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Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Lupinus, Propagation

I moved to New Hampshire from Missouri and want to grow lupines. Having purchased some plants, I have enjoyed many blooms. After the bloom, the flower turns into what looks like a pod with seeds. Can I replant those seeds in order to propagate them for next year, or when is the best time to plant them? Also for the remaining foliage on the plant, what should I do to maintain it? Continue to water it and give it MiracleGro for nutrients?


According to the American Horticultural Society's Plant Propagation edited by Alan Toogood (DK Publishing, 1999), lupines may be propagated from seed between early and mid-spring. (Other methods of propagation include stem cuttings taken in mid- to late spring). Lupine seeds require some special treatment, as described by Sustainable Urban Landscape Information Series from University of Minnesota:
"Moisture is important to seed germination. Some seeds are protected by a tough seed coat. Some must be soaked in water to soften the seed coat prior to germinating. Other seeds must have their seed coat nicked or pierced (scarified) in order to allow moisture to reach the seed, causing it to expand and break through the seed coat; two examples are in the legume family - sweet peas (Lathyrus species) require soaking, and lupine (Lupinus species) require scarification.

The following information from University of Washington should apply to your lupines, not just our native lupines. It suggests collecting seed from June to August, storing the seed in the pods inside paper bags, and then scarifying them prior to soaking and sowing (in spring or fall).

Lupines should do well in zones 3 to 8, depending on the species. More information on growing hybrid lupines can be found here, including suggestions on fertilizing. Choose a complete slow-release organic fertilizer instead of synthetic fertilizers like MiracleGro, which may be too high in nitrogen.

When flowering is finished, you can cut the plants down to the ground, and you may still see a second burst of growth. There is no need to water when the plant is not in active growth. (In our Northwest climate, the leaves tend to look mildewy by this time of year, and you would want to cut them back anyway). Rainyside Gardeners, a Pacific Northwest website, has additional information.

Date 2017-12-08
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May 23 2018 14:32:42