Lupins combine rural charm with sublime elegance. With their colorful blossom candles, the versatile summer flowers adorn the garden and serve as fodder, green manure, and vegetable plants.
Wondering how to properly cultivate this wondrous flower? Then read all the basic answers here.
Plant lupins properly
Planting time for the young lupine that you have brought up yourself or bought ready-made begins in mid-May after the ice saints. While preparing the soil, soak the flower’s potted root ball in a jar of water. Follow these steps to get to work:
- Create a planting pit with twice the volume of the root ball
- Spread drainage out of grit or potsherds on the sole
- Plant the potted flower, press down the soil and water
- Place more lupins at a distance of 40-50 centimeters (15-20 inches)
The lupine also cuts a fine figure in a large pot with a volume of more than 20 liters. Use commercial potting soil thinned with a handful of sand as a substrate. Don’t forget to put the indispensable drainage over the water drain in the bottom of the pot to protect against dangerous waterlogging.
A water- and air-permeable fleece prevents earth crumbs from settling between the inorganic material and clogging it.
Lupine Care Tips
As a prime example of a low-maintenance flower, the lupine is perfectly satisfied with the following measures:
- Water regularly in the first year
- Pull weeds every few days until the lupine is established
- From the second year, only water the flower during summer drought
- Always water lupins in the planter when the substrate dries
- Trim down occasionally during flowering to make room for fresh flowers
- Instead of fertilizing with minerals, give a portion of compost every 4-6 weeks
The flower does not want to be mulched with leaves or lawn clippings. However, the lupine has no objection to a thin layer of gravel or grit. The legumes provide themselves with nutrients, as the deep-reaching taproots absorb the nitrogen and phosphorus present in the soil.
Which location is Best suitable for Lupine?
The lupine not only scores with its multifaceted talents but also convinces with frugal demands on the location. In order for the majestic flower to develop its beauty to perfection, it depends on this position:
- Sunny to partially shaded with at least 4 hours of sunshine per day
- Warm and sheltered from the wind
- Deep, humus-rich soil, fresh and often slightly sandy
- Ideally with a pH between 4.5 and 6.5
- No other lupins in the previous 4-5 years at the site
The opulent flower feels in good hands along a sunny edge of a wood or a hedge. Above all, however, lupins do not want to be confronted with waterlogging or extreme drought.
When is lupine flowering time?
The lupine owes its popularity not least to a never-ending flowering period from May until well into August. Regular trimming and a slight pruning after the first flowering extends the flowering period into late summer.
Cut The lupine properly
With a targeted pruning at the right time, the chances of a second flowering in late summer increase. After flowering, cut the flower back to 10 centimeters (4 inches). In this way, enough buds remain on a lupine from which it will sprout again. Shortly before the first frost, prune the plant to a hand’s breadth above the ground or make the cut in early spring.
If the clippings contain legumes, these are not disposed of in the compost. The risk of unsuspecting animals poisoning themselves with the grains is too great.
Fertilize lupine properly
Lupine is one of the best plants for green manure. The flower enriches the soil with nitrogen, makes phosphorus more accessible, and loosens even compacted soil with its mighty taproots. As a preceding crop, lupins pave the way for vital growth for other plants.
One of the many uncomplicated characteristics of a lupine is its easy propagation. To do this, dig up the rootstock of an established flower in March or April. With a sharp knife or spade, divide the bale into several segments. Each section should have at least 2 buds. Replant the rejuvenated lupins in a suitable location.
With cuttings, breeding during the summer is also done in no time at all. Suitable shoots are 10-15 centimeters long (4-6 inches). After the bottom half has been defoliated, place each cutting in a nursery pot with poor soil. At a warm 20-25 degrees (68-77 F) in a bright place, rooting takes place quickly.
Lupine in pot
A variety of enchanting lupine varieties are excellent for pot cultivation. In order for the flower to develop well in the limited substrate volume, the following aspects are important:
- Water regularly when the substrate surface has dried
- Give a dose of diluted liquid fertilizer every 4-6 weeks
- Cut back to the ground before winter
- Protect the root ball in the pot from frost with fleece or bubble wrap
Is lupine poisonous?
Lupins contain toxic alkaloids, which are also known as bitter substances because of their taste. In particular, the consumption of lupine grains causes symptoms of poisoning, such as vomiting or cramps.
Due to the unpleasant taste, people rarely ingest a harmful amount of parts of this flower. For animals, however, garden lupins pose a danger. Horses, pigs, cows, dogs, cats, or rabbits are affected.
It has been possible to almost completely breed out the bitter substances from special lupine varieties. Therefore, this flower is now finding its way into the vegetable garden under the name sweet lupine and is cultivated as a fodder plant, because the grains of its legumes are rich in healthy proteins.
The perennial lupine
The lupine is one of the deciduous perennials. This property implies that before the first frost the flower sheds all its leaves. The withered stems can then be cut off close to the ground. The root ball overwinters in the ground to sprout again in the next season.
The lupine in the garden
Caring for a garden lupine requires only a small amount of gardening attention. The natural rainfall covers the water requirement from the second year. The watering can is only used during summer droughts.
With its long taproots, the flower gets all the essential nutrients from the soil by itself so that the fertilizer is superfluous. Pruning after flowering will encourage rebloom.
To grow lupins in your green kingdom, you have two different methods to choose from. Direct sowing of the robust seeds is possible from mid-March. The sowing depth is 2-3 centimeters (0.7 – 1.17 inches) at a distance of 40-50 centimeters (15-20 inches). At a temperature of 4-6 degrees Celsius (39-42F), germination begins within 7 days. Daily weeding and regular watering are essential for a successful culture.
In order to avoid the imponderables of sowing, hobby gardeners favor planting an early flower. When the ice saints are over in mid-May, place the lupine, which has previously been soaked in water, in the loose, permeable soil in a sunny location.
The administration of fertilizer of any kind can be dispensed with, while in the first few weeks an adequate water supply is the be-all and end-all of care.
Since blue lupins can tolerate up to -8 degrees Celsius (17F) after sowing and white or yellow species can tolerate -4 degrees (24F), early direct sowing is an option. Since a minimum temperature of 4-6 degrees Celsius (39-42F) is required for germination, the window for sowing opens in mid/end of March. August is another date to sow lupins. How to do it right:
- Prepare the seedbed finely crumbly and loosely
- Plant the seeds 2-3 centimeters (0.7-1.17 inches) deep at a distance of 40 centimeters (15 inches)
- Press the soil lightly and water with a fine spray
- A garden fleece protects against unexpected ground frosts, a net against pecking birds
Germination begins after a few days. Keep the seedbed constantly slightly moist and free of weeds. Alternatively, sow the seeds in peat pots on the partially shaded windowsill or in the greenhouse.
As a substrate, we recommend a low-nutrient peat-sand mixture or commercially available seed soil. This form of cultivation is possible all year round.
Is the lupine perennial?
Once settled in the bed, the lupine delights you every year with its blossom festival. The herbaceous flower retreats to its frost-resistant root ball throughout the winter. Young shoots appear in early spring, from which the flower spikes quickly develop.
Is the lupine hardy?
The lupine is one of the hardy perennials. This means that it pulls in its above-ground plant parts before winter in order to sprout happily again next year. You can safely do without protection against frost and snow. Only in the year of sowing or planting and in the bucket does the flower require suitable precautions against frosty temperatures.
The most beautiful varieties
- Knave: a magnificent lupine with crimson flares
- Fräulein: creamy-white blooms all summer long
- Chandelier: this yellow lupine lives up to its name
- Castellan: blue beacon up to 100 centimeters (40 inches) high
- Castle lady: pink beauty whose foliage turns yellow after flowering
- Masterpiece: the ideal variety for vase decoration thanks to the violet-blue flower clusters
- Towering Inferno: flaming red garden lupine with remarkable hardiness
- Beefeater: impresses with a slim silhouette and bright red blossom candles
- Nanus Gallery Yellow: the dwarf lupine for small gardens and containers
The yellow lupine
Like no other lupine within the diverse plant genus, the yellow lupine is predestined for a sandy location with acidic soil. In general, this flower requires the least care and will still thrive if left to its own devices.
The downside is their high susceptibility to the plant disease anthracnose. With varieties such as Bornal or Desert Sun, you avoid this shortcoming.