How to Care for Lupines

Overview

Native to the Pacific Northwest, the tall lupine, Lupinus polyphyllus, was combined with L. perennis to create hybrids with bright, bonnet-shaped flowers on spires that ascend from gray-green, lobed foliage. The most common color is a heavenly blue that will add care-free color to any garden or meadow.

Step 1

Choose a planting site with good drainage and in full sun.

Step 2

Prepare the soil by amending it with a coarse media like sand--lupines thrive in well-textured soil. Till the soil to make it loose and provide room for the roots to spread.

Step 3

Use a file to create a divot on the surface of each seed. This is called scarification, the process of penetrating the seed coat for faster germination.

Step 4

Plant seeds in early spring, 3/4 of an inch to 1 3/4 inches deep. Mature plants can grow up to 2 feet across, so allow 7 to 10 inches between seeds. Germination should occur in a few weeks with consistent temperatures from 65 to 70 degrees F.

Step 5

Keep the soil moist while the seedlings establish themselves.

Step 6

Cut back the stalks after the first set of flowers appear, typically in the first half of the growing season.

Step 7

Allow the plant to drop seeds in the fall before cutting back foliage for the winter. Lupines will establish and return every year by self-seeding.

Tips and Warnings

  • Lupine seeds and young plants are extremely poisonous. Handle them with care and keep them away from children and animals.

Things You'll Need

  • Lupine seeds
  • Trowel
  • File
  • Sand

References

  • Alternative Field Crops Manaul
  • Lupinus--Lupine
  • Wild Perennial Lupine Seeds

Who Can Help

  • Oregon State University Extension, External Plant Parts
Keywords: care for lupines, lupine tips, growing lupine

About this Author

Desirae Roy began writing in 2009. After earning certification as an interpreter for the deaf, Roy earned a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education from Eastern Washington University. Part of her general studies included a botany course leading to a passion for the natural world.