Lupins Care Guide

Lupins Care Guide

Ideal Soil for Lupins

The latin name for lupin, Lupinus, is derived from lupus meaning wolf or destroyer. Because lupins will grow in poor soil they have also attracted the misleading idea that they can destroy the fertility of the soil. This is not true; lupins make their own nitrogen enabling them to grow in poorer soils but not chalk. Ideally a well drained, neutral to slightly acidic soil will ensure 100% success but most soils will be fine.

Climate Tolerated by Lupins

Pretty much any climate will be tolerated by lupins. They are very hardy herbaceous perennials, withstanding frost to at least -25C. In very wet conditions, lupins may succumb to crown rot but if well established, will survive most conditions.

Planting Position for Lupins

Just like us lupins love the sun and their flower spikes will follow its movement east to west on a bright day. However, we have lupins growing on a north facing site which thrive just as happily. Full sun is said to improve the colour of the flower spikes too.

Uses for Lupins

Because lupins flower primarily in the month of flaming June they coincide with a popular time for couples tying the knot. If you want to be original take some beautiful lupin florets as confetti, strip the blooms just before you set off. As a statement plant in the border, few plants can match the tall, colourful lupin spire. They make excellent pot plants too which is not an idea usually associated with this genus. Put one or two on your patio and enjoy a heavenly morning and evening scent reminiscent of peppery moss.

More Lupin Tips Care and Tip Guides

  1. Buy quality hardy lupins and/or quality seed.
  2. Sowing Seed - sow from February to September either in a seed tray or if only a few seed, sow altogether in a deep pot. This can be done in a cold greenhouse, coldframe or window sill. When your lupin seedling has at least 4 true leaves, pot on into a 3"/9cm to grow on. When rooted, plant your lupin firmly where it is to flower, be it in a pot (yes, you can grow lupins in pots) or in a garden and water it in. Lupins do not come true so yours will be a lovely rainbow mix of colours.
  3. Plugs. Your plugs needs to be potted firmly into a 3"/9cm pot and grown on till the roots show at the bottom. Water sparingly and from the base if possible. A general purpose peat based compost is ideal.
  4. Planting out 3"/9cm pots- make sure you plant firmly and water in just once. Don't keep watering - let the plant's roots find water and so establish properly.
  5. Feeding - Use bonemeal in the autumn and calcified seaweed. A high potash feed of tomato feed or Vitax will give good flower colour if in pots. Do not use farmyard manure, even well rotted, as it will rot the crowns. Lupins do not need feeding once in the ground as they have nitrogen fixing nodules on their roots which capture all the nitrogen they require from the air.

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