Lupinus 

(luu-pie' nuss)

Common name: Lupine

Family:Fabaceae, Legume

Height x width: 3-4' x 1-2'

Growth rate, habit: moderate, upright spikes

Foliage: palmately compound with 9-16 leaflets on long 6-12" stalks, leaflets lanceolate 2-6" long

Flowers: showy terminal and dense racemes 1-2' long, individual flowers butterfly-shaped (papilionaceous) to about ½" long; yellows, red, pinks, purples, white and bicolors; early summer

Hardiness: zones 4-6

Soil: moist and acidic for most hybrids and polyphyllus; most species occur in stony, low fertility, dry habitats

Light: sun to part shade

Pests and Problems: powdery mildew, rusts, aphid, four-lined plant bug (none serious)

Landscape habit, uses: border, naturalized in meadows, moist areas, cut flowers

Other interest: name is from the Latin lupus for wolf, refering to the old and false myth that the deep taproot deprived the soil of nutrients, actually being a legume it helps restore soil fertility to poor soils; Russell hybrids are the most popular, bred by George Russell in Yorkshire, England along railway crossing where he worked and were first introduced in 1937

Other culture: will not tolerate high heat and humidity of the south; tall cultivars may need staking or support; may be hard to establish, often prefers poor and rocky soils

Propagation: seeds (1,000 seeds per ounce) sown in alternating day and night temperatures, first soak in water overnight or scarify; cuttings of hybrids in spring with small pice of attached root or crown

Species:

•argenteus (are-gen' tee-us)--zones 4-9, 15-20", native to SW U.S.; blue, lilac or lavender (seldom white or pink) flowers in late summer

•perennis (per-en' niss)--Wild Lupine, zones 4-8, native to eastern N. America, 24-30"; violet, pink, white or bicolor flowers in spring

•polyphyllus (pol-ee-phil' us)--zones 4-8, native to western N. America, 3-5'; blue, purple, pink or white flowers in summer

•texensis (tes-en' siss)--Texas Bluebonnet, zones 5-8, native to Texas, 12-15" with bright blue flowers in spring
 
 

Cultivars:

Most are hybrids of several species including polyphyllus, arboreus (shrub), mutabilis (shrub), hartwegii (annual) and nanus (annual), but often listed under polyphyllus.
 
Cultivar flowers height
Band of Nobles series mix 4-5'
'Chandelier' yellow 3'
Gallery series blue, pink, red, white, yellow 15-18"
'Garden Gnome' many 18-24"
'Minarette' mixed 18-20"
'My Castle' brick red 2-3'
'Noble Maiden' white 2'
'Popsicle' blue, pink, red, white, yellow 2-3'
'Red Flame' bright red 3-4'
'The Chatelaine' pink, white bicolor 3-4'
'The Governor' blue and purple 2-3'
'The Pages' carmine 3'


©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS123 course.

Return to  Perry's Perennial Pages | HGPO course | PSS123 course