The tall peduncles of this herbaceous perennial delight the eye for a long time in sunny flower beds. Handsome lupines are now experiencing a new wave of popularity due to the appearance of varieties with polychrome flowers.
Lupin in bloom is a fantastic sight! The xiphoid lush inflorescences of the plant involuntarily attract everyone’s attention. Since June, they soar above the openwork palm leaves, reaching a meter high.
In the photo below, the slender white candles of lupin ‘Fräulein’ contrast with the purple balls of Allium aflatunense ‘Purple Sensation’. Due to the shape of the inflorescences of the plants, the composition turned out to be dynamic.
The name “lupin” comes from the Latin lupus — “wolf”. According to an old belief, a potion was prepared from this plant that turns a person into a beast. But the nerds put forward a more prosaic version: most likely, our hero got a formidable name due to his ability to survive in the most unfavorable conditions. It is this “property of character” that contributed to the great love of breeders for the flower.
The planting of herbaceous perennials with flowers of different shades of red looks fascinating. In the photo on the left, lupin ‘Red Rum’ was made up of Astrantia, Paeonia lactiflora and Aquilegia atrata. On the right: the main pollinators of lupines are bumblebees. When the insect sits on the so-called boat, it bends away, opening access to pollen.
New varieties of lupines
New varieties appeared at the beginning of the XX century by crossing the “American” — Lupinus polyphyllus — with other annual and perennial species of this plant. To this day, the hybrids of the English breeder George Russell (1857-1951) are in great favor with gardeners. The Main Schloss variety series created by him includes, for example, ‘Fräulein’ with snow-white flowers, ‘Kronleuchter’ with yellow and ‘Edelknabe’ with flowers of rare carmine color. Representatives of these varieties reach 80-100 cm in height and bloom for many weeks.
In the photo: the flower garden is decorated as a lawn. Purple irises bloomed next to the yellow lupin ‘Kronleuchter’. The buds of Digitalis lutea will open soon.
The hybrids of Lupinus nanus of the ‘Gallery’ variety series bred by Russell are significantly lower in “height”. These babies are only up to 50-60 cm high and are suitable for growing in a pot.
And finally, we present the novelties of breeding — the West Country variety series. Many of these tall and at the same time resistant to lodging hybrids have two- and even polychrome flowers, which turns them into real garden stars. These are, for example, ‘Gladiator’ and ‘Tequila Flame’. The latter reaches only 60 cm in height and from June to August conquers with two-colored flowers.
Extravagant varietal plants, such as ‘Masterpiece’ and ‘Salmon Star’, are so catchy that it is advisable to choose companions with a more modest “appearance” in their “retinue”, for example, a geranium or a cuff. In the photo on the left: ‘Salmon Star’ out of competition — you can’t take your eyes off the bright yellow-pink lush inflorescences of this lupine. The height of the plant can reach 1 m.
‘Masterpiece’ is the rightfully called lupin from the West Country variety series: the plant has purple—blue flowers with an orange-red sail. In the photo on the right, a dark purple lupin ‘Masterpiece’ surrounded by geraniums and ferns looks mysterious and charming
Lupines do not require special care. They are completely undemanding to the soil, except that they develop better on loamy slightly acidic and slightly alkaline soils.
In the garden, this representative of the flora needs to be provided with a sunny, wind-protected place to protect the lush “candles” from damage.
If the flower stalks are cut off after flowering, the plant forms new shoots, so that at the end of summer the “pet” will again please you with bright decoration.
The subtleties of sowing lupines
After flowering, lupine first produces green pubescent fruits-beans, which turn brown as they mature. Globular seeds are hidden in them. Do you want to collect them for sowing? Do not miss the moment: when the fruits open the leaves, the seeds will spill out onto the ground.
Important: in “pets” grown from such seed material, the color of the flowers often differs from that of the mother plant. Therefore, in order to insure against such unpleasant surprises, it is better to buy seeds in garden centers.
In the spring, sow the “seeds” in pots for seedlings and in early June, plant the strongest seedlings in the flower garden.
Tip: young seedlings should be especially carefully protected from slugs!
On sale you can find not only varieties and hybrids, but also original mixes of lupins. In the photo on the left, plants of different pink-flowered varieties are blooming. The background is dark purple Salvia nemorosa.
Polychrome inflorescences look incredibly impressive. ‘Towering Inferno’ in the photo on the right fascinates with orange-red flowers with a yellow sail. The buds that have not yet opened are colored dark pink.
This is interesting: in shopping malls you can find mixtures of annual Lupinus hartwegii, which in May can be sown directly in the open ground.