Lupines are interesting perennial flowers that I often receive questions about.
Generally, this native of sunny, sandy or gravelly soils frustrates the heck out of gardeners who have difficulty growing it.
It really does thrive best in full, hot sun.
It also likes well drained soils that get decent amounts of rainfall. Some garden writers describe this plant as growing well on clay. I never found this to be true for me but hey, if it works for you I’m pleased.
It will however, produce huge flowers in fertile soil with good amounts of organic matter.
Lupines and Grass combination
Doesn’t Like Transplanting
It dislikes being transplanted. Really. By far the easiest way to grow this perennial flower is to start it from seed in your garden where you want it to grow.
It hates transplanting so much that commercial nurseries will only seed it in plug trays (mini-flower pots) that will not damage the root when transplanted out of this seedling tray. I’ve heard a lot of garden moaning over trying to move small plants. Interestingly enough, the big roots move better than smaller ones.
Technically a Biennial
This plant is technically a biennial; this means they grow foliage the first year and flower the second. They then proceed to die. This means you really, really want to allow the seed heads to mature on the plant and spread them around your garden where you want flowers in following years. If you don’t seed, you won’t have new plants.
While not fragrant, lupines do make an excellent cut flower.
Aphids on lupins are a pain in the anatomy
Lupins are aphid-traps. They attract almost as many of these pests as honeysuckle do. The answer to both is the same.
A strong jet of water will knock aphids off the plants. They won’t climb back on as beetles etc will usually eat them quite quickly. You have to do it regularly – like every 2-3 days.
Insecticidal soap works nicely if mixed at the right proportion.
Again, read the label and understand that you have to go after these aphid pests regularly every 3-5 days. I note this is the same regime for chemical sprays as well. You just never get them all the first time so you have to repeat regularly. (If organic sprays and hose jets are equally effective, why spend the money on spraying noxious chemicals if you don’t have to?)
Trim off the dead/dying flowers.
The leaves will be fine and there’s no need to dig them up or cut them to the ground if you regularly control the aphids on your lupins.