This group of sub-shrubs, herbaceous perennials andhas hardy and half-hardy members grown for their impressive, spire-shaped displays of small in shades from white, cream and yellow, blue and red.
Suitable site and soil. Pick a sunnyand a soil that is light, sandy, porous and perhaps slightly acid, not alkaline. They look good planted in in borders where their imposing of can stand out.
Cultivation and care. Plant out from autumn to spring. Take off faded part of floweringto promote flowering and cut back flowering stems after flowering.
Propagation Sow freshof annuals in autumn or take from named varieties in late spring. Raise – – , arboreus from or semi-ripe cuttings in mid summer.
Recommended varieties. Most lupins grown are hybrid varieties of what is known as the ‘Russell Strain’ (crosses between L. polyphyllus, L. arboreus and other species). The usual height for these is about lm – 3ft and many have petals in different colours; flowers are produced in late spring and summer. They are often sold as mixed-colourselections with names such as ‘Russell Mixed’ or ‘Band of Nobles’. L. arboreus (tree lupin) is often grown and is a large, almost shrubby perennial with a semi-permanent, woody framework. The yellow, fragrant flowers are borne in early summer.
Pests and diseases. Usually no trouble from pests but perennials are prone to viral and fungal ailments.
With their tall, dense racemes of flowers, lupins make striking plants for large displays. They can be used in the display as both vertical elements and, in shortlived centrepiece displays, horizontally.