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Growing Lupines

January 18, 2011


Trying to grow Lupines here in SW CT. Can use any Lupine seeds, except Russell hybrids, and information about best way to grow and WS them. Will post my trade list in a few days. Thanks to all.

Jeff aka ctcfo

Comments (31)

  • countrycarolyn

    You get that sasbe to me and I will get you some extra little goodies. ;)

    While updating your have list update your want list as well. Who knows what all I have over here to share with a fellow zone 6 wser!!! :D

    GO ZONE 6!!!! Whooooo hooooo, LOL!!!

  • ladyrose65

    I would like to hear about growing these as well. Because everytime I bought plants from a nursery they would bloom and die! What type to soil?

  • tepelus

    I'm growing Lupinus perennis this year from seed for the first time, and I've heard this type likes it on the dry, sandy side, but that's for this particular type. I don't know about the others. I got a packet of 40 seeds but planted only 15, in case I mess up with these, I'll have back-ups to try again for next year. I got this particular lupine for one reason really, to see if the rare Karner Blue butterfly may find them. Doubt it, but if one just happens to pass by, their there for the little guy.


  • countrycarolyn

    Karen your chances of seeing a karner are better than mine. Though that is not going to stop me from growing the lupinus perennis. I seriously would be tickled if I saved the seed of this little plant and someone on this forum got the seeds and they got a karner!!

    I think growing conditions vary from lupine to lupine. Some people say here in tennessee we can not grow lupine cause of our soil. Then the usda says that they are native to this region. Also they grow further south of tennessee, so I am going to try my hardest to grow a few types in the years to come.

  • terrene

    I ws'd Lupines in 2009, they made a rosette of foliage the first year and bloomed the 2nd year. Do not know if they will come back for a 3rd year? They are growing in the driest, sandiest bed in the yard that gets very little watering. One plant was even growing at the very edge of the brand new sidewalk the town installed in fall of 2009, no doubt some of its roots had been severed by the sidewalk, yet it seemed very happy. They may do best in well-drained lean soil.

    I scattered the seeds from last year's plants around that bed, also am WSing some seeds labeled "Salmon Lupine" that I got in a trade, hoping they will actually be salmon-colored.

    I am also hoping to buy some Lupinus perennis seeds, although I doubt the Karner Blue butterfly is resident in this region.

  • mnwsgal

    Some years the lupine foliage will die back after bloom. Then it will reappear in the fall.

    They winter sow here quite well. I pot them up to get some size before planting in the flower bed. This is the difficult stage for me. If they survive the potting stage they do well in the beds.

    I think I saw a self sown seedling next to my three year old plant this past fall. Have not had any self sown seedlings before as I am quick to deadhead or collect seeds.

    Mine are planted in mixed perennial beds with good soil and moisture and grow well.

  • not_a_contessa

    Wow, guys, you have just taught me something new about butterflies and lupins, I looked up a couple of sites about them and as you can tell, it's never too late to learn. How interesting, especially since I have noticed blue lupins growing in many areas around here and have often been tempted to pull over on the road or highway and gather some seeds. Well now you have given me a good reason to do just that!!

    And yes, I am one of those seed "nut jobs" who remembers exactly where I spotted those plants in bloom. Hopefully I can get the job done safely when the seeds are ready. If I can manage to gather them I will certainly be willing to share. I would imagine it would be late spring or early summer, I will keep an eye on my own lupins and they should give me a clue as to the correct time. This is going to be great fun!


  • not_a_contessa

    I just had another thought, I remember I received a large pack of wildflower seeds, and being the nut job that I am, I went through the whole pack and separated out the seeds...yes, I did, go ahead and laugh. I looked all the seeds up on the seed sites since the package named the various seeds and I wanted to be sure I was getting them right.

    I seem to remember that there were blue lupins in that seed envelope, which I did manage to separate into a zip-lock bag. I will check my stash, and get back to you all here.


  • gardenweed_z6a

    I'm growing them in average garden soil and they do great until the wind blows. I read somewhere last year that lupines planted in poor, sandy soil will withstand rain & wind better than those growing in "good" soil. Since my neighbor's plant can take both wind & rain without being affected, that would seem to prove that statement. Her soil is basically sand with a lot of rocks.

    Hers is the blue one:

    Mine is named 'Chandelier'

    I WS this one in 2010:

    I potted up at least a half dozen to grow on until I decide where to plant them. The foliage was gorgeous:

  • tepelus

    There is a place in Toledo Ohio that's working to reintroduce the Karner Blue butterfly back into Ohio, only about 30-40 miles from where I live. That's why I chose, of all the different lupines to grow, to try the wild lupine Lupinus perennis, just in case one of those little gems strays away too far from its protected home and finds my yard (doubtful, but never know), then it would have its favorite nectar source and food source for its cats.


    Here is a link that might be useful: Karner Blue Reintroduction into Ohio

  • gardenunusual

    I have wintersown some lupine this year, and will sow more.

    They grow wild all over this region. Every time I would drive by a patch with different colors, I admire all the blends they make of different kinds when they reseed.

    In a way, the blue ones remind me of heather from a distance.

    Such beautiful piccies, gardenweed, thanks for sharing :)

  • plantmasterm

    Jeff is the Russells hybrid not a good seed ..dang Im trying them for the 1st time and that was the only one I could find ..countrycarolyn could you spare a few extra


  • palmetto_gardener

    gardenweed, beautiful photos of beautiful plants. So now I'm adding lupine to my list of "plants I want".

  • countrycarolyn

    Funny thing is plantmasterm someone else sent me an email for some lupine. I had one package that I actually got in the wish list swap. I do not know what kind they are they are listed as dwarf blue lupine. I have gone through so many seeds since then I do not even know where they came from.

    So I totally apologize!! Hopefully in a few years I can share some of the Lupinus perennis seeds.

  • countrycarolyn

    I should of said

    ...I do not even know who sent them to me.

  • pippi21

    I ordered some blue lupine from Remy at Sample seeds. Am anxious to sow them and grow them. There's another GW member who has fields of lupine and I'm trying to think who it is. They are beautiful!

  • bev2009

    I bought some Lupinus perennis plants four years ago and they have returned each year, but I think more from reseeding because they are seldom in the same place. I have never collected the seeds, but will try this year. There are Karner blue butterflies about 5 miles away and I hope to check them out this year. My hope was to attract them to the backyard as well, but it would probably take more plants than I currently am growing. I was thinking I would try and buy some more plants at the Dunes native plant sale in April - just to speed up the process.

    gardenweed - your lupines slay me - they are so beautiful.

  • ladyrose65

    Informative Post.

  • gardenweed_z6a

    I harvested all the seeds from all the lupines that grew within a mile radius of where I am but they're all gone now--either traded or winter sowed. I will gather more when they're ripe in 2011 so if folks want some, go ahead and send me an email. If lots of folks want seeds, I'd appreciate it if you'd let me know you'll take less than a "fair trade" amount.

    Other than the white one pictured above, the lupines I WS in 2010 probably won't bloom until this year. A neighbor got seeds from a friend who gathered them from Acadia National Park so those are winter sowed and if they bloom first year from seed, I might have a few seeds I can share.

  • kqcrna

    They don't like clay, they prefer sandy, acidic soil. They don't do well here.

    Lupine sunrise is an annual one that did well for me, beautiful.


  • not_a_contessa

    Ctcfo, I am sending you an email.

  • pippi21

    I ordered blue lupine seeds from Remy and I have the morella chery lupine seeds I bought from T&M this past summer. My neighbor gave me a gal. size milk jug this morning, so I think the Morella cherry ones will be planted into that and use the 1/2 gal. milk jug that is almost empty in my house for the blue lupine. With the lack of milk jugs right now, I'm choosing very carefully with much thought which seeds to plant next. I haven't checked on any of the milk jugs that I sowed first so maybe I should do that today.

  • pippi21

    Anything I should know about planting these lupine seeds in preparation of sowing them. I get confused between some instructions on lupine and larkspur and delphinium seeds. Do I soak the seeds in hot water, for so many hours before planting in the jugs? Do I nick the ends?

  • gardenweed_z6a

    Just winter sow the lupine seeds. That's what I did last year and you've seen the photos of the ones I grew. As far as I know, the seeds don't need any pre-soaking. They do need the chill so I would get them WS as soon as you can so they have enough cold.

  • pippi21

    I sowed the 1 pkt. of blue lupine in that gal. milk jug today. Still have another pkt. of that color. Will be able to sow those probably Monday when I have another available milk jug. I guess I won't be able to see blooms until 2012?

  • dawiff

    Pippi, I WSed a few different kinds of Lupines last winter, and some flowered the first year for me.

    Morello Cherry, Le Chatelaine, and a trade packet simply labeled Red Lupine were sown in March and flowered by late summer and fall.

    I think this one might be Le Chatelaine


    These two also flowered the same year I sowed them, and I think they came from a trade packet labeled mixed Lupines.


    The only one that didn't flower last year was Russell Lupines.

  • gardenweed_z6a

    dawiff - those are positively stunning! Thanks for sharing. Not only are the flowers spectacular, the foliage has to be the prettiest. Your photos make me even more determined to WS lots more lupine this year AND take lots more pictures of the ones that bloom!

  • orcascove

    I grow lupines in my zone 6 Ohio clay backyard every year. They are my favorite plant. I am a tough love mom, no additives, no extra water, only mulch and what mother nature provides. It's survive or perish in my yard... The Russells and Chateliane are my preference, I winter sow them all and they usually bloom largely on the second spring for me, although a few small blooms have appeared on the first years fall push here and there.. Either way they have all come back year after year and the growing variety of colors have mixed nicely with the other perennials in the beds.

  • grandmachris

    For gorgeous pictures of Lupines in mass, check out the gallery side of perennials, a communication titled Lupines 2008. I just checked and the pictures are still there.

    However, the lupines are in Montana!! a long way from where
    I am.


  • countrycarolyn

    Dawiff, those lupines are gorgeous!! I love that Le Chatelaine!!

    I am determined to get these lupines to grow here. Orcascove, do you have your lupines in full sun??

  • karendee

    I tried my lupines last year WS. Once planted out some critters ate them all! I was so angry.

    So far I do not see them and doubt they will sprout this year.

    I plan to WS some more but I may direct sow with a cover. This way they are protected from critters and I can add vent holes too small for the stupid animals!

    I just love how lupines look though and really want some.

    I am trying one more time and if they get eaten again they might just be a seed I add to my failure list :)


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