Lupinus

Family: Papilionaceae
Common Name: Lupine

Originating from a varied range of habitats in North America and the Mediterranean, this large genus consists of over 200 species of annuals, herbaceous perennials and shrubs. The annuals are grown for their dark green foliage and tall stems bearing showy blooms in a range of wonderful colours, including pink, yellow, white and blue. The perennial Russell lupines, achieved by crossing L. arboreus with L. polyphyllus, are also beautiful and very pop­ular in cool-climate gardens. They have very strong stems and large clusters of magnificently coloured flowers.

Species

L. albus, white or field lupine, zone 9, an annual with white flowers, is grown as a green manure crop, or natural fertilizer.

L. arboreus, tree lupin, zone 8, is a shrubby type, to 2 m (6 ft) or more, with yellow, white or purple, scented flowers.

L. hartwegii, zone 10, is a slightly hairy annual to 1 m (3 ft), with blue, white and green flowers in summer and autumn. It does best in drier, warmer areas.

L. luteus, yellow lupine, zone 6, an annual from the Mediterranean, grows to about 50 cm (20 in) and flowers in early summer.

L. nootkatensis, zone 4, from the United States, is a perennial, to 1 m (3 ft), with blue or pink flowers.

L. perennis, zone 4, also from the United States, flowers in late spring in blue, pink or white. It grows to around 50 cm (20 in).

L. polyphyllus, zone 3, with blue, pink or white flowers, grows to 1.5 m (5 ft).

L. subcarnosus and L. texensis, zone 8, both annuals from Texas, have blue flowers known as blue bonnets.

Cultivation

Lupines do best if grown in reason-ably fertile, well-drained, light or sandy, acid soil, and they will perform well in a sunny or partially shady spot. However, if the soil is too rich the lupines will produce too much foliage and not enough flowers. Propagate annuals from seed and perennials by division of established clumps or from cuttings. Mulch with compost during spring and cut back the old flower stalks after flowering. Lupines are also grown as green manure and dug in when flowering commences.

Climate

There are species suited to various climatic zones.

Click to view map of zones
Climate zone map
Lunaria      Lycaste