Perennial lupine plants are a hardy variety native to the northern section of the United States. The plant creates a dramatic spring accent with its brightly colored flower spikes, which appear earlier than other perennial plants' flowers. Choose a garden bed that is partially shaded since full sunlight causes plant moisture loss that inhibits growth.
Start perennial lupine plants indoors by sowing seeds in a propagation tray in late winter. Sow perennial lupine seeds in an outdoor garden bed once the soil begins to warm, several weeks prior to the last expected frost in spring. Plant sprouts appear seven to 14 days after sowing seeds when given adequate moisture and a temperature between 65 to 70 degrees F. Perennial lupine plants grow quickly but will not produce flowers during the first growing season.
Lupine plants grow best in a garden bed with acidic soil that is nutrient rich and well draining. Improve lupine growth by testing the soil pH prior to sowing seeds or planting seedlings to verify an acidic level of 5.6 to 7.5. Amend soil with a pH higher than 7.5 by working ground rock sulfur into it two to three weeks prior to planting. Work 2 to 3 inches of organic compost into the soil at the same time. This increases the soil's nutrient value and creates an optimal soil for growth.
Apply water to keep the soil moist but not wet during the spring flowering period. This will assist with plant health and keep the lupine lush with growth. Avoid placing a heavy layer of mulch around the lupine plant, as this will limit the success rate with seed germination.
Apply a high phosphorous fertilizer in early spring when the plants are several inches in height and again one month later as the plant blossoms appear. Avoid high nitrogen fertilizers as this will increase green foliage growth and create a large plant with few flowers.
Monitor perennial lupine for the presence of slugs near the soil or under the foliage. The lush lupine plant attracts slugs, so apply slug pellets or traps to the plants immediately to eliminate the problem. Monitor spring rainfall to make sure your lupine does not become submerged in standing water. Too much water will cause root rot and decrease plant growth.