Lupin Plant – Planting, Grow, and Caring Tips

Lupin is a great genus of beautiful plants, represented in Europe, Asia, and North and South America, whose poisonous properties are apparently distributed very unevenly and unevenly. Let us check out in details on how to plant, grow, and care for lupin plants.

Some of the lupin species are grown only as ornamental, but other lupin varieties are grown as fodder and, if lupin not overfed, these are highly nutritious and healthy.

If the seeds of certain species are consumed in a more or less mature state, it is likely that poisoning will occur, sometimes affecting a large number of animals. These poisoning accidents occurred in Europe and the United States.

How to plant and grow Lupines

Lupines are as simple as planting seeds or seedlings in a sunny area with well-drained soil. Lupines prefer to grow in rich, slightly acidic soils in full sun. In a suitable location, they require very little care other than removing spent flowers to encourage additional flowering.

Lupin Plant
Lupin Plant flowering

But these plants do not like hot, humid climates and can languish during the mid-summer months. Tall Russell lupine hybrids can benefit from cuts. You can use growing grid stakes to avoid having to tie individual stems to stakes. These perennials are short-lived, so don’t expect them to live longer than a few years.

In the past, people believed that lupine flowers absorbed all the nutrients in the soil, giving rise to their common name, derived from the Latin word for wolf. However, the Lupines plants are members of the family Pea, Fabaceae, and peas, plants are able to fix nitrogen in the soil.

When planting seed lupines, scrape the seed surface or soak the seeds overnight in warm water to allow the seed coat to penetrate easily.

Direct sowing of lupine seeds in the fall is perhaps the simplest method. Lupines produce seeds that will produce more flowers the following year if they are not removed from the growing lupine. The medium soil is best for growing lupines.

Use this feature and plant lupines in areas of the landscape that have not been composted or otherwise corrected.

Lupine seeds can also be cooled for a week in the refrigerator before planting. This can also be achieved by planting lupine seeds in the fall and allowing Mother Nature to cool down for the winter.

How to Grow Lupins from Seeds

Lupines grow so easily from seeds that this is the normal method of cultivation. Lupines will be easily planted in the garden, but volunteers from hybrid plants do not come true with hybrid plants.

Lupine seeds have a very hard outer shell that must be softened before sowing. You can do this by dipping the seeds in warm water for a few hours or scarifying them with sandpaper or a small file to help them absorb the water.

Sow seeds about ¼ inches below the topsoil and keep them evenly moist until germination. Seedlings will appear 15 to 25 days after sowing.

Lupine caring tips

Adopt these best tips to care of your lupins plant:

Tips-1: Irrigation

After planting lupines, keep the soil evenly moist to ensure good root development. Since their plants are deeply rooted, they can tolerate drier conditions and will only need water during periods of drought. Apply a layer of mulch will help retain the moisture in the soil and keep the fresh roots.

Tips-2: Fertilizer

Due to lupines’ ability to absorb nitrogen directly from the atmosphere, they grow very well in soils that are low in nitrogen, without the need for additional fertilizers. In fact, they enrich the soil in which they grow.

Tips-3: Pest and disease control

Aphids and powdery mildew are the biggest enemies of lupine and can cause a lot of damage by disfiguring the leaves and inhibiting the development of flowers.

While there are several natural methods you can use to keep aphids under control, vegetable oils are generally more effective and also do a good job of preventing powdery mildew. As a last resort, prune the affected plants back into the soil to encourage healthy new growth.

  • Pest control for vegetable garden (Best Organic Ways)

Tips-4: Pruning and header

Dead withered flowers often encourage a second flower appearance in early autumn, especially in areas with cold summers. As soon as the foliage starts to turn yellow at the end of the season, you can cut the perennial species back to the ground.

Tips-5: Propagation

Since lupines do not like to be divided and transplanted, the best way to propagate them is by seed. To encourage self-sowing, avoid pruning and pruning, and allow the flowers to form pods.

Perennials can also be propagated from cuttings taken from shoots at the base of the plant in the spring. Be aware that lupine cultivars propagated from locally grown seeds may not remain true to the original color and will often revert to purple tones.

Lupine caring tips

How to grow Lupins from cuttings?

The plant is rarely propagated by cutting because the long axial root is usually damaged during the process. Lupine cuttings, harvested in early spring, produce an exact duplicate of the parent plant. Fill the cultivation containers with coarse sand.

Moisten the sand and allow the containers to drain so that there is no standing water. The sand should be construction or masonry sand, not play sand. Playing is very fine and holds water.

Cut the stem of a mature lupine with a sharp knife or razor blade. The nail should have a “heel” or a small section of the original nail attached to the basal end of the cut. A well-harvested cut will look as if a flap of the parent plant’s bark is still attached to the end of the cut stem.

Remove all leaves from the stems of the lupine, except the upper part, holding the upper part of the stem with one hand and sliding the rest of the stem between your index finger and thumb. Make a horizontal cut in half of the remaining leaves so that the leaves are half the original size. Glue the cuttings to the coarse sand and firm the sand around the stem.

Insert wooden skewers or bamboo poles into the sand along the outer edge of each cultivation container. Keep the tips of the piles about 2 to 3 inches above the lupine piles.

Cover the cultivation container with a clear plastic film so that the cuttings are covered, but the plastic rests on the cuttings. Hold the plastic in place with an elastic band around the top edge of the container.

Grow the lupine until the size is such that it is not lost in the landscape. Remove the bottom of the peat pot and plant the potted lupine in the garden in a sunny location. This prevents the roots from being disturbed because lupines don’t like to be transplanted.   

Propagating lupins from seed

Lupines don’t come true with seeds, so if you plant seeds from a pack, your lupines will likely grow in a variety of colors. Experts recommend soaking the seed the night before sowing to promote germination.

For best chances of survival, sow in a seed tray from February to September and keep it in a greenhouse or on a window sill. Stay here until they have four leaves, then plant in the garden. They prefer rooms kept just below room temperature (15-20 degrees) and when conditions are right, they sprout about two weeks after planting.

Lupine can be grown from seeds, cuttings, or divisions. If grown from seeds, germination increases considerably with 7-day cold treatment.

Place the seeds and paper towels slightly moist in a Ziploc bag and keep in the refrigerator. Another method would be to soak them in warm water for a period of 24 hours. The treated seeds can be sown directly on a bed in the spring or summer until August 1st.

The best time to plant raw lupine seeds outdoors is between September and November.

Plants grown from seeds will bloom in the first year. Cut the flowers used to extend the flowering period. Apply an organic fertilizer once a month to promote healthy plants and large flowers.

How to Deadhead Lupins?

Lupines are easily deadheaded when most of the flowers on a spike wither and before drying and giving seeds, deadhead by cutting the spike with a sharp knife or garden shears. Make the cut on the stem just behind the ear, at a point where you see small growth shoots.

They usually form in the leaf armpit, the junction between the leaf and the stem. Prevent the spread of plant diseases by disinfecting the knife or blades and rubbing them with isopropyl alcohol after each cut.

After you deadhead a lupine, give it a good amount of moisture to help the plant have a second display of strong flowers, which usually occurs several weeks later. Make sure that the plant receives at least 1 inch of water per week.

This is especially important during periods of drought, which can stress the lupine and interfere with the formation of new flower buds. To avoid the growth of fungi, watering the lupins in the root area

How to grow Lupins in Pots?

Lupins will grow very well in a large pot. Place a piece of broken clay over the drain hole to prevent sludge from blocking the hole. Fill with good quality clay-based compost mixed with a little horticultural sand to improve drainage. You will need to watch the watering and keep it moist.

Once the plant has grown in the early summer a little feed of fertilizer with high potassium content, it must ensure that it continues to flourish throughout the summer.

Sow the seeds as soon as they are ripe in a good quality clay seed compound. Place it in a cold frame or an unheated greenhouse.

Unfortunately, they are not made of seeds, so you are lucky as to the colors you will get. Drill in 3”pots when 4 real leaves form. Use a 50/50 mixture of compost made of loam and fine sand.

If you want an exact copy of the parent plant, you will have to split the plant in the spring, not in the fall, as this will kill it, or harvest basal cuttings in the spring. Place the seedlings in a 50/50 mixture of clay-based compost and fine sand. Place it in a cold frame or an unheated greenhouse.

Are Lupins easy to grow?

Yes. Lupins are easy to grow. Lupins prefer a position in full sun, but they also grow well in half shade, they do not grow well in full shade. They grow well in a wide variety of soil conditions, although calcareous and/or flooded soil is a problem if not improved before planting.

If the soil is too clayey, too much sand dug in the planting area will greatly increase your chances of surviving rainy winters. Although lupines grow to about 150 cm/5 feet in height, they are surprisingly strong plants, even in exposure and wind conditions.

Are Lupins easy to grow
Are Lupins easy to grow

Lupines will grow across the UK and Ireland, withstanding frost down to -25 ° C.

Planting lupines is simple, dig the areas where it will be planted well and spray some blood, fish, and bones to get into the soil. Dig a hole for each plant and plant at the same depth as it was in the pot. Lupines grow from crowns and if planted too deep they rot, if planted too shallow they may not establish well. Water well. The planting distance between each lupine should be 30 to 45 cm.

Do Lupins come back every year?

Yes. Lupines are perennial shrubs (they grow year after year) that start to grow after the last frost, produce their first flower bud in late May/June and can continue to bloom until early August, if properly killed.

Lupin plant problems

There are some possible diseases of lupines, some more common than others. Each must be treated accordingly:

#1 Brown spot

Leaves, stems and seed pods can develop brown spots and cancer, and fall prematurely. The disease is transmitted through spores that live in the soil under the plants. After an outbreak of brown spots, do not replant lupines in the same location for several years to allow time for the spores to die.

#2 Anthracnose

The stems grow twisted and at odd angles, with lesions about to twist. This can sometimes be treated with fungicides. Blue lupines are often the source of anthracnose, so removing and destroying blue lupines can help.

#3 Cucumber mosaic virus

This plant disease is more likely to be transmitted by aphids. The affected plants are stunted, pale and twisted downwards. There is no cure for the cucumber mosaic virus and the affected lupines must be destroyed.

#4 Sclerotinia stem rot  

A white, cotton-like fungus grows around the stem and parts of the plant above it wilt and die. The fungus lives in the soil and mainly affects plants in humid regions. Do not replant the lupine in the same place for several years after the rot of the Sclerotinia stem.

#5 Oedema

With Oedema, watery lesions and blisters appear throughout the plant, as the disease causes it to drink more water than it needs. Reduce irrigation and increase sun exposure, if possible; the problem should go away.

#6 Powdery mildew

A gray, white or black powder appears on the leaves of plants that have powdery mildew. This is usually the result of excessive or inadequate watering. Remove the affected parts of the plant and water only the base of the plant, keeping the leaves dry. 

#7 Additional issues

When lupines are self-sown, they generally do not reproduce in the same way; successive plants can revert to the blue color of the parental species (L. polyphylla). To maintain the desired color of the hybrids, cut off the flower heads before the seeds ripen.

Some wild species of lupine (L. polyphyllus) are toxic to most animals, and people should also avoid ingesting them, although a large dose is required to cause symptoms.

How to plant Lupin roots?

You can plant lupin root by adopting these methods:

  • Place the seedling pots outside a week before transplanting and after the seedlings produce their second set of leaves. Bring the plants in the evening or if there is a warning of frost. Lupines adapt to external conditions during this period.   
  • Spread a 1-inch layer of peat moss over the garden bed and up to the top 15 centimeters to improve drainage and acidity of the soil. Select a bed that receives full sun if your region has mild summers, or plant in a partially shaded bed in areas with hot summers. 
  • Dig the planting hole 1/2 inch deeper than the seedling pot and twice as wide.     
  • Slide the lupine out of the pot without touching the root. If the pot does not slide, carefully cut the plastic pot with a knife and remove it from the root. 
  • Place the root ball in the prepared hole. Handle the lupine by the upper leaves, not by the stem or root, to avoid damaging the stem and main root. Damaged leaves can grow back.
  • Fill the hole with dirt. Plenty of water to settle the soil around the roots. Additional space for lupines 18 inches apart.        

How to plant Lupin bulbs?

The easiest way to propagate lupines is to plant bulb in the spring. Lupines also planted by themselves in the garden, so raising seedlings with a garden trowel and placing them in pots is also an excellent way for new generating plants.

Like many other tall flowering perennials, lupines are benefit from a sheltered spot. Grow them to the back of an edge. Avoid planting them in containers, as they grow weakly and may be susceptible to aphid attacks, as they grow much better in the soil.

In fact, lupines are not meant to come from seeds, so lupines grown from seeds can bloom in a mixture of colors. The lupines can be divided in spring (not fall), but the division may be complicated because the plants have a strong central root.

How to plant Lupin bulbs
How to plant Lupin bulbs

Lupine companion plants

Lupines are colorful flowers that vary in size from just under 30 to 60 inches in height. This size, like the structure of the lupine, makes not all flowers compatible when planted nearby. Fortunately, several species of flowers are tall and easy to grow alongside the lupine without appearing overshadowed.

#1 Iris

The iris shares growth requirements similar to those of the lupine, without stealing the highlight of the blue cone-shaped flowers. Iris is known for their wide, delicate petals that tend to curve downward at the edges.

This flower is available in several colors that are complementary to lupines, including yellow, white, pink and red. Iris grows 20 to 27 centimeters in height and grows in various types of soil, from sand to clay. Like lupines, they are drought-tolerant and grow in full sun or partial shade.

#2 Shasta Daisies

Blooming in clusters of white flowers 1 to 2 feet wide, Shasta daisies provide a thick, rigid border for flower beds that have lupines. These flowers prefer full sun and well-drained soil and are slightly drought tolerant.

Like lupines, Shasta daisies bloom in summer and fall. In addition, Shasta daisies attract butterflies and bring colorful life to the garden.

#3 Columbine

Another shade-tolerant plant that does well with lupine is the columbine. In contrast to the rising cone shape of the lupine, the columbines have descending bell-shaped flowers and are available in various colors, from bright red to pastel orange and yellow.

Hawks grow in most types of soil and are moderately drought tolerant. They bloom from mid spring to late summer.

#4 Oriental Poppies

Poppies require little maintenance, are drought tolerant, grow in various types of soil, from sandy to clayey, and bloom in early summer, maintaining their color until mid-autumn. These flowers are available in several bright colors that complement the lupines and feature large flowers up to 6 inches wide.

Do Lupines spread?

Yes. Lupines spread. Lupines are a legume, related to beans, peas, carob, peanuts, lobster, peas, and clover. They usually have nodules of beneficial nitrogen-fixing bacteria growing on their roots, which help the plant grow by transforming the nitrogen in the air into nitrates that the plant can use. This allows lupines to grow vigorously in poor soils.

In fact, lupines improve the soil in which they grow. Individual lupines do not propagate. As they age, the root grows and sends out more flower stems.

Lupines, however, produce dozens of cabbage-like seeds per plant, which are dispersed when the fruit opens in late July or early August. This results in many lupine seedlings surrounding the parent plant the following spring.

The quickest and easiest way to quickly expand your lupine bed is to save your own seeds, a practice that will produce 50 to 100 times more lupine seedlings than letting nature take its course unaided.

Why have my Lupins died?

The cause of the sudden death of lupines was identified as a root rot caused by the fungus Phytophthora transmitted by the soil. Consequently, the disease will now be known as root rot Phytophthora of lupines.

The root rot by Phytophthora has not been recognized previously as disease lupines in Australia and only in very limited situations around the world. The sudden wilting and death of the plants of lupine in a few days during pod filling is indicative of the disease.

The leaves suddenly turn yellow and fall off, usually within 24 hours, and a sunken, dark brown lesion can spread from the base and often to one side of the stem.

Infected plants have a rotten main root when removed from the soil. The main root is woody in appearance with little remaining external tissue and few, if any, lateral roots.

Lupin brown spot treatment

Adopt this treatment to get rid of lupin brown spot:

  • The concentration of spores in the soil decreases in non-host cultures; consequently, longer rotations reduce the risk of brown spot infection. 
  • Planting lupines in retained cereal stubbles reduces spore rain spills from the soil on the foliage.   
  • The application of fungicides for seed treatment based on iprodione or procymidone drastically reduces the brown spot infection of seedlings.
  • Factors that promote seedling vigor and canopy closure include early planting, adequate nutrition, careful use of herbicides, higher planting rates, and planting in favorable soil to reduce the impact of disease.
  • There are slight differences in brown spot tolerance between narrow leaf lupine varieties, but this does not eliminate the need for other management approaches.
  • Leaf sprays are ineffective.

Lupine Leaves Curling up

Lupine leave curling is usually caused by some type of infestation, such as aphids or whiteflies. Examine the plant closely for pests, they can be very small. Treating plants with a pesticide will help to clarify it. If the pests are not on the leaves, the problem with lupines appears to be a reaction to chemicals.

This may be because something was sprayed or applied to control broadleaf weeds or possibly manure that was applied to the area that contained chemical contaminants. If it’s chemical damage, it doesn’t seem to have killed the plants, but it certainly stunted their growth and could have an impact on their ability to produce nutrients in the next year. They can be smaller with smaller flowers.

Why are my Lupin flowers small?

Lupin flower remain small if they not get proper nutrients from soil and other reason of small flowers of lupins are environmental factors.

Why are my Lupin flowers small

Lupines need a little sun to bloom, but not much. If you plant lupines in deep shade, they will not bloom. The remedy is to prune neighboring shrubs and trees. Another possible cause of non-flowering is too much sun or high temperatures, especially in early summer.

Lupines prefer the cold sun to the scorching summer sun. If you planted lupines in an area above the US Department of Agriculture’s recommendations or in a hot spot in your garden, consider a transplant. Lupines are resistant, in bloom, and much larger. They will grow quickly when the heat and the sun return and bloom later in the year.

Lupin flowers dropping off

Lupines may drop its flower due to high temperature/low temperature, low nutrients availability, low or high water application and also due to low plant to plant distance.

Tips to prevent the fall of flowers

  • Keep the soil evenly moist. The mulch helps prevent water evaporation and maintains a uniform moisture level.
    • Give proper nutrient as per expert’s suggestions.
    • Plant lupins in a place where they receive the right amount of sunlight.

Bugs that attack Lupins

Aphids and bubble beetles are the two most common bugs of lupine. These bugs can damage the health and appearance of the lupine. Heavy bug infestations generally respond best to a combination of cultural control methods and insecticidal chemicals.

The five species of aphids found in lupines in Western Australia are presented. The three most common species are:

  • Cowpea aphid (Aphis craccivora)
  • Aphids green- blue (Acyrthosiphon kondoi)
  • Green peach aphid (Myzus persicae)

How do you revive Lupins

You can revive your lupins by identification of the problem that it faced. If problem was severe then chances of revival was low but if minor attack was seen on lupin plant then you can easily revive your plant.

  • If Lupins seems to be dry due to temporary impact of being transplanted. You just like to water it deeply and slowly
  • If the damage was from pests then you need to take immediate action against this pest.
  • If the damage was from temperature then you may repot the lupin to revive it.

Here is the short guidance to avoid your lupin from going toward revival mode.

  • They prefer neutral to slightly acidic soil but are tolerant of most other soils, even those low in nutrients. They will not grow successfully on calcareous soils. 
  • They prefer moist, well-drained soil, but can be grown in most garden conditions. They don’t like being filled with water, which can rot the crown. 
  • It prefers a position in full sun, although they can be successfully grown in light shade.
  • They grow to a height of 1 m to 1.2 m (3 feet to 4 feet), depending on the soil and climatic conditions. They stand on their own, even in windy conditions, and do not need stakes.
  • They are best viewed as a group of plants (five or more) or interspersed in a mixed flower bed.
  • They can suffer a lot from aphids.
  • Slugs and snails love to eat them, especially young plants.
  • They suffer from very few diseases and are generally healthy plants. No particular knowledge is needed to cultivate them. 

They resist frost and cold very well and will hibernate across the UK.

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Now, you can try the beautiful lupin plant in your garden. It answers all the FAQs for lupin plants:

  • How to plant and grow Lupines
  • How to Grow Lupins from Seeds
  • Lupine caring tips
  • How to grow Lupins from cuttings?
  • Propagating lupins from seed
  • How to Deadhead Lupins?
  • How to grow Lupins in Pots?
  • Are Lupins easy to grow?
  • Do Lupins come back every year?
  • Lupin plant problems
  • How to plant Lupin roots?
  • How to plant Lupin bulbs?
  • Lupine companion plants
  • Do Lupines spread?
  • Why have my Lupins died?
  • Lupin brown spot treatment
  • Lupine Leaves Curling up
  • Why are my Lupin flowers small?
  • Lupin flowers dropping off
  • Bugs that attack Lupins
  • How do you revive Lupins