LUPINUS Lupin

Before the 1930s Lupins were nothing special, but the introduction of the Russell Hybrids changed all that. They are now amongst the most popular of all perennials, their large pea-like flowers crowded on to stately spires in a vast range of colours. They are accommodating plants – quick-growing, tolerant of light shade and town conditions, but they are also short-lived. Add peat (not compost) before planting and cover the crowns in winter if your garden is in a frost pocket. Lupins unfortunately have a number of enemies – virus (mottled leaves and brown stems), slugs and mildew.

VARIETIES: The usual practice is to buy a mixture of Russell Hybrids of L. polyphyllus which have been raised from seed. The basic details are height 3-4 ft. Spacing 2 ft.

Flowering period: June-July (and September if the first flush is removed when blooms have faded). Named varieties are available – some are a single colour, such as ‘Lady Fayre’ (pink) and ‘Lilac Time’ (lilac), and others are bi-colours, like ‘Blue Jacket’ (blue/white) and ‘Mrs Micklethwaite’ (pink/gold).

SITE AND SOIL: Any well-drained garden soil will do – acid land is preferred. Thrives in sun or light shade.

PROPAGATION: Sow seeds under glass in spring or plant basal cuttings (with a few roots attached) in March.

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