Guide to planting, growing, and caring for Lupines.


Lupines prefer full sun; they’ll grow in light shade but won’t flower as profusely. They also prefer sandy, well-drained soil and can’t survive water-logged conditions. Also, they can not tolerate heavy soils so be sure to loosen the soil up before planting. 

When to Plant Lupines

  • Plant in cool temperatures; lupine can not tolerate heat, humidity, or drought.
  • Lupine seeds are sown in early spring or in the fall. Many gardeners prefer to plant in fall to enjoy them mid-spring. 
  • If starting seedlings indoors, you can transplant them when they are about 4 to 6 weeks old. At this age, they haven’t developed the long tap root and will have a better chance to survive.

How to Plant Lupines

  • First, just loosen soil for the lupines’ long tap roots to grow; loosen to a depth of about 1 to 1-1/2 foot; amend with organic matter and grit for good drainage. 
  • Before planting, soak seeds in a bowl of warm water 24 to 48 hours to soften the tough seed coat, and then you can “scarify” the seeds to allow moisture to reach the seed; this means roughening the seeds between two sheets of sandpaper before planting. Scarifying the seeds great improves the odds of germination.
  • To sow seeds, dig a hole 1/2 inch deeper than the seedling pot and twice as wide. Space seedlings for smaller varieties about 1 foot apart and larger varieties about 2 to 3 feet apart. 
  • Tamp down the seeds, ensuring good soil contact. Water, and if the weather is dry, water lightly until germination, which can take up to 10 days.


  • Avoid fertilizing; if necessary, apply an acidifying agent to maintain slightly acidic pH in the soil.
  • Taller varieties may need staking.
  • Cut off faded flowers to promote more blooms.
  • Save the seeds when the pods turn yellow.
  • Don’t cut dead spikes in the fall, wait until spring.
  • Harvest and save seeds then the pods turn yellow and seeds rattle inside.
  • Add mulch around the plants to keep the roots cool (and for winter protection).
  • Do not allow mulch or other organic matter to touch the crown of the plant, as it could introduce rot.

Caring for Lupines (Lupinus) - Tips Below👇

  1. Soil Requirements: Lupines thrive in deep, well-draining, and acidic soil. You can create a suitable growing medium by mixing pine needle soil, decomposed bark, and sand. Before potting the plants, it's crucial to sterilize the soil and add some small gravel to the bottom of the pot to encourage root growth.

  2. Environmental Management: Lupines prefer to grow in a cool and sunny environment and have strong cold resistance. During the summer, place them in a partially shaded and well-ventilated area. They can even grow normally at temperatures around 0°C during the winter. However, it's not advisable to leave them outdoors for extended periods. During the flowering period, ensure they receive ample sunlight exposure to promote bud differentiation.

  3. Water Management: Water Lupines only when the soil becomes dry during the growing season. Avoid waterlogging, as it can lead to root rot. Water generously in spring, summer, and autumn to keep the soil consistently moist, but gradually reduce watering in winter.

  4. Fertilizer Management: Lupines prefer acidic growing mediums. During the growing season, you can choose to use urea or well-rotted farmyard manure for fertilization. Dilute the fertilizer before application to facilitate root absorption. If the plants are growing well, you can spray a diluted ferrous sulfate solution on the leaves 1-2 times to promote lush foliage growth.

Important Notes: Lupines are susceptible to diseases and pests such as leaf spot, powdery mildew, and rust. These issues manifest as black spots on leaves and stems. To prevent these problems, improve ventilation during spring and summer, promptly prune and remove diseased branches, and use fungicides like copper oxychloride or wettable sulfur for prevention and control.

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