Friday, June 11, 2010


LUPINES are erect spikes of densely packed, pealike flowers that come in about all shades.  They bloom in late spring to early summer on 3 foot tall plants, the most popular are the Russell Hybrids.  I love their 'umbrella-like' soft, dark green leaves.  They are hardy in zones 3-8, and they thrive in cool, moist areas.  I have them growing in full sun to shade.  They like evenly moist, well-drained soil.  In my gardens I use them as biennials--they tend to get 'woody' in the center when they are more than a couple years old.   But they reseed and so it's very easy to have those plants take the place of the old plant, and you will always have blooms from year to year.  (Some say that they are stronger plants, with less chance of disease or pests when you replace them every 2-3 years).  One problem they do have is that they do tend to get powdery mildew, that seems to set in after they bloom.  You can try to treat it with a product targeted for powdery mildew (a sulfer-based fungicide, sprayed every 7-10 days),  but I just cut them down, and new stems start to grow without the problem.  Keeping the soil evenly moist, avoiding overhead watering, and spacing plants properly all help with controlling powery mildew.  One of the things that I really love about lupines is no matter how windy it is, they continue to stand erect.  They don't need to be staked, and other than powdery mildew, seem to be pretty trouble-free.  My love of lupines was inspired by my friend, Marilyn Harris, a couple years ago.  Her garden is simply beautiful, with hundreds, I'm sure, of lupines in late spring, in beautfiul color combinations.  These pictures are in her yard.  She shared some of her seed a few years ago.  All I did was scratch the surface of the soil and  sprinkled the seed in areas I wanted plants in my beds, with the fresh seed. They need light to germinate, so just a good seed-to-soil contact is needed. The rest is history--the fresh seed was very potent-- and I had little starts that very fall.  That spring I had many myself, and was able to harvest the seed and sprinkle more.  Well, this year I have had hundreds of seedlings--being able to share with friends and making room for more in my beds.  (I still have many seedlings left, so if you want some, let me know)!  Lupines will be a great addition to your garden--they are definitely one of my favorites!
Susanne Holland Spicker Mother, Grandmother, Homemaker, Gardener, Teacher, Photographer

Passion is defined as the love of, or the object(s) of affection and emotion. I am passionate about family, friends, flowers, food, photography and fabulous music! This blog is dedicated to those loves.

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