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A few years ago I saw some lupins in the garden of a friend and they looked so beautiful I decided to get some for my own garden. Lupins are quite recognisable in the UK, I think, as they have that classic 'English Country Garden' appearance and are quite popular among gardeners. They not only have beautiful and striking flowers but their foliage has unusual shaped leaves which also stand out.
Lupins come in a variety of different colours and it can be quite nice to sow a variety from seed as you never know what you are going to get. The colour on on stem also tends to be shaded with washes of white going through to the darker colour such as pink or purple. This makes the flowers look very beautiful. After my first year of having lupins I discovered that it was extremely easy to harvest the seeds and plant them the following year and I definitely would advise doing this.
Lupins look wonderful in a border but also can be set in large pots. The shape of the flower makes them stand out in the garden. The flower heads are tall and erect with multiple heads in a pointed arrow shape. The leaves are comprised of many thin, spiky finger-like leaves which almost have the appearance of a leafy hand or a pointy star. The actual foliage, prior to flowering, is quite vulnerable to damage as the stems are thin and can be crushed or knocked over very easily. This has been an issue for me as I have pets who have crushed my lupins and reduced their growth.
I have noticed that bees and butterflies really enjoy visiting lupins and diving into the odd shaped flower heads. The petals on the flowers have a slightly draped shape.
I would absolutely recommend lupins to any gardener looking for a visually stunning flower for their borders. The lupin plant really does stand out in both colour and shape and creates a real impact on how a garden looks and feels. I wouldn't say they were the most robust flower though so you may need to give these a little bit more care until they are in the flowering stage.
I like big, brightly coloured plants - perennials, for preference, since I don't go for all that 'bedding plants, nemesias - tuberous begonias - surfinas, pop 'em in a planter and wait for them to die' malarkey. Something with interesting foliage and large gaudy flowers, preferably in clashing colours; a plant that grows tall and reliably comes up year after year is what I'm after - so given all that in theory I should love lupins. Hypothetically, I do.
My mother had some lovely pink and purple ones in her garden just after my parents first moved into their house, and I know for a fact that it took her years and years of chipping away at that lupin's giant root-stock to finally make the plant succumb (so that presumably, she could transform the space where it had once been into a plug-ugly failing veg plot since that is what they've got there in its place)....so from that I had always assumed that lupins are pretty easy to grow.
But this is about my fifth year of trying to get the blessed things established in my own garden, and after another recent failure, I've basically had to give up.
They're horribly vulnerable to slug-attacks, is what I've found. I've bought lupins from the nursery and the garden centre at all stages of development; I've planted them here, I've planted them there, trying all different parts of the garden, both front and back: I've surrouned the tender plants with slug-deterring grit and plastic barriers and eggshells, I go out at night with a torch, collect the slugs in a flower pot and move them a hundred yards down the road - but still sooner or later the lupins all get munched. The latest smallish lupin plant I bought - after vowing that this year, I wasn't going to bother trying with lupins in the first place - would've been a gorgeous burgundy-red flowered variety, so lovely that I couldn't resist it, and I was trying to 'harden that off' - ie to grow it to a slug-resistant size in a separate, isolated pot before planting it in the garden.
But I came back from a few days away yesterday and for a long time, couldn't even find which of the pots had had the red lupin in it. The slugs had gnawed through not just the above-ground foliage, but had chomped right down into the stem, taking every trace of plant material that would've been visible from the surface, right down to well below the soil-line. It was like those hollow imprints of fossil shells you sometimes find on the beach, only in this case, just a hole in the soil showing where the stem of a lupin plant had once been was left in the pot.
I know there's an easy solution to this - slug pellets - but I'm not in favour of poisoning things in principle so that's out. I can't believe that 'cottage garden'-type plants like lupins could only be grown 'in them days' because they were all using slug pellets, so there must be some secret for lupin-growing success, but so far, personally I've yet to find it.
Lupins are one of my favorite garden plants but dont seem to be that popular, i havent seen anyone else with them.
Lupins are very easy to grow from seed, all you need to do is loosen the soil where you intend to plent them with a small rake, scatter a couple of seeds and rake over again.
You need to do this in late february.
Lupins are very tall flowering plants which grow to upto 3 1/2 foot sometimes although dwarf breeds are available. Choose your place for these very wisely or you will have beautiful flowers that have fallen over. I always plant mine by the fencing so that if the begin to droop i can tie them to the fence.
I dont realy now how to describe the flower on this plant but you can see it in the picture above, they come in a lot of different colours , flower from june untill late summer and look beautiful.
They need a little sunshine but not direct sun light all day so a boarder by a fence will be just fine.
They smell beautiful.
The flowers on the lupin go to seed after they die so if you collect these for next year you wont have to buy any but remember to label the bags or pots you put your seeds in, i couldnt be bothered to label mine last year and thought i would remember what was what but now have a load of seeds that i dont know what they are and am going to be taking pot luck where they end up,