(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


•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


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.

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