The lupine (Lupinus) belongs to the Leguminosae family. It can grow as either a perennial or an annual depending on the region where it is planted. Several varieties of the lupine are indigenous to the United States (such as L. polyphyllus and L. hartwegii). The flowers themselves resemble a sweet pea and are clustered together on tall, dense spikes. They range in color from yellow, white, purple, pink, to various pastel shades.
Planting Lupine Seeds Outside
Figure out if you want to wait and plant your Lupine seeds straight into your flower garden (after you’re sure there will be no more freezing temperatures), or if you want to get a start on germinating your Lupine seeds indoors. Lupines don’t like to be transplanted, so it’s generally recommended that if you want to start them indoors, you do so by using peat pots.
To plant directly outside, choose an area in your garden where the plants will get a lot of sunshine and have ample room to grow. Lupines also like plenty of water and soil that is on the acidic side.
Fill a bowl with hot water, and soak your lupine seeds for approximately 24 hours.
Turn over the soil in the area where you want to plant your lupine seeds using a shovel or a rototiller. Remove any sticks, rocks, roots or weeds while you turn over the soil. Level and smooth out the dirt with your rake.
With your trowel, mark out areas that are 16 to 18 inches apart. Push a garden stake into the center of each area to mark the area where your seeds are planted so you can know where to water. Press one to two seeds into the soil, near the garden stake, and cover with no more than 1/8 inch of fine soil. Water the seeds with a fine mist.
Check the seeds several times a day. Keep the soil moist by using your plant mister or garden sprayer.
Once your seedlings become established, water them one to two times every week during the warmer growing season.
If slugs or snails become a problem, place slug and snail bait around your lupines. If whiteflies or aphids appear, use insecticidal soap and thoroughly saturate all the leaves.
Planting Lupines in Peat Pots
Fill a bowl with hot water and soak your lupine seeds for approximately 24 hours.
Fill each peat pot with seed starting mix. Use your plant mister or spray bottle and water carefully so as not to soak the pot, but make sure the soil is kept moist.
Place two seeds into each peat pot, pushing each seed firmly into the soil. Cover with 1/8 inch of the seed starting mix. Put the peat pots in a sun-filled location, and keep them warm and out of drafts. The ideal temperature for germinating lupines is approximately 54 to 60 F. Germination time varies, but generally it can take two to eight weeks.
Make sure to check on your lupine seeds each day. You will need to keep the soil moist by using your plant mister or spray bottle as often as needed. Don't let the soil get dried out or the seeds will not germinate.
Once your lupines are about 2 inches high, decide where in your flower garden you want to plant them.
Planting Lupine Seedlings Outdoors
With your trowel, dig a hole twice the width of your peat pot.
Place the peat pot into the hole and line up the base of the stem level with the ground.
With the trowel, use the dirt you removed when digging the hole to fill the hole back up. Firm the soil around the lupine seedling with your hand or your trowel. Water each seedling thoroughly. Once your seedlings become established, water them 1 to 2 times every week during the warmer growing season.
Things You Will Need
- Lupine seeds
- Peat pots
- Seed starting mix
- Plant stakes
- Spray bottle or plant mister
- According to the National Gardening Association, the flowers of the lupine attract both butterflies and birds.
- According to the National Gardening Institute, all parts of a Russell Lupine plant are toxic.