How to Care for a Lupine Plant


Lupines produce an abundance of small blossoms along their tall flower spikes in spring and summer. As a short-lived perennial, lupines are more like annuals in that they need replaced each year. Yet, they seed themselves so well, there is no need to re-seed them yourself once they are established. Lupines add color to wildflower gardens as well as to more formal bedding designs. Caring properly for these flowers ensures they remain attractive throughout the blooming season.

Step 1

Plant lupine in well-drained flower beds that receive full-sunlight. In areas with hot summer, choose an area that receives afternoon shade to help prolong the blooming period.

Step 2

Loosen the soil prior to planting to a 12-inch depth by either turning it with a shovel or breaking it up with a power tiller. Lupine has long taproots that require loose soil for best growth.

Step 3

Water the lupine once weekly, soaking the soil until it feels moist to a 6-inch depth when you stick your finger into it. Water twice weekly during hot weather if the soil begins drying out more quickly.

Step 4

Lay a 2-inch layer of mulch around the plants to help preserve soil moisture and prevent weeds. Use organic mulch, such as bark chips.

Step 5

Fertilize lupine at planting with a soluble flowering plant fertilizer, following package application rates as these differ by brand and formula. Additional fertilization is not necessary.

Step 6

Cut off the flower spike at the base with a small pair of shears once the lupine has finished flowering. Pruning in this manner encourages the lupine to grow a second flower spike and prolong the blooming period.

Tips and Warnings

  • Lupine seeds are poisonous so the plant should not be grown where animals or children may eat it.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Tiller
  • Mulch
  • Fertilizer
  • Shears


  • Michigan State University Extension: Lupinus-Lupine
Keywords: caring for lupine, growings lupine plants, short lived perennials

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.