Flowing fields of wild lupines color the northern countryside in early summer. Tall spires loaded with individual flowerets appear to spiral upward tapering to a single flower. These hardy flowers range from white and delicate pinks to deep hues of blue and purple. Cultivated varieties capture the color palette from brilliant red to stunning salmon. Growing lupines in the perennial bed guarantees a striking display of color for weeks in early summer.
Start lupine seeds inside eight to 12 weeks before the last expected frost in your area for summer blooms. Seeds direct seeded in the garden will not bloom until the following year.
Soak lupine seeds overnight in tepid water to soften the seed coat and speed germination.
Sow seeds in moist seed starter to a depth of 1/4 inch. Cover with seed starter and firm down with your hands.
Water to moisten the seeds, and keep soil moist until seedlings appear. Germination occurs in 21 to 28 days.
Keep soil moist until seedlings develop the first set of leaves. Reduce water allowing soil to dry slightly between waterings.
Move seedlings to a sunny location. Pot in individual pots once seedlings are 4 inches high.
Apply water-soluble fertilizer at one-fourth strength on a weekly basis.
Plant outside in a prepared bed once the danger of frost has passed in your area. Space seedlings 18 inches apart in a sunny area. Plant lupines in full sun in northern climates with cool summers. In southern climates, lupines require partial shade or shelter from the hot afternoon sun.
Water deeply once a week to saturate the soil to the root level.
Apply water-soluble fertilizer once or twice a month the first year. Follow the recommended application rate on the container. Fertilize in early spring and at six week intervals until August on successive years.