Lupine

1 Mar

Lupine (Lupinus), 1.5 to 3 feet, many colors, blooms early to mid-summer, likes full sun but tolerates part shade, average moisture. Great for cottage gardens, can be short lived.

Leaves are divided into many leaflets that spread out like fingers of a hand. Sweet pea-like flowers are borne in dense spikes at ends of stems. There are hundreds of species, many of them native to the western U.S. and found in a wide range of habitats. The most commonly grown lupines are the Russell hybrids. Most lupines are not fussy about soil, though hybrids prefer rich, slightly acidic soil. All need good drainage.

Lupinus hybrid
These grow 4- to 5-ft. tall, 2 ft. wide. These English-bred hybrid groups are descended from plants native to western America. Dense vertical spikes of pea-like flowers in many possible colors rise above the foliage in late spring or early summer.

New Generation hybrids are like Russell hybrids, from which they’re descended, but in more intense colors on sturdier plants that flower longer during the season and live longer (7 or 8 years).

Russell hybrids have tall spikes of white, cream, yellow, pink, red, orange, blue, purple, or bicolored flowers. This is the classic.

Self-sown seedlings won’t resemble parents.

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