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Allan designs and plants flowering gardens in Montreal, Zone 5 [USDA Zone 4] .

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A New Millennium for Perennial Delphinium

I had a love-hate relationship with Delphiniums for as long as I have been gardening. I stopped growing them many years ago. That was due to never having the time to give these awesome plants the attention they deserve. Now, I am ready to reconsider, but not for using the good old favorite, Pacific Giant Hybrids, which are not good, not my favorite, just old. I wish to experiment with a new robust strain called New Millennium. Word is out that this new collection has an extended life. That is hard to believe, but it’s an incentive to try growing Delphinium, again. Here is what I have learned about the New Millennium strain:

  • It was developed and continues to be bred by Dowdeswell Delphiniums of New Zealand.
  • In 2008, New Millennium was garden tested and compared to the Pacific Giant Hybrids, at The Butchart Gardens of Victoria, British Columbia. The new strain proved to be vigorous, healthy, and produced an abundance of long lasting blooms.
  • In the spring of 2010, the Van Dusen Botanical Gardens of Vancouver, B.C. will be adding this strain to their garden.
  • This strain was singled out by horticulturalist Tom Fischer in his latest book, The Gardeners Color Palette, as being superior to the Pacific Giant Hybrids.

For those new to this perennial, here are a few details:-

  • Delphiniums grow in zones 3 to 7, in full sun to part shade.
  • Plant in the spring, 2 feet apart; some West Coast sources suggest  3 feet.
  • Place the crown of the perennial above ground to prevent rot.
  • New Millennium grows to 6 feet tall; some West Coast sources report that it will reach 8 feet.
  • Stake plants when planting. Do not leave it for another day. That is not an option. The gardener that ignores this step will be heartbroken. The stems of the Delphinium will be broken, as well.
  • Delphiniums bloom in early summer and may re bloom later, if cut down 4 inches from the ground after flowering.
  • Feed this plant heavily, every season. That too, is not optional.
  • Apply mulch.
  • Plant looks best by year 2 and needs dividing by year three, to assure propagation.

American gardeners should try to locate nurseries in their areas by contacting the two known wholesalers, Skagit Gardens at sales@skagit, or Valleybrook Gardens, aka Heritage Perennials:-visit their Retailer Locator page at

Canadian readers in Quebec will find stock at Jardins Michel Corbeil, in Ste Eustache, Quebec. For dealers in other parts of Canada, contact Dowdeswell, at

If Delphinium New Millennium is not stocked at nurseries, consider growing it from seed, available directly from the breeder at

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Reader Comments (5)

Allan, I've been growing New Milleneum delphinium for several years (you're looking at them in my blog header photo); I'm lucky to have a local nursery that grows them from seed. I have been very happy with them and have found them much easier and longer lasting than older varieties. In my garden, they usually bloom twice in the season. They are still delphinium, though, and some years I will just lose some of them. I will reiterate your point about feeding them; I've found I need to feed them early in the season and then again after the first blooming. -Jean

March 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJean

Allan, based on your article, I miight even give them a chance again. Like you, I gave up several years ago because they were expensive and not holding up.


March 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEileen

I had given up too. I may just give them another go now. Thx for the tip.

March 3, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermiss m

Wonderful post... Very informational and educational as usual!

Acai Optimum

March 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAcai Berry

Thanks for this Fantastic post.

I always had great interest in
caring for orchids for some time time now and i did not take take time to find out that there are other beautiful flowers out there.

Thanks to you I will definitely try to plant some New Milleneum delphinium soon.

November 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterToni

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