How To Grow Lupine Flowers – From Seeds, Cuttings

Introduction on how to grow lupine flowers: Lupine plants can grow up to 12 m (four feet) tall, and their leaves are spiky. Lupine plants enhance the look of a flower bed. There are two kinds of lupine flowers: annuals that last only a season and perennials that return to the same spot for a few years. Lupine roots are very long and are not easily moved. Lupine wildflowers are generally blue or white, but domesticated varieties have flowers in blues, yellows, pinks, and purples. Lupine flowers have large, spikey racemes similar to sweet pea flowers.

A step by step guide to growing lupine flowers from seed and cuttings

Growing lupine flowers
Growing lupine flowers (pic source: pixabay)

 Different types of lupine flowers

  • Large Leaved Lupine
  • Wild Lupine
  • European Yellow Lupine
  • Silvery Lupine
  • White Lupine
  • Arctic Lupine
  • Miniature Lupine
  • Yellow Bush Lupine
  • Riverbank Lupine
  • Arroyo Lupine 

The essentials for growing lupine flowers

Light: A lupine’s best growth and bloom result from at least six hours of direct sunlight on most days. After that, they can grow in partial shade, but their flowering will be reduced. Hot climates, however, benefit from some afternoon shade. Deep shade is not the best place to plant lupines because they generally don’t bloom. For shady conditions, it is best to cut back shrubs and trees that border the lupines so they can receive some sun.

Soil: The flowers have sharp drainage, just like organically rich soil. Although they prefer a neutral to slightly acidic soil pH, they can grow in highly acidic soil conditions.

Water: Lupines prefer to be watered regularly over soggy soil, which can cause root rot. Ensure the soil doesn’t dry out by watering at least weekly if there hasn’t been raining.

Temperature and Humidity: Lupines prefer climates with relatively cool summers. Heat and humidity are not conducive to their growth. However, the plants may not flower if the temperature is too high or too much sunlight. Lupine roots can stay cool and moist by covering the ground with a light layer of mulch in hot climates.

Fertilizer: There is no need to fertilize lupines, and too much fertilizer will encourage excessive foliage growth at the expense of blooms. However, an acidifying fertilizer will help lower the pH of alkaline soils.

How to grow lupine flowers 

Exposure to the sun: Plant lupine in full sun in cool summers, but give them filtered sunlight in warmer climates. Even though full sun is best for blooms, you may need to plant them in partial shade to keep them cool and happy, says Hodgson. For example, if you grow Lupine in the South, find a spot in the garden with afternoon shade.

Soil: Lupine roots can grow deeply into loose, sandy soil because it doesn’t hinder their growth. Before planting, loosen clay soils by working in compost. Lupines also prefer slightly acidic conditions. Adding sulfur to alkaline soil helps lower its PH.

The best time to plant: Direct sow lupin seeds in the garden late in the fall or early in the winter for blooms in the spring. It is also possible to plant the seed in the spring, 4 to 6 weeks before your average last frost date, but your plants will bloom later in the summer. Plant container-grown plants after the danger of frost have passed in the spring.

Planting from seed: It is essential to soften the hard outer shell of lupine seeds before sowing them. It is possible to soak the seeds in warm water for a few hours, or you can smooth them with sandpaper or a small file to help them absorb water.  Keep seeds moist until they germinate by sowing them under loose topsoil at a depth of about 14 inches. Seedlings emerge between 15 and 25 days after being planted.

Using containers to plant: Lupine plants in pots are usually perennial cultivars that you can plant straight in the ground in the spring. Make sure plants are spaced at least 2 to 3 feet apart and loosen the soil sincerely to grow long taproots. If necessary, improve drainage by adding organic matter to the planting hole.

In the garden: Lupines are one of the best plants for creating a solid vertical statement. It is common to see them planted in ensembles of mixed colors in cottage gardens, where they have been a staple since colonial times. They also look great when planted end masse in meadows or wildflower gardens, especially if they grow naturally. Lupines have long taproots and, because of this, are not ideal for use in containers, but their dramatic, spiky blooms can be used in floral arrangements as “thrillers.”

Caring for lupins

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Lupin flower care
Lupin flower care (pic source: pixabay)

Watering: To ensure optimal root growth, maintain an even moisture level in the soil after planting lupines. Your plants can tolerate dryer weather conditions once they are deeply rooted, and water is only necessary during times of drought. In addition, mulch helps keep soil moisture in and roots cool by locking in moisture.

Fertilizing: Because lupines can absorb nitrogen directly from the atmosphere, they grow quite happily in nitrogen-poor soil without the need for additional fertilizers. As a result, the soil in which they grow is enriched.

Pest and disease control: Lupine is susceptible to aphids and powdery mildew, two nemeses that can severely damage its leaves and prevent its flowers from developing. Horticultural oils are often far more effective than natural methods to control aphids (see Eco-Friendly Pest Control). They are also an excellent way to prevent powdery mildew. To encourage healthy new growth, prune affected plants back to the ground as a last resort.

Deadheading and pruning: If you deadhead spent flowers in early fall, the second flush of blooms may occur, particularly in climates with cool summers. In the late summer and early fall, perennial species cut back to the ground when the foliage was yellow.

Propagation: Lupine seeds are the best way to propagate them since they don’t like being divided and transplanted. Instead, allow the flowers to form seedpods rather than deadheading or pruning to encourage self-sowing. It is also possible to propagate perennial specials by taking cuttings from the base of the plant in spring. Lupine cultivars propagated from homegrown seed may, however, not remain true to their original color and may revert to shades of violet.

How to grow lupine flowers seeds

Growing Season: The winter season is ideal for lupine flower seeds.

Sunlight requirement:  Lupine seeds need at least three hours of sunlight per day

Lupine Flower Plant Growing Method:

  • Lupins are grown in pots, containers, and flowerbeds by direct seed sowing.
  • For the best preparation of your garden soil, it should be formed evenly. Furthermore, you need aerated, porous, well-draining soil.
  • The soil should be slightly moist before sowing the seeds.
  • Before planting seeds, let them soak in water for several hours.
  • Plant 2-3 seeds per spot, about twice as deep as their length.
  • Transplant the seedlings into pots or flower beds after about a month.
  • Choose a planting distance of 45-60 cm between plants of the Lupine flower.

Watering: Use a watering can to water Lupin plants every morning with a light shower.

Plant care: Sprayed with appropriate medicines when signs of infestation appear.

Bloom time: After seed germination, plants flower approximately three months later.

Lupins are grown in pots

  • Initially, you will need to start lupin seeds in a 10cm pot and then transplant them later to establish them.
  • If you see roots at the bottom of your Lupin plant, it is time to move it to its final pot. Lupins are adaptable to almost any pot size, but you need bigger pots for more significant flower spikes.
  • The pot size will be determined by whether the Lupin is going to be grown indoors or outdoors. It is possible to use larger pots outside. A minimum of a 50cm pot would be ideal. However, lupins will grow well inside a 30 cm pot or larger if grown indoors.
  • Consider that Lupins grow a large tap root, so you need to consider the width and depth.
  • To improve drainage for potted plants and tall plants, add a little grit to the bottom.  A tomato feed applied every two weeks is a wise choice, as they need regular watering like most potted plants.
  • When growing Lupins in pots, it is essential to remember that they prefer slightly acidic conditions. Water is available either from rainwater or a water butt, so either leave them in a position that is exposed to the elements or fill a water butt.
  • Lupins will be susceptible to frost damage if exposed to the elements all winter if grown in pots. Lupin roots give the plant its strength, so potted lupins need protection over the winter. Put your pots in a sheltered spot such as a greenhouse or cold frame.

How to transplant lupins

1. After the seedlings have produced their second leaves, move the seedling pots outside one week before transplanting. Bring the plants inside at night or if there is a frost warning. During this time, lupines adjust to outdoor conditions.

2. To improve drainage and soil acidity, spread a 1-inch layer of peat moss over the garden bed and till it into the top 6 inches. Then, you can plant in a bed that receives full sun or a bed with partial shade, depending on whether you experience mild or hot summers.

3. Create a planting hole twice as wide and 1/2 inch more profound than the seedling pot.

4. Lupines can be easily removed from pots without disturbing their roots. First, cut through the plastic pot with a utility knife if it does not slide off. Then, remove the root ball from the plastic pot.

5. Prepare the hole for the root ball. To avoid damaging the stem and taproot, handle the Lupine by its top leaves, not its stem or root ball. Damaged leaves can regenerate.

6. Fill in the hole. First, it is essential to water the soil thoroughly to settle the roots. Then, separate the remaining lupines by 18 inches apart.

Growing lupines from cuttings

  • Cuttings are identical to their parent plants, so cuttings are the only way to get a particular variety of Lupine. Take a basal branch cutting in March or April (an outgrowth of around 10cm near the base).
  • Plants put out a robust root system, so it’s best to plant them out while they’re still young. Growing them outside right away is not a problem since they’re pretty hardy.
  • Taking cuttings from Lupine plants
  • Use a sharp blade to cut a stem of a mature plant and make sure part of the original stem remains attached.
  • Once you have the cutting, strip all the leaves except the top pair. The best thing to do is to extend it a few centimeters over the top of the cutting. As a result, it serves as additional support as the Lupine grows.
  • To keep the heat and moisture in, drape some plastic over the skewer and secure it with an elastic band on the side of the pot. It’s essential for budding cuttings. Allow some fresh air and ventilation each day by taking this off for about 30 minutes.
  • Plant when ready, ideally in the sun. If you want to be gentle with lupines, give them space and try to be as kind as you can.

Lupine flowers grown throughout the season

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Lupins (Image source: pixabay)

Growth Habit: Lupine is a rounded shrub that grows from 12″ to 48″ wide, depending on the variety. The flowers are densely packed on several spikes above the foliage and look like peas.

Staking: If you have the time, it would be wise to stake Russell hybrids and taller species. High winds can blow the flower spikes over so that a curve is formed as it attempts to grow back toward the sun. Tiny wildflowers do not require staking.

Watering: During the first few months of growing lupins in your garden, ensure they get adequate water for root development (they have deep roots), but let the soil dry between watering. After that, water only during times of drought or parched weather.

Fertilizing: Additional fertilizer is unnecessary, and compost is helpful if not placed too near the crown.

Mulching: In hotter climates, mulch is not a bad idea, but it mustn’t touch the plant’s crown and cause stem rot.

Trimming & Pruning: The Lupine can bloom again on side shoots if immediately deadheaded. A flower that has already begun forming seeds in its lower parts is unlikely to repeat its bloom. The foliage is not as attractive after blooming and can often suffer from mildew in the garden. As completely cutting it back can kill or weaken the plant, many gardeners choose to remove the plants entirely and grow Lupine as biennials, planting new spring-grown plants in the fall for the following season. Unfortunately, the humidity is incredibly oppressive at the southern limits of its heat hardiness.

End of Season Care: Significantly, if you grow lupines to bloom next spring, it’s wise to place them where you intend to see them. As lupines get more prominent, their roots become more profound, and they are more difficult to transplant. Furthermore, they start growing very early in the spring when digging and transplanting might not be a good idea. In the winter months, make sure Lupine is not planted near a place that will become too wet, making the plant hard to recover. It is challenging to divide lupine plants due to their deep taproot, which makes dividing them difficult. In hot and humid climes, where it is not suited, Lupine can suffer from powdery mildew. There are no other significant pests associated with this plant other than pill bugs (rely-polys, sow bugs) that eat the seeds and seedlings. Prevent birds from eating seeds by planting them lightly in the soil before planting.

Additional Concerns: Lupin seeds are grown for human consumption in some world regions, so many assume edible. However, some cultivars and hybrids of these are toxic. Therefore, it’s best not to use the seeds in any culinary way and instruct children not to eat the pealike seeds.

Pests and diseases for lupine plants

Lupines are susceptible to several pests and diseases. Aphids, slugs, and snails are common in spring. In addition, plants can be infected with more severe diseases by pests carried by horticultural oils and pesticides.

There is also a possibility of brown spot fungus developing on lupines. Remove and destroy affected plants, and do not grow lupines for several years. As a result, the spores are given time to die. Further, powdery mildew can hurt lupines if the plants do not receive adequate ventilation. There are multiple chemical and organic methods to prevent or treat this fungal disease as white, powdery patches on foliage. Alternatively, you can remove the leaves and wait for them to regrow.

Tips for growing lupine flowers

  • Provide an even level of moisture in the soil. It prevents evaporation and maintains a constant moisture level.
  • Follow the expert’s recommendations for proper nutrition.
  • Lupines need a lot of sunlight to grow.
  • It is essential to moisture the soil evenly after planting lupines for roots to grow well. They can withstand drier conditions because they are deeply rooted, and they only need water during periods of drought. A layer of mulch will help retain moisture in the soil and keep the roots healthy.
  • Lupines can absorb nitrogen directly from the atmosphere, so they do well in soils low in nitrogen without additional fertilizers. The soil they grow in is enriched as a result.
  • Aphids and powdery mildew, two of Lupine’s main enemies, can disfigure its leaves and prevent it from producing flowers, causing extensive damage.
  • Although several natural ways to control aphids, vegetable oils are generally more effective and help prevent powdery mildew. To encourage healthy growth, prune back the affected plants into the soil as a last resort.
  • In areas with cold summers, dead, withered flowers often stimulate a second bloom in early winter. Then, after the foliage turns yellow at the end of the season, you can cut the perennials back to the ground.
  • Lupines don’t like to be divided and transplanted, so the best way to propagate them is from seeds. Pruning and pruning, as well as allowing flowers to form pods, aim to encourage self-sowing.
  • It is also possible to propagate perennials from cuttings taken in the spring from the plant’s base. However, lupines from locally grown seeds will sometimes revert to dark purple colors and fail to keep their original color.

Commonly asked questions about growing lupine flowers

1. What are the best places to grow lupines?

Loving moist locations, Lupine thrives in easy-to-grow conditions. Sun or light shade, average soil would be best, but it can grow in sandy, dry soils. A rototiller or garden fork can loosen large taproots in soil 12 to 20 inches deep. Clay will not support their growth.

2. What is the best way to plant lupine seeds?

Seeds do well if they’re soaked for 24 to 48 hours or roughened between two sheets of sandpaper before planting. After that, cover lightly with soil (approximately 1/8″) and tamp down well, making sure the seeds are well-connected to the soil.

3. What are the care requirements for potted Lupine?

To ensure good root development, keep the soil evenly moist after planting lupines. When your plants have deep roots, they can tolerate dryer conditions and only require water in times of drought. Mulch will help keep the soil moist and cool by locking in moisture

4. After the lupins have flowered, do you cut them back?

If you have lupins growing in your garden, now is the time to cut them back. The first step in promoting flower growth is to remove old, faded flowers. It is called deadheading, and gardeners do it so they can achieve a second bloom.

5. What is the rooting time for Lupin cuttings?

Three to four weeks. Check the cuttings every three to four weeks to see if they have rooted. Once the cutting has grown roots, plant it in a peat pot filled with quality potting soil. Grow the lupine plant to a size that won’t disappear from the landscape.

6. Can you tell me how wide the lupine plant’s spread?

Lupines don’t spread from individual plants. Instead, they grow more significant roots and produce more flower stalks as they get older. Lupine pods open in the late summer or early August and release dozens of pealike seeds per plant.

7. What are the ideal conditions for lupines?

Almost all lupins prefer well-drained soil in full sun. However, shade is not a good place to plant, as flowering will be poor.

8. How much water do Lupines need?

Approximately one inch of rain is needed per week, according to the consensus. Therefore, we recommend watering the plants every three or four days. It is ideal for keeping the soil moist.


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