Lupins are one of the classic cottage garden flowers. There towering flower spikes punctuating the borders like multi coloured rockets awaiting take off.
Taking Care of your Lupins
Lupins are fairly easy to take care of, plant in a sunny well drained area and off they go. Feed a phosphorous rich fertilizer to encourage flowering and dead head to keep them flowering longer. If you have chalky soil then you should grow Lupins in pots.
Lupins should not be cut back after flowering. They are unlikely to flower a second time. So you are far better off removing the flower spikes and allow the plant to put all its energy into growth. You can then either have a bigger display next year, Or split the plant in the spring to produce more plants. Being a member of the pea family they fix nitrogen and so are often suggested as companions for nitrogen hungry plants.
Seeds are easy to collect and grow, however lupins don’t stay true from seed so if you have a plant that you particularly like you will have to either split the plant or take cuttings,
Cutting should be taken in the spring when the new shoots are developing. Choose shoots which are not too big and trim off the lower leaves. Plant in a well draining gritty compost.
Splitting should be done in spring or autumn. Do not be greedy ensure the new plants have enough root to survive.
An unknown amateur gardener, George Russell, turned up at the RHS Westminster show in 1937 with a display of Lupins which amazed the gardening community. He was 80 years old at the time. He had grown thousands of Lupins on his allotment relying on bees to pollinate them. he did not seem to approve of hand pollination. His work and dedication means that his name is now synonymous with lupins.
For more information on Lupins try West Country Lupins