Delphinium cardinale

Common Name: cardinal larkspur 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Ranunculaceae
Native Range: California, Baja California
Zone: 7 to 10
Height: 3.00 to 6.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to July
Bloom Description: Red
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Hummingbirds
Tolerate: Deer, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil


Best grown in evenly moist to dry, rocky to sandy, well-draining soils in full sun to part shade. Prefers some afternoon shade in hot, dry, inland areas compared to full sun in coastal areas. Requires a dry dormant period in summer. Cut back on additional irrigation at this time. Hardy in Zones 7-10.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Delphinium cardinale, commonly called cardinal larkspur or scarlet larkspur, is a herbaceous perennial native from coastal southern California to northern Baja California, where it is found on dry, chaparral slopes. The dissected, basal foliage can be absent at flowering, which occurs from late spring into mid-summer. The bright red, 1" diameter blooms are held on upright flowering racemes that can reach up to 6' tall. Highly attractive to hummingbirds.

Genus name comes from the Greek word delphis meaning dolphin in reference to the flower bud shape of some species purportedly resembling a dolphin.

The specific epithet cardinale means "cardinal", in reference to the color of the blooms.


A showy addition to rock gardens, native gardens, and bird gardens.