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A good stand of larkspur has always been an elusive prize for me. Every fall I sow larkspur seeds and every spring I am disappointed by their lack luster performance. But call me a Pollyanna; I think this is going to be the year that my efforts will be rewarded.

This year I tried a little trick a fellow gardener suggested and chilled the seeds in the refrigerator for about a week before I planted them. This is supposed to improve the germination rate. I also selected a location with full sun and good drainage. I suspect that in the past the seeds sprouted in soil that was too wet.

Larkspur Just the other day I noticed that the seeds in my garden had already begun to sprout. If all goes well, I'll have a beautiful drift of deep blue larkspur blooms by late April or early May.

In my zone 7 garden and other mild winter climates it is best to sow larkspur in mid-fall because the seeds need cool soil temperatures to germinate (50 to 60 degrees F). I try to get the seeds in the ground before November. If you live in a region where winters are cold and the growing season is short you are better off planting pots of larkspur purchased at a garden center in spring rather than trying to grow them from seed. Or try the summer annual angelonia. My new favorite is 'Angelface Blue®'. It will give you the same look as larkspur, but bloom continuously until fall.