Will Lupines Grow Here?

vha7777(7)February 21, 2006

Hello, I really want to try growing some Lupines in a shady area of my garden but I have never tried them before here. I'm just worried that the heat and humidity is going to be too much for them. I'm going to try sowing them this week and see what happens. Anybody have some experience in the southern part of the state with these plants? Thanks!

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seedbandito(7 NC)

I had a good patch of them a few years back. Had them in part sun & they were doing really well. I've since moved & tried last year to get some started and they all failed. I may have kept them too wet. I have a bunch of them started again in the greenhouse to try again this year. I'll put them in part sun in a drier area of the gardens. They will do well here in the south, it's just a matter of finding the right place for them. Don't give up on them. Good luck.


    Bookmark   February 22, 2006 at 6:01AM
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Carolina Lupine, Thermopsis villosa, does well. It is a different plant altogether.

Here is a link that might be useful: Thermopsis villosa

    Bookmark   February 22, 2006 at 7:01AM
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aisgecko(7b Raleigh)

I have seen some growing here beautifully, but I don't know the secret. Maybe those were greenhouse grown and put out while flowering or something. I have tried several times and not gotten them to flower before the heat gets them. I'm trying some from seed this year too. I think in the perfect spot you could grow them, but they are not easy in this climate. -Ais.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2006 at 8:17AM
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Most people grow baptistas and Carolina bush pea as a substitute for lupines in the South.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2006 at 9:24AM
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Thanks for the advice! Hopefully I will have some seedlings to play around with in the spring. Will I be fine sowing them right now? I'm just about to do my sweet peas this week too.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2006 at 10:38AM
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I wintersowed some of the ruby red Russel's hybrid type a few years back. Got them to germinate in the fall and exposed the seedlings to winter temps in hopes that they would bloom the following spring (someone somewhere said that trick would work). They didn't bloom though they did get nice and large. They suffered through the summer in a large pot that I would dutifly drag in and out of the sun depending on how hot it would get - I did this ALL seasoon long! I kept them goin through their second winter. Finally it looked like I would have success. But on one warm spring day they shot up some wimpy stalks and bloomed their brains out. It was all over in a matter of a few days. Hardly worth all the effort I put into it.

You might find a variety that will handle our heat and humidity but the flowers may only look like the magazine fotos for a few days. Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2006 at 11:55AM
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It's the humidity or the combo of acid soil and humidity, because I grew them in full sun in Phoenix, and they did great as long as they had enough water.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2006 at 1:19PM
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Wow, that is interesting, I never would have guessed lupines would do well in Phoenix!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2006 at 2:26PM
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Alicia, to the best of my memory, the lupines were called Russell hybrids. There was also a native true lupine there. My AHS calls for slightly acid soil for Lupinus, so it wasn't the alkalinity. They were on 3X per day 2 minute drip irrigation. I tried to grow azaelas there with no luck at all, even with shade cloth and drip. Funny that now that I'm back in the South, azaelas don't interest me.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2006 at 4:04PM
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Phoenix? no way. It sounds like they were a lot of work though, I'm just too lazy for that, haha. I think I'm also too lazy to plant then in pots and move them around (I do admire your dedication though john!) I'm going to try the cultivar "Band of Nobles" from T&M. I'm planning on just sowing them in pots in the next week or so and see what happens. Hopefully when they start growing and when they get some size on them I will plant them out in a prepared bed that only get sun in the late afternoon. I'm also going to try my luck with sweet peas in this bed (just because it's prob the coolest spot in the yard). I will let you all know how it goes! Thanks again for the advice.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2006 at 5:56PM
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aisgecko(7b Raleigh)

I'm wintersowing the Band of Nobles and the Russel Hybrid types I think. We'll see how they do. I'm not dedicated enough to move them all over either. I figured I'd give them one more try before giving up. Hopefully enough will germinate that I can try them in a couple of different spots and one will work out. I'm not holding my breath though. -Ais.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2006 at 8:35PM
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Lupines do not grow well in the east of the mountains. Larkspur is a free seeding annual that blooms in shades of white, blues, purples and lavenders. It's used as a substitute for lupines.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2006 at 9:16PM
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my seeds started to sprout the other day along with my sweet peas I planted a few weeks ago. Is there anything I need to do besides protect from hard frosts?! I'm going to plant them out as soon as they get some true leaves on them. Thanks!


    Bookmark   March 12, 2006 at 9:51PM
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You might want to look at False Indigo, Baptisia spp., which has flowers similar to lupines. Several species of Baptisia are native to the Southeast and grow well here. Plant Delights has a number of varieties listed on their web site, and Tony Avent raves about them.


    Bookmark   March 13, 2006 at 12:33PM
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birdgardner(NJ/ 6b)

There are some annual lupines that can take heat, especially if you start them early - Sunrise is blue, yellow and white (on one flower). Parks and Thompson&Morgan have carried them. They don't grow real big but they're pretty.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2006 at 1:18PM
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jqpublic(7b/8a Wake County NC)

Ok so we bought some Lupines at home depot last year. Both plants made it through most of the summer but one died at the tail end near fall. But I still have one plant that made it through the whole winter. It is in front of my house which faces southeast but gets afternoon sun from our large Southern Red Oak. Will it bloom this season? The plant is already quite established and I can see a flush of new growth coming up. I hope there is a chance for us to see some really beauties this year.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2007 at 11:27PM
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Tammy Kennedy

yes, you'll probably get blooms this year. they are sort of biennuals. i've grown them a couple of times successfully from seed or seedlings, but they were the quicker annual types, and never got really big, but they did bloom. have never been successful getting a stand going of the bi's. i bought a big pack of 'wild' lupines from pinetree last year that are unrefined ones. figured maybe if i got away from the messed with ones- i dunno. maybe they'd be better started in fall like so many bis are. not quite willing to give up yet. good to know sunrise does well here- i think it's really pretty. maybe i'll watch for those seeds again. tam

    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 9:45AM
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jqpublic(7b/8a Wake County NC)

Thanks for the encouragement. I'll keep my fingers crossed!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 10:14PM
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Hello, i was the orig. poster of this question last spring and I gave it a go without much success, granted my soil sucks and my lupines were in were in a fair bit of shade but of all my seedlings only 1 made it to this spring! what a bummer! I had about 4 good seedlings going (I only sowed a few to see what would happen) but 3 of them kinda pooped out in the summer heat. I hope this last one I have will bloom but it's a tiny plant at the moment so the odds don't look that great. This might just be a plant I will have to give up on (at least for now) best of luck to everyone else trying to grow em!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2007 at 11:05AM
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melsalz(Z7 NC)

I have some seeds that I bought in England that I have started inside. I didn't know they wouldn't grow here. Really didn't give it much thought before I bought them just thought the picture on the flower packet looked gorgeous. Anyway I plan on planting them on a northeast corner that gets full morning sun. I'll give feedback in 6 months. Keeping my fingers crossed and hoping for the best.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2007 at 1:03PM
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jqpublic(7b/8a Wake County NC)

Just wanted to pass along that the 1 of the 2 lupine plants I planted last spring has survived. It is now growing quite bushy and I just found a nice thick BUD coming up from the center!!!!!! I hope there are more!!! You can grow Lupines in Raleigh! But you will have casualties :(

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 2:09PM
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jqpublic(7b/8a Wake County NC)

I just wanted to point out that the lupine bloomed on this huge stalk with pink blooms! Very pretty. To the left are some spent hyacinths and irises along with some hosta. In the center is an asiatic lily, platycodon...and to the right some heavily budded peony, a sedum autumn joy and some glads. Boy is it hot outside though! I hope the lupine doesn't melt!!

    Bookmark   April 30, 2007 at 4:46PM
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