays.

5. 'Sungleam'

'Sungleam' delphinium

(Image credit: Avalon.red/Alamy Stock Photo)
  • Hardiness: USDA 3–7 (UK H5)
  • Height: 6ft (1.8m)

With its spires of large, lemon-cream blooms, 'Sungleam' is a lovely choice to light up the back of the border in early summer and again in early autumn.

Try planting alongside achillea, geraniums, or other cottage garden plants for a whimsical scene.

6. 'Langdon's Pandora'

'Langdon's Pandora' delphinium

(Image credit: William Tait/Alamy Stock Photo)
  • Hardiness: USDA 3–7 (UK H5)
  • Height: 5ft (1.5m)

'Langdon's Pandora' has glowing-blue rockets of flowers with black eyes that soar for the skies. It'll grab anyone's attention, including any visiting bees.

Pair it with other bee-friendly plants for a beautiful display that's a haven for wildlife.

7. 'Orpheus'

'Orpheus' delphinium

(Image credit: Alan Gregg/Alamy Stock Photo)
  • Hardiness: USDA 3–7 (UK H5)
  • Height: 5ft (1.5m)

The flowers of 'Orpheus' have mauve-purple petals over marine-blue petals and white eyes. 

A very pretty choice, it'll add instant drama to your plot and looks lovely in a vase, too.

8. 'Conspicuous'

'Conspicuous' delphinium

(Image credit: Alan Curtis/Alamy Stock Photo)
  • Hardiness: USDA 3–7 (UK H5)
  • Height: 5ft (1.5m)

The soft-lilac blooms of 'Conspicuous' with their chocolate eyes look enchanting during the day and in the pale glow of twilight.

These plants are particularly magical when grown en masse as part of your cottage garden ideas.

9. 'Loch Leven'

'Loch Leven' delphinium

(Image credit: Tim Gainey/Alamy Stock Photo)
  • Hardiness: USDA 3–7 (UK H5)
  • Height: 5ft (1.5m)

The blooms of 'Loch Leven' have a painterly effect with their sky-blue, slightly-pink-tinged petals and white eyes. This dreamy choice creates a classic cottage-garden look in early summer borders.

10. 'Rosemary Brock'

'Rosemary Brock' delphinium

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  • Hardiness: USDA 3–7 (UK H5)
  • Height: 5ft (1.5m)

Switch out the classic blue tones for a pretty-in-pink delphinium.

With its dusky-pink flowers and brown eyes, 'Rosemary Brock' is a charming variety and looks wonderful alongside bright white blooms against a sunny garden wall or fence.

11. 'Blue Jade'

'Blue Jade' delphinium

(Image credit: Alan Gregg/Alamy Stock Photo)
  • Hardiness: USDA 3–7 (UK H5)
  • Height: 4ft (1.2m)

Growing to 4ft, 'Blue Jade' is a dwarf delphinium that's ideal for smaller plots. 

With powder-blue petals and chocolate eyes, it makes a beautiful accompaniment to many types of roses in the summer border.

12. 'Pericles'

'Pericles' delphinium

(Image credit: Tim Wright/Alamy Stock Photo)
  • Hardiness: USDA 3–7 (UK H5)
  • Height: 5ft (1.5m)

'Pericles' has gentle-blue flowers with dazzling white eyes. 

Try planting this type of delphinium in front of the best hedging plants – the leafy green tones will highlight its sky-blue pillars.

13. 'Gillian Dallas'

'Gillian Dallas' delphinium

(Image credit: Zena Elea/Alamy Stock Photo)
  • Hardiness: USDA 3–7 (UK H5)
  • Height: 5ft (1.5m)

Beautiful wands of silvery-amethyst flowers with white eyes make 'Gillian Dallas' one of the loveliest cottage-garden delphiniums. Try growing them near your outdoor seating area for a beautiful summer backdrop.

14. 'Guardian White'

'Guardian White' delphinium

(Image credit: Tim Gainey/Alamy Stock Photo)
  • Hardiness: USDA 4–7 (UK H6)
  • Height: 4ft (1.2m)

A favorite of florists, 'Guardian White' looks splendid in the garden with its spires of brilliant white blooms.

Neat and compact, it is a good choice for smaller plots, and will attract plenty of pretty pollinators to your space.

What is the best blue delphinium?

'Blue Nile' is a breathtaking shade of azure and grows to 5ft (1.5m), creating great streaks of intense blue that draw the eye.

Other heart-stopping blues include 'Loch Nevis', 'Molly Buchanan', and 'Fenella'. To really show them off, grow them in front of greenery, such as a hedge. 

'Molly Buchanan' delphinium

'Molly Buchanan' is a beautiful blue delphinium

(Image credit: CHRIS BOSWORTH/Alamy Stock Photo)

What are the best types of delphiniums for cut flowers?

For anyone wanting to grow delphiniums as cutting garden flowers, the perennial Belladonna delphiniums (such as 'Atlantis' and 'Völkerfrieden') – which have widely spaced flowers and don't grow as tall as the Elatums – last well in a vase.

However, many of the types of delphiniums listed above are wonderful for creating dramatic indoor displays if you've got the space. We particularly love 'Orpheus' and 'Guardian White' in a vase.

Holly Crossley
Acting Deputy Editor

The garden was always a big part of Holly's life growing up, as was the surrounding New Forest where she lived. Her appreciation for the great outdoors has only grown since then. She's been an allotment keeper, a professional gardener, and a botanical illustrator – plants are her passion.