Garden Foundary Garden Maintenance Lupine Showy Spring Pollinator Plant

Lupine Showy Spring Pollinator Plant

Growing food plants together with native plants is a popular practice in horticulture. Lupin is a flowering plant that grows in several regions. It not only attracts pollinators that help in food production, but also fixes nitrogen in the soil of your garden.

Lupin is a favorite of North America. Texas calls one species its state plant. In the eastern part of the country, L. perennis is a common hybrid that grows in the wild on dunes, open forest soils and savannas of the Pacific Northwest. Another species, L. polyphyllus (also a hybrid), grows in cooler regions of Canada and the western United States. This is proof that lupines are thriving all over the North American continent.

What cannot be denied about all lupines is their palm-like leaves and the multicolored tips of swirling flowers that bloom in spring. From March to May, I like to stop on the slope where the Texas Dovecote gathers. The sight and smell of a whole hill covered with a bluish touch of Texas is really breathtaking. I have no doubt that other lupin species provide similar visual stimuli in North America and Europe.

Regardless of whether you grow hybrids (for example, Lupinus polyphyllus) or a specific flower color, lupins have a lot to choose from. There are high and dwarf varieties. The tops bloom with yellow, sapphire, pink and purple flowers. Fill your garden with large yellow or pink hybrids that bloom year after year, or try hybrids growing in the western United States of different colors.

Quick Service Guide

All About Lupines

Here we will focus on lupine species native to North America. The Latin word lupinus means wolf, based on an earlier belief that lupines lack the soil in which they grow. However, that’s not the point. They do not dig up the soil, but because they are related to pea plants, they release nitrogen.

The four specific plants that we will consider here are known by their Latin names Lupinus polyphyllus, Lupinus perennis, Lupinus arboreus and Lupinus texensis. They are called lupins, lupins, and Lupinus texensis is widely known as the Texas Dovecote.

Lupines are perennial. Especially if you plant lupine growing in your area, you can enjoy it every spring. Lupines have split webbed leaves lying low on the ground. Lupin flowers are vertical spikes from 1 to 2 centimeters long, the color of which varies from dark sapphire to yellow. Some varieties have white markings on the flowers. When the spring flowers die off, a fluffy seed coat is created for the germination of lupine seeds for the next spring. Each pod contains about 12 seeds. No plant is edible for humans, and the seeds are especially harmful.

Lupines grow anywhere from 1 foot tall to 7 feet tall and at least 1 foot wide to 1.5 feet wide. In your perennial garden, they will easily grow. A large piece of lupine attracts local bees and hives to your garden, which helps pollinate food plants. Hummingbirds and butterflies also flock to lupines. This is an excellent plant for growing in a real estate garden and adding nitrogen to the soil.

Grow lupine in the garden, in a container or in a toiletry bag. When growing in a container, you may experience various lighting situations. You can also apply lupin in winter to keep the root structure intact. However, you should keep them under control in the container, as they will quickly attach to the root if allowed to spread for too long.

Types of lupine

There are too many types of Lupine to cover them all. So we’re going to discuss a few different types.

Lupinus polyphyllus is a hybrid, also known as the large-leaved lupin or Russell’s lupin. It grows in the western United States and south from Alaska to British Columbia, east of Quebec. There are several varieties of Russell L. polyfill. Most likely, you will find a characteristic lupin in the area where you live. The coloring of Russell’s flowers is very different. Some of them are dark sapphire or purple, and some are white and fuchsia. There are also dwarf varieties, such as minarets.

Lupinus perennis, or wild lupin, is characteristic of the east coast of North America from Texas to Labrador. Unlike other lupine species, the flower buds of L. perennis are rare, not compact. Most varieties have a sapphire-white bloom. Some of them are white, purple or pink. Wild lupin is important for many lepidoptera species. In fact, this lupin is home to the caterpillars of the endangered Carner’s Sapphire butterfly—a great choice for East Coast residents.

Lupinus arboreus or Lupinus arboreus is an interesting species from the genus Lupinus. It grows up to 7 feet tall and is native to Northern California, growing on sand dunes and along coastal sage thickets. The flowers are rare, yellow or purple. Because it is so fertile, whether as a result of human interaction or pollination, it has penetrated along the coast into areas of Southern California where it is considered invasive.

Texas lupin is the most popular lupin in the southern United States. Its distribution extends to West Texas and extends to Oklahoma, Louisiana and Florida. It is considered one of the most important plants supporting local bee species. Blue diamonds are so named because they are made of deep sapphire with white inclusions. If you are lucky enough to visit a blueberry field in the spring, you may even find albino white blueberries among others. They will have a height of about two meters.

The really cool variety of this pea-related plant is a hybrid of mixed Russell flowers. It blooms with all the flowers we mentioned here, in a bag with seeds!


Grown in good conditions, lupines bloom and thrive. Let’s look at the tools needed to grow beautiful and large hybrids of yellow, pink, purple or sapphire flowers.

Light and temperature

Lupines prefer full sun. They grow in climates 3 to 8 of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Some botanical varieties can withstand low temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and they all grow at temperatures below 86 degrees. Outside of these distribution zones, they can damage leaves and flowers.

If you want to enjoy the flowers a little longer, bring your lupin. Since they are perennial, you can let nature take its course. In summer, flowers and leaves naturally die off. As long as the roots are healthy, the lupines will bloom again in the spring.

Water and humidity

Lupines need about an inch of water a week. However, many of them are drought resistant and do not need water when installed. Keep the soil moist, but not wet. Depending on the variety, you may not even need to water unless there is a drought. Water the lupin in the morning with immersion hoses or drip irrigation. Do not wet the foliage, as this causes the appearance of mold.


All the tools necessary for reproduction are included in the composition of lupin. Use seeds or cuttings to make annual flowers grow in your garden. You can also let the lupine spread by seeds.

To propagate plants by cuttings, use a sharp knife to separate part of the lupine at the base (or at the crown of the crown) in early summer or after spring. Cut off all the parts of the root part and dip them in the root hormone. Place them directly in the soil where they will be placed and keep them moist. In about a week, the cuttings of your plants will take root.

For seed propagation, collect seed pods from mature plants. Put them in a paper bag in a warm, dry place and wait for them to open. Then take the seeds and rub them with sandpaper or a small knife. Soak the seeds overnight so that the seed coat collapses, and store them in the refrigerator for at least a week. Then plant them in a suitable nutrient medium. You can let Mother Nature do her thing by preparing the seeds and planting them outdoors in the fall for cold stratification. With internal reproduction, lupin germinates in about three weeks.

Growing problems

Too much deviation may occur. The lupines will return to the gardens in two years. To avoid overgrown gardens, collect flowering bulbs when they bloom. To control reproduction, collect seeds from seed pods after the flowers die. Distribute them to friends who also want to grow lupines, or propagate them yourself. Avoid growing the yellow lupine variety in Southern California, as it is considered invasive.

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