I planted Lupines (Lupinus polyphyllus) for the first time more than 20 years ago. It was one of the first perennials I tried in my first backyard garden. (It's listed by some sources as technically a biennial.) I planted it from seed, directly into the ground, in May. It reappeared and thrived each year we lived at that first house.
After moving, I didn’t plant Lupines for several years. I’m not exactly sure why. Maybe it was the limited space for sun-loving plants, or maybe it was a desire to try plants I hadn’t tried before.
But about five years ago, I decided it was time again to welcome Lupines into my garden. This time, instead of seeds I started with a small plant, which worked just as effectively. Once again, Lupines are a highlight of my garden—returning and producing knockout blooms year after year. Here are a few vitals on Lupines:
- Prefer full sun;
- Thrive in zones 3-8;
- Excellent cut line flowers in a bouquet, as a single species bunch in a broad vase, or as a solitary flower in a tall vase;
- Members of the Legume family, so they’re great companions to just about any other plant since they return needed nitrogen to the soil;
- Available in a rainbow of colors—brights and pastels—from pale pink to vibrant bold blue, bicolor varieties;
- May need staking in open, wind-blown areas; although mine are in the middle of my sunny garden spot, placed against the wall, and require no staking; and
- Feature 10- to 12-inch flower spikes on tall stems.
But one of the niftiest features of Lupines is their foliage, which is almost as fascinating as the spiky flower whorls. My plants emerged in March this year, and they’re continuing to slowly grow as the light and temperatures increase.
In May the flowers will form, and I expect they’ll be at their peak of beauty in early June.
On another, more personal note: I apologize to gardening and Blotanical friends for neglecting blog visits recently. I've been a bit preoccupied. My youngest performed in her senior dance recital this past weekend. It’s a transition for all of us. No more tutus or tight buns. And like many transitions, we celebrated her success with flowers.
(Yes, those are Oak leaves I need to rake and a light snowfall I'm choosing to ignore in the background.)