Do Lupins Come Back Every Year?

If you are just starting out growing lupins and currently enjoying their wonderful blooms then you will surely want to know if you can expect the same again next year. Do lupins come back year after year? let’s have a look and find out.

Do Lupins Come Back Every Year?
Do Lupins Come Back every Year?

Do Lupins Come Back Year After Year

Yes, lupins are perennial plants and will come back year after year. Most lupin plants can last for 5 years but with the right care, they can live even longer.

When late autumn starts to roll around though your lupin will begin to die back, but do not panic, this is completely normal. All the above-ground growth will die off completely over winter, but then come spring the plant will burst back to life from its roots.

Lupins develop a really strong rootstock and even if all the above-ground growth is dead the plant is still alive but just dormant over the winter period.

Lupin in mid spring
Lupin in mid-spring

Above you can see one of the lupins I grow on the border of my allotment. Just a few short weeks ago there was nothing here and now I have a large lupin! You just know that this plant is going to provide tonnes of flower spikes this summer and I can’t wait.

Getting your lupin ready for winter

As the autumn nights start drawing in it will be time to think about cutting your lupin back. To help your Lupin survive the cold winter nights it is highly advisable to cut it right back to base in late Autumn.

While this may seem harsh the plant will be just fine as all its energy will be stored up in the roots. The plant will then be ready to explode back into life come spring, bringing you better than ever growth and flowering.

Overwintering your lupins

The vast majority of Lupins will be just fine left outdoors over a British winter. It is worth noting however that pot grown lupins will be more vulnerable to frost, as all pot grown plants are, so moving them into a greenhouse or another sheltered spot is advisable.

The heart of your lupin plant is deep down in the roots so they survive cold spells just fine when left in the ground. When in a pot, however, the heart of the plant is beneath much less soil, particularly from the sides and as such can end up getting frozen.

How Long Will They Keep Coming Back For?

Lupins are not a hugely long-lived perennial, with great care and the perfect growing conditions they can last 10 years, however, expect most lupins grown in British gardens to survive around 6 years.

When they start to get around 5 years of age you will notice the bloom size and number start to diminish. The pant begins to grow more woody and overall is much less appealing than a younger plant. For this reason, I usually grow and plan my lupins around a 4-5 year lifespan.

Always have a mind on growing new plants to take over the older ones in your border. They are not a tough plant to grow so this isn’t really much of a problem at all.

Dividing and replanting

Once your lupins begin to show their age you can still salvage them. Digging, splitting and replanting can revitalise your lupin plants and give you another 3-4 years of beautiful displays.

Cutting lupins back

In Autumn lupins should be cut right back to the base, this will help prolong the life of your lupins. We have a full guide on this process you can find here.

How to tell if my lupin is on its way out

When lupins are ageing they will start to put out fewer and smaller flower spikes. You will also notice that they start to go a lot woodier than they once were. This doesn’t have to be the end though, try digging up, splitting and replanting your lupin to reinvigorate it.

Daniel

Daniel

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. My lupins are about 4 – 5 years old and the flower spikes which used to be pink and lilac are now almost striped dark pink and cream- I’m puzzled!

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