Lupinus polyphyllus. Stunning, brightly-coloured spikes create a strong feature in the early summer garden. Its pea-like flowers grow in dense spires. Scatter through cottage or wildflower gardens or mass plant in the border. Purple, deep blue, red, pink, yellow, cream, and white. Soak Russell Hybrids lupines seeds for 24 hours or nick the seed ends and plant. Russell Hybrids grow to 5mm (1/8″) deep in pots early spring or in summer for flowers next summer. This variety offers all the lupine colours in one package – purple, deep blue, red, pink, yellow, cream, and white. If you want more of a certain colour, gently separate the little offset at the base of a mature plant and replant. Lupines fix nitrogen in the soil.
Lupins at Kirkland House, 2015
How to Grow Lupins
Perennial. The pea-like flowers of lupins grow in dense spires from their destinctive foliage. They will bloom 2 months from a spring sowing or early summer from fall sown plants.
Season & Zone
Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
Sow indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost, around mid to late February on the coast. If starting indoors, use peat or coir pots to limit root disturbance. Lupins work equally well direct sown in early spring (mid-March on the coast) when some risk of frost is still possible. Can be direct sown in autumn where winters are mild.
If starting indoors, stratify seeds by chipping or soaking in water for 24 hours prior to sowing. Sow shallowly a couple of millimeters (1/8″) deep, and maintain a coolish soil temperature of 12-18°C (55-65°F). Seeds should germinate in 14-60 days. Be patient.
After flowering, cut down the stems to the base of the plant. You can divide these big plants in early Spring to propagate certain colours. Self-sown plants will revert to pale blue.
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