Lupins

Lupins are a beautiful flower that you will find in many British gardens. Lupins are a staple of British cottage gardens, famed for both their height and colour. Originally hailing from the Mediterranean they are a perennial that will greet you with a gorgeous display year after year. They produce a large flowering spike that is full of colour and each plant can have lots of these spikes leading to a fabulous display. They will begin to flower around may and can last well into June. The flowers do go to seed quite quickly but your lupin will continue to produce more and more new spikes. To get the best out of these spikes though it is essential to deadhead the old spikes to give the new ones chance top flourish. Also cutting your lupins back in autumn can help them the following spring. The seeds are edible but if not treated properly first they can be poisonous to animals and humans. Greenfly can be a common problem for lupins here in the UK.

Lupins growing in a yellow pot
Lupins growing in a yellow pot

Can Lupins be grown in pots?

The simple answer is yes they can, and they commonly are. You can grow lupins from seed and then transplant the seedlings into a 10cm pot to establish themselves.

Once your Lupin’s roots are starting to show at the bottom of the plant it is time to move it on into its final pot. Lupins will adapt to any size pot really, but for bigger flower spikes you need bigger pots.

The size of the pot will partly depend on whether the potted lupin is to be an indoor or outdoor lupin. Obviously, you can use bigger pots outside, I would recommend at least a 50cm pot. If growing inside then lupins will be happy in anything above a 30cm pot.

Remember that Lupins grow a large tap root so it is not just the width that you need to worry about, but also depth.

It is also advised as with a lot of plants to add a little grit to the bottom of your pot to aid with drainage. Again like most potted plants, they will require feeding, a tomato feed is a good idea applied fortnightly.

Another thing to think about when growing potted Lupins is that they like slightly acidic conditions. This can be provided by rain water so either leave them in an exposed position or use water from a water butt.

Overwintering Outdoor Pots

Like most plants grown in pots, Lupins will be vulnerable to frost damage if left exposed in a pot all winter. All the strength of the lupin is in its roots so you need to protect potted lupins over winter. Move your pots into a sheltered spot such as a greenhouse or cold frame.

Removing Dead Foliage

As you do when your border lupins start to fade you can cut the growth back in winter. However, with potted lupins, I leave the foliage to die off naturally as I believe it provides a slight mulch to protect from early frosts. How much of an impact this actually has is probably quite small, but it’s an easier thing to do so why not?

Author

Hey, I'm Daniel. Having worked as a professional gardener for years as well as keeping a private allotment I decided to create this website to help spread my knowledge. I love gardening and hope to show you just how rewarding it can be!

2 Comments

  1. Thank you for your informative article. I recently bought a lupine at a garden shop in New England, and several days later another. The 2nd plant was in a marked down section, with yellowed, wilted leaves no flowers and broken stems in a disintegrating cardboard pot that was only partially keeping the root ball contained. I took a chance, hoping the flower would be the pretty deep purple of my first plant. The tight flower spike grew but remained tightly closed and white. Oh well, I thought, it was just a couple of dollars. It will be fine… I was pleased to see yesterday morning that the flower is indeed deep purple. I have them both in deep urns with morning and mid day sun. I thought it was my TLC, but know now they thrive in unattended locations. Thank you again for your website.

  2. Thank you Daniel,
    Very well presented and informative article on Lupins.
    I basically knew what you have stated( apart from the acidic soil), but wanted to see what others said about them.
    I have grown quite a few from seed this year so will probably try the large pot method.
    Yes, aphids, slugs and snails are a pain.
    Good luck.

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