Lupins are a gorgeous plant and a favourite of many gardeners, so if yours are drooping or looking a little sickly then you will want to address any issues immediately. So with that in mind let’s have a look at some of the more common reasons as to why your lupins might be drooping.
Reasons for drooping lupins
Let’s have a look at some of the more common reasons I know that can explain drooping lupins.
Lupin aphids will be the most common pest that cab cause drooping in your lupins. They can completely takeover a plant, and quickly. As you can see in the photo below, they can completely cover the stem of a lupin plant.
Lupin aphids don’t “eat” the plant per se, but this does not mean that they are not dangerous to the plant. They suck the sap out of the plant and if there is a large enough infestation they will do enough damage to cause the lupin to droop and sometimes even die.
You want to try and take steps to control aphids as soon as you see a few on your lupin as they can take over really quickly.
How to get rid of lupin aphids
So you’ve found aphids on your lupins, how do you kill them off? I have a few ideas for you below, some organic and some not.
Probably the most common option and also the most effective. You can get organic bug sprays but they are never as good as the non-organic ones.
If you just want to kill the aphids and save your lupins then I recommend the miracle grow bug spray. I have used this spray myself after being recommended it by another gardener and it really does work wonders.
I have also heard that rose clear can work well on lupins even though it is obviously meant for roses, so if you have some in the shed then give that a try.
Kills all major insect pests, including whitefly, greenfly, black fly, red spider mite, caterpillars and lily beetle, scale insects and mealy bugs For use on flowers, fruit and vegetables.
There are lots of old wives’ tales when it comes to homemade aphid sprays which may be worth trying out but I must say I have not used them myself as they never seem to work.
Garlic spray, mix some crushed garlic in a spray bottle with plenty of water, spray directly onto the aphids and wait around an hour before spraying off with regular water to rinse the flowers.
Soap spray is also meant to work well on lupin aphids. Mix some washing up soap with water before applying and rinsing off as above.
Knock them off
Aphids don’t like being knocked off lupins and can struggle to get back up onto the plant. If you regularly knock them off the plant and squash a few then this can help to keep the infestation in check and is about as organic as gardening gets.
Another pest control solution like the nematodes for slugs. Ladybirds love feasting on aphids and a single ladybird can eat thousands of them in a lifetime. So if you have lots of aphids then you don’t have enough ladybirds in your garden, but how can you fix this?
These native British Adalia Bipunctata ladybird larvae have a huge appetite for soft -bodied garden pests such as aphids (greenfly and blackfly), spider mite, scale, mealy-bug etc.
These are live ladybirds in their larvae form. You can apply them directly to the plant where they will immediately get to work munching on aphids. When old enough they will transform into ladybirds and continue munching on aphids, win-win!
If your lupin has been recently bought from the garden centre then it may have a poor root structure. Lupins like to grow a large tap root but garden centre lupins are often forced. This makes them grow quicker and look better in the store but they are often not particularly healthy plants.
They tend to end up in a situation where they can have too much foliage and it is tough for the roots to support the plant. If this is your issue then all you can really do is wait and allow the plant time to establish itself and develop its root structure.
Lupins are well suited to growing conditions in the UK which is normally pretty cold and wet lets be honest. What this does mean though is that if we get an extended really hot spell then lupins can sometimes suffer.
There isn’t much you can really do here apart from keeping your plant well watered and waiting for the hot weather to pass, which normally happens sooner rather than later.
Most soil conditions are fine for lupins but the one thing they really don’t like is wet roots. If your soil is waterlogged then this could be the reason for a dropping lupin.
You have two choices if this is your issue. You can either move the lupin to another area in the garden or improve the soil drainage around the lupin.
If you choose to improve the soil try to add sand and maybe even a bit of gravel to your soil mix, this will help to improve the drainage. If the lupins are in a really wet spot then you might have to take more serious action like digging a french drain.
With the changing of seasons comes problems for lupins. While being a perennial plant they do die off every winter before bouncing back to life come the following spring.
So if it is mid Autumn or we have had a very cold autumn then this completely natural reason could be why your lupins are starting to look a little sad.
Other pests that love lupins
there is one, or two depending on how you classify them, pest that loves lupins. And that is the classic gardener’s nemesis, slugs and snails.
A slug can devour a young plant overnight and while bigger plants can easily fend off their advances they can still make the leaves look ugly. Learn more about slugs here.
More on 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 a chance to 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.