Growing lupines from seed

bellarosa(z5/IL)February 17, 2007

and I need some advice. I've never grown lupines before and would really like to try and do so. Are there any specific varieties that you could recommend? What type of soil do they like? Are they hardy perennials? Also, can they take intense heat? Help!

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balsam(z4/5 NB)

no advice on specific varieties but lupines do require some special care when germinating. The seeds must be scarified - that is, chilled then ruptured in some way.I freeze or chill mine in the fridge. Rubbing with sand paper is recommedned, though I find nicking with a sharp blade after chilling works better. Soaking after the "rupture" is alway a good practice too. Just make sure to plant right away after 24 hours. Longer than that just results in rotten seeds.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2007 at 7:53PM
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hipchick(z6 NE MA)

I have great success winter sowing lupines, it is keeping them alive afterwards where I have a problem LOL

Baptistas look like lupines but are much more forgiving - just sayin'

    Bookmark   February 17, 2007 at 10:41PM
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I winter sow lupines every year and I have never froze them or scarified them. I planted 72 seeds last week and almost all of them are up. they are really very hardy. I left some in the milk jugs all summer long and they grew and grew. they are coming back this year.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2007 at 11:44PM
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Steveningen(sunset 17, CA)

I planted a 4" pot last springs and the thing went nuts. I got quite a few seeds from this guy. This lupine overwintered in spite of a week of mid-20's nights. I whacked the daylights out of it two weeks ago. It's already 16" again.

I'll take the seeds and try a little experiment. I'll follow Balsam's suggestion and then sow some directly. I'll report back in 6 weeks or so ;-)

    Bookmark   February 17, 2007 at 11:50PM
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You've received good advice about growing lupines from seed, so I will address some of your other questions by sending you this information from "Midwest Cottage Gardening" by Frances Manos. She writes:

"Lupines need cool cummers, and acidic, well-drained, moist, sandy soil.
Many of us (in the Midwest) have slightly alkaline, okay-draining, dry, clay soil, so as you can see, we have a problem lupinewise.
If you're sure you have good drainage, especially in the winter, and you can dig in lots of organic matter and sand, you might make a go of lupines, but an especially hot summer or soggy winter could be their death knell".

She goes on to recommend Culver's Root (Veronicastrum virginicum) as the Midwest's answer to lupines.
I think that Hipchick made a great suggestion to try baptisa if lupines don't work.

Also this is about Lupines from the excellent "Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Perennials" by Phillips and Burrell:
"Lupines will not perform well in eastern and central zones warmer than zone 6. On the West coast they fare much better." So, Bellarosa, the fact that you are in a cool zone is in your favor, even though you're in the Midwest.

My own advice: don't put them in a windy area. Once the wind twists the heavy flower heads there is no way to straighten them and they look frightful (There are dwarf varieties such as Minarette which are better in wind). Also be watchful for aphids and whitefly. These can ravage your lupines as I learned from sad experience for the first time last year (after growing them in different gardens for many years). Look to your local nurseries for a good variety of lupine for your specific area.

Lupines are a wonderful plant that may be carefree or problematic depending on the growing conditions.
Good luck and enjoy!

    Bookmark   February 18, 2007 at 7:24AM
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I have started different seed varieties of lupin from
various catalogs. For me they all germinate at an equal
rate. I just put them in a sealed plastic bag rolled
up in wet paper towels. The seeds soften in the wet paper towels and germinate. Every couple of days I take the little seedlings out and put them into a germinating mix under grow lights. Then, when they get large enough I
transplant them into lager pots and put them outside.
After they harden off, they can tolerate quite a bit of
They do grow well and come back each year but after 3 or 4
years that's it. So by sowing some each year, I always have
at least some lupins.
Here is one I started from seed:

    Bookmark   February 18, 2007 at 12:18PM
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There are annual and perennial lupins.

The annual lupins are smaller but they are so pretty with their dainty little flowers. The seed I just plant right in the ground in may and they bloom by August. The aphids don't seem to bother with them much.

Perennial lupins, I have several kinds. I just throw the seed packet in the freezer till I remember it again and then, soak the seed till it sprouts. Then plant each sprouted seed in a 4 in pot. Grow under lights till plant out time. They transplant well for me....and grow beautifully. With deadheading, I often see a second flush of flowers.

Lupins will stay very small in straight clay soil, but still survive. They do best in well ammended soil. The one thing they really don't like, is sitting in water. This happened in a low spot in my garden, and even that didn't finish them off......they still sent out small side shoots that kept growing.

The one problem is huge blue/green aphids. These appear when the flowers start to diminish. They cover the stems where the flowers were, they look awful, but don't seem to actually hurt the plants. When I deadhead the lupins, I cut quite low, and throw the cuttings in a plastic garbage bag and tie it. This type of aphid, doesn't seem to be on any other plants in my garden.

For my zone, they are the tough plants that just keep on growing!


    Bookmark   February 18, 2007 at 12:29PM
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Thank you everyone for your advice and suggestions. I can't wait to try my hand at growing these beauties. Hopefully, I will be able to grow them and post pictures as beautiful as Regina's!

    Bookmark   February 18, 2007 at 8:05PM
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faltered(Hamburg NY Z5/6)

I winter sowed some cherry red lupines last winter and they got quite large during the summer. This year, I'm looking forward to blooms.

We have them in several abandoned lots around here, so I know no one waters or cares for them during the heat of the summer. Yet they've been going strong for the three years we've lived here.


    Bookmark   February 20, 2007 at 8:55AM
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    Bookmark   February 22, 2007 at 3:16PM
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I'm a newbie. I planted some lupine seed indoors and some outdoors to compare. Only 2 of 5 of the indoor ones have sprouted. I used stratification and the tea /paper towel. method. The outdoor ones aren't showing yet.
When can I put these two out into my mini greenhouse?

Here is a link that might be useful: My garden plants

    Bookmark   April 2, 2007 at 4:10PM
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I grew my lupines that i mentioned earlier in an unheated green house and just planted them out day before yesterday.
Mine have always bloomed the first year. I've lost a lot in the past due the powdery mildew.
I just planted mine straight from the pkg into soil in plug trays. I had 100% germination. Good luck with yours!!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2007 at 10:58PM
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pondwelr(z5 WI)

Bellarosa, I started my Russells Lupines about 5 yrs ago, under lights, in my basement. Didnt do anything to the seeds except plant them and put under a shop light. Plus I got quite a few from a barren spot where I threw a pkg of so-called wildflowers that I got at a flower show. The ground back there is acidic to neutral.
Anyway, they reseed everywhere! I adore their accidental appearance among the geraniums, tomatoes, shrubbery. Year one they just put out a nice flowerlet, the second year they flower, and maybe the third year they die. I cant say, because I have so doggone many. This year I will tie yarn around the bloomers. If they dont come up next year, well then, they are true biennals. And not perennials.

They sure do well in my zone 5 SEWis garden. Once planted, you will never be without.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 8:13PM
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I don't understand how they can bloom the 2nd yr in one zone and the 1st in another. Mine were three-4ft tall and tons of blooms the first year. and rarely resow themselves. I have a few self sown. but then again i did use a pre-emergant for the weeds and i'd rather have less weeds and start the lupines and other stuff from seeds.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2007 at 12:01AM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

I have grown Russell Lupins off and on for a long time, I've had some beauties, I especially like the dwarf forms. My problem is they seem to peter out after 3 or 4 years.
Last year when I was placing my order for cyclamen seed from Ashwood Nursery I noticed they had seed listed from the original Russell Lupin strain. I bought 1 pack to try, I'm curious to see what the original R.L.'s look like and to compare them to todays strains.
So far as seedlings, at least for me, they don't seem to be as vigorous as the more recent strains, time will tell. Now if the slugs and snails don't get them I hope to see some flowers this year.
Up here if I sow Lupin seed very early in the year I sometimes, not always get flowers the same year, but usually I sow my Lupin seed in the summer and they don't flower till the following year.


    Bookmark   April 8, 2007 at 12:53AM
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Wow! What great posts.

I should have read this forum 2 days ago. I sunk 6 lupines from my local nursery into the ground about a week ago- all are doing well, 2 are flowering.

In my excitement, I broke open the package of seeds purchased earlier this year. Before it started to rain today I sprinkled them liberally about in the flower bed.

Anyone have Central North Carolina success in starting lupines this way? I know their lifespan around these parts is about 4 years. I can live with that if I can keep them going via seed disbursal.

It looks like I may have wasted a perfectly good package of seeds.

Thanks- Erin

    Bookmark   May 4, 2007 at 1:57PM
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Hey I am new here...hoping to get some advice...
Well I planted like 40+ lupines this summer...they are the year to two year old ones...they aren't doing the greatest...I water them every day, I've got aphids, and the leaves are all dried up and the flowers look aweful...I worry I will lose $220 that I invested in these plants....I am now putting potting soil around the plants and mulching them all in hopes of keeping moisture in the ground when I water them. I live in Northern Maine and lupines are growing in this state just what am I doing wrong? Do you think the mulch and potting soil will help? I think some of them I planted too high in the ground...a few weren't planted well enough...even though I did my best at the time I had planted them. Any suggestions?

    Bookmark   July 2, 2007 at 10:32AM
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Hello Skye82, I live in DownEast Maine. I winter sowed my LuLu Lupines this year. Out of 20 seeds I got 18 plants. I think you might be making a mistake in watering your lupines every day. If you notice where the wild ones grow you will see that they are really not in wet places but more gravel pit or side of the road type places. They don't like wet feet. I think the wet is a haven for the aphids. If you planted your lupines with blooms on them you might be better off to cut the blooms off. I beleive most lupines are bi-annuals so you may not see many next year. You can watch the wild ones and gather some seed pods when they dry and start to split. My LuLu's are supposed to bloom this year and I have "the Chatelaine" which are red that have been blooming for a couple of weeks and should continue for awhile longer. I would be happy to share seeds with you which you can either direct sow this summer or winter sow. I did buy some yellow Russel lupines this spring and they are doing well but I really don't think they will bloom until next year. Sometimes when I get a new plant and need advice on how to grow it I do a google search typing in "how to grow lupines" (or whatever). There will be lots to read. Everyone here and at the winter sowing forum are happy to help but I am often impatient for my information. Good luck and let us know how they do.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2007 at 5:23PM
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"Make the world more beautiful."

Here is a link that might be useful: The Lupine Lady

    Bookmark   July 2, 2007 at 6:29PM
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lavendrfem(z6 CT)

This spring I grew Dwarf Blue Lupines from seed. I started a couple in pots back in March and kept them on my heated porch. Then I put a few in the ground in May and they sprouted there too. This variety seemed pretty easy at least. The other lupine I have I bought as a small plant. It blooms here in Spring, until the weather gets warm, then it dies back. This year I'm collecting the seeds and I'll see how that one germinates.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2007 at 7:09PM
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memo(Zone 4B Nebraska)

Funny how this post popped back up to the top just now. I was going to post and ask some lupine questions myself. I have three. I don't know what the variety is as the tag just said "mixed". I bought them at a nursery. Anyway...two of them have bloomed and they were tiny little things. The tag said perennial but it sounds like most are just bi-annual. The two that have bloomed are now turning yellow but the one that hasn't bloomed is still a nice green and is putting on lots more leaves. So is the normal? Should they be cut back after flowering? Are they done for and should I pull them out? I was anticipating that they'd bloom small this year and come back nice and full with much larger flower blooms next year as most perennials do. Am I dreaming an impossible dream?


    Bookmark   July 2, 2007 at 8:26PM
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Beautiful photo of your purple Lupines and yard, Regina!

Lovely, just lovely!

I can't grow Lupines for beans! They are my mother's favorite and I want to grow a big bed of them for her. I had 2 acres of land, so I have plenty of room.

They grew all over the granite hills where we were both born and raised in Northern San Diego county, CA. Every spring we would hiked up on the hills and down into the canyons to see all the wildflowers. I loved the Shooting Stars and we both loved the Johnny-Jump-Ups, the golden Poppies and the red Paintbrushes, but Mother - Mother loved the Lupines.

My soil here in Oklahoma on this ridge is very alkaline. Is that the problem? I certainly have good enough drainage in my sandy soil. . .when we aren't having a monsoon year, that is.

I have two little Texas Bluebonnets (lupines) that I grew from wildflower seed that come up every year and bloom. They have not reseeded. They don't seem to be thriving in this soil at all, but they do come up and try to bloom for me, poor things. They are 9 yrs old. With all the rain we had this year, they did a little better, but the rain ruined the blooms. ROT! ROT! ROT! Everything is rotting or the insects are chewing them to bits, especially all the butterfly and cabbage moth larvae. Can you spell DE-FO-LI-ATION?
I just HAVE to grow Lupines for mother next year. I just have to! I am not giving up until I succeed.

Thanks to all for all the great info you've shared.


    Bookmark   July 3, 2007 at 3:27AM
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lavendrfem(z6 CT)

MeMo - I have a mixed variety too and it is a perennial. I even transplanted it from other house and it came back this year. I've found that it's taken a while to get started - they seem to be rather slow-growing...but this year it got to a pretty decent size.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2007 at 7:12AM
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I've decided.
I keep looking at that photo above of the white Cottage and purple Lupines. And I keep looking at the wild Lupines in Scotland that Eduarda posted on her site, and I've decided that I am going to plant my entire front yard in sweeps of Lupines (No Mow Grass!) and make my DH paint our red brick home white! I am also thinking about planting junipers or some kind of evergreen shrubberies on either side of our rock pillars at the front gate, and prune them as they grow so that they will form an arch like the ones in Scotland & England.

Additionally, "The Pergola Project of 2007" that was begun in March, went bust. DH has not made any progress on finishing it. Indeed, all work on it has been halted these past three months. I have been patient enough. Therefore, I am going to have to HIRE a proper carpenter to build it as per plans. That'll fix him!

So with that decided, I wanted to let you know that the photo above of the purple Lupines and white cottage has completely inspired me anew. "The Lupine Project for 2008" is about to begin!

The insurance people were just here, taking pictures. They seem to think that all my flowers are a fire hazard or something. "You sure have a lot of vegetation", he remarked at length. Vegetation???? Those are flowers and shrubberies, you dope! He was looking about and writing things down. I told him to keep in mind that I am somewhat crippled and with all this rain I haven't been able to keep the grass and flowerbeds as tidy as usual. He said he understood and would keep that in mind. (that's mighty big of him)
He was particularly concerned about "all those vines" (English Ivy) growing up on our house. What the...?
MY Scottish DH will cancel our Home Owners policy with them before he will cut down the ivy from our cottage or chop out any of my flowers. The very idea!!!
- sorry...I digressed just a bit there.(he he he)


    Bookmark   July 3, 2007 at 2:33PM
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lavendrfem(z6 CT)

Annie -
Your insurance man sounds like a city boy. Or perhaps he's looking for a reason to raise your rates (quota time?). Maybe another opinion is in order.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2007 at 7:47AM
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Nell Jean

I almost didn't open this thread, having dismissed lupines as something that didn't grow here, until DH told me that his father used to plant 'blue lupin' as a cover crop. Googling revealed that lupines fell from favor here in the early 1950s when two successive years of extreme cold virtually wiped out available seeds.

I found a seed source and am considering another 'speriment in the firebreak where the sunflowers withered in spring drought. My first notion was snow peas and ryegrass(nurse plant) as winter cover. Maybe I'll plant one end in peas and one in lupines, come fall planting time here.


    Bookmark   July 4, 2007 at 1:19PM
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memo(Zone 4B Nebraska)

Wow Nell, that will be so beautiful. How many lupine seeds does it take to plant half a fire break? Mercy!


    Bookmark   July 5, 2007 at 2:03AM
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Lupines I've grown (from seed, directly sown in the garden) haven't lived all that long -- maybe 2 or 3 years at most. Plus, they do not like to be transplanted -- they have a very tender taproot.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2007 at 4:31PM
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Nell Jean

Memo, I figured when I was thinking of planting edible peas that it would take about five pounds of peas and maybe 10-15 pounds of ryegrass -- the rye acts as a 'nurse plant' to help the peas stand tall and to help prevent chickweed and other winter nuisances from coming up. I'll have to see how much lupin seed to the acre and do the math, but I think a nice patch could be done with bulk seed for not too much, considering that lupin, peas and rye are all going to be turned under as green manure after I enjoy the winter sights. If it looks like too pricey, I might just plant some in the flower beds. I like to overseed the lawns with ryegrass for winter green. Remember, we don't see snow, just brown.

Lupins would not be a summer perennial here.


    Bookmark   July 5, 2007 at 9:48PM
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My angel man DH says that planting the front yard in Lupines is fine with him, but he "ain't paintin' the red bricks on our house white. No way!"
I told him that I would just wait until he dies and then I'll hire it done. He said, "Okay".
So then I asked, " ya feelin' today, Honey?" - JK

~ SweetAnnie4u

    Bookmark   July 6, 2007 at 12:56AM
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flutterbug(NH 5b)

I would like to add to this- Lupine grow much better where other plants from the legume family have grown. Some seed sources of wild lupine offer inoculant with their seeds. So depending what type you are trying to grow and where they will be growing you may have good or bad luck. I've collected seeds from my lupinus perennis 2 years in a row and have not gotten them to sprout even wintersowing, but I did notice a volunteer in the area they grow. So these type are quite tricky. I would think that the russell types would be much easier for someone to start from seed.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2008 at 10:46AM
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caavonldy(8/9 N CA)

They grow wild in our area. I have some in my yard and I will WS some more. They are so pretty.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2008 at 7:26PM
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I came across this thread in seeking information regarding lupines for cut flowers. My mother in law grows the Russell Hybrids from seed every year and they are all gorgeous. She sows in spring but I am thinking that the fall/winter sow might be worth a try. Does anyone know if you can transplant an already established plant? TIA. Kat

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 8:03PM
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friend(z6a NJ)

I have a lupine that I apprently grew from seed. Must not have been hard since i forogt i ever planted it and then jsut resitstedpullin gthe "odd lookin weed" i have for 2 summers until it finally blomoed this year. haha
so I assume in my zone it must be failry easy! Crazy huh?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 10:54PM
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Hi everyone, this is my first post, but I have been reading a lot on this site.
I really love gardening. I guess I got the gardening bug from my mother.

A while ago I bought 1/4 lb of wild lupine seeds to plant across the street from where I live, along the ugly railroad tracks. I'm trying to sell my condo and I think the tracks are so ugly that they deter buyers from wanting to live there.

Well, the other night I soaked the seeds, and today at lunchtime I planted them. I was feeling all excited about how it would look in a few weeks then realized they don't bloom the first year from seed!
UGH! Now I have to wait until next year!! I'm soo bummed.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 1:43PM
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Critters ate all my Lupine seeds that I wintersowed in January in the big bed I dug - 4 packets of em! The very idea!
So, I will try again and again until I get them going, by durn! If nothing else, I'll buy some plants. That'll fix 'em!

Good luck with yours everyone.
Nothing more Cottagey than Lupines!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 8:47PM
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westcoastgardener(8 SunshineCoast B.C.)

I'd suggest growing your first lupins from a few dollars worth of store-bought seedlings (you don't need many). They re-seed easily and ours have become almost weeds (what I mean by that is they appear all over the place and I love them all). Ours like sun (but also do okay in partial shade) and the soil where ours grow is nothing spectacular.

Annie you are so right! What are your worst critters? (deer here see us as their personal all you can eat buffet)

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 11:33PM
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memo(Zone 4B Nebraska)

Oh my gosh! I so remember this post. Especially the part where Annie asked her husband how he was feeling!! I laughed the first year, the second year and now I laughed out loud again, the third year, as if I'd never read it before. I love it when a great old post pops up again. I'm clipping this one this time since it has such great info in too!

And my dear Martha, if you're reading...right after the poppies...I'm planting this lovely bag of lupine that you sent me two years ago. I have a plan and a great tool. I can make it happen now!


    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 12:51AM
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memo(Zone 4B Nebraska)

GinaMD, Sorry, I blew that post to pieces lol, I totally meant to welcome you to the Cottage and then got carried off on other things. So forgive me, please. And WELCOME to the Cottage!!

I would think that even though the lupines will be a glorious surprise for the new owners next year, all is not lost this year. I would just go out and buy some tall Zinnia seeds, loosen up the soil in front of the lupines a bit and then sprinkle the seeds all over the loosened places. Pull a rake lightly over the seeds to bury them a bit, step lightly on them and sprinkle with water each day until they sprout. After that they'll pretty much take off on their own without much care unless it's drought like for a period of time. I guarantee it'll keep the buyers eyes from the tracks beyond. They may even get a bonus next year and get self sown zinnias and lupines together. Wouldn't that be pretty.

Good Luck!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 1:06AM
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Pesky Critters and Redneck Scum Bags:

* Voles - eat the roots off my favorite plants, like roses.
* Skunks & Armadillos - dig up & eat harmful insects (good), but the holes!
* Squirrels - eat LUPINE Seeds
* Other Rodents - eat seeds / young plants.
* Hawks & Eagles - get my chickens and guineas.
* Raccoons - (ditto), plus fish in Koi pond. Lost over 120 Koi so far. The murder my chickens in a grotesque manner, but do not eat them. I no longer see them as cute Disney film characters.
* Coyotes - (ditto) and my cats!
* Owls - (ditto)
* Bobcats - (ditto)
* Poisonous snakes - need I say more?
* West Neighbor's kid (I call him "the Evil Gump") & his friends with hunting rifles - I threatened the little punks and they quit shooting at the birds and squirrels in my yard.
* Same Neighbor's kid - teasing my dogs until I told him I was going to let them out so they could "play with him", then I called his mother. She claimed it was his friend's influence, of course! The friend is a pretty good kid when not around The Evil Gump.
* Same Neighbor's big, stupid dog yellow dog "Duke" - killed my guinea hens and their keets (guinea chicks). Chases my cats. Craps in my yard. He is otherwise a nice enough pooch - not his fault. They are the only ones out here who don't keep their dog up. Local big sh*ts.
* Northern Neighboring Rancher's Cattle, esp. bulls - they bust down my fences and stomp the hell out of my flowers, and etc. I have to run them out of the yard and repair the fences and fill in the hoof holes. Going to post a sign up on the fence saying something like, "If your cattle come onto my property again, they are meat!"
* Assorted, discarded & abandoned cats, kittens, dogs & other former, beloved pets - poor things. Male tom cats fight & attack my cats unless I make them part of the family and get them spayed or neutered. The cost of running a pseudo-non-funded animal rescue, feeding, sheltering, & doctoring them all is unreal, especially right now. Just call me "Amu"!
(and I recently found out that it is, in part, the town police who has been dumping many of them out here. The dirty bas**rds! Hope they rot in redneck hell.
If I ever catch them dumping animals, I am going to shoot out their tires!

But other than ticks, fleas and a thousand kinds of beetles, lawn grubs, Nematodes and grasshoppers...nothing much really! Country life in rural Oklahoma. Yi-haa!

You asked!!!


    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 1:52AM
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Thank you for the Welcome and advice, MeMo!
I think that's a great idea.
What do you think about mixing poppies in there too?

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 8:19AM
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I will follow your advice this time around - sprout them in wet paper towels and then pop them into pots of growing medium and etc., as you mentioned w-a-y back in Feb. 2007, with your photo that I fell head-over-heels-in-love with. I LOVE your white cottage and gardens.

My DHM is still hanging in there, just to spite me. JK.
Actually, I don't have to ask his permission to do anything to this place. We bought this house as partners and it is in both our names. I put up the most money, so he may just come home from work one night and find a white house where that ugly burnt-red one once stood. SHOCKER! Not my fault he has no visionary capability! The guy is severely handicapped in that regard, I swear!

Today is a full moon in Libra (third Quarter). When the next moon's sign (Scorpio) appears, I am going to start my LUPINE seeds in wet paper towels. New Moon starts on the 26th. The next phase (first Quarter) for planting or sowing seeds won't be until April 2nd.
The most fertile signs for planting and sowing are:
Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces. Good second choices are: Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn. Transplanting are best done under Cancer, Scorpio or Pisces moons.

Thanks everyone.
I'm sure I will eventually have Lupines for my Mom.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 1:58PM
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memo(Zone 4B Nebraska)

Gina, I think Poppies would be lovely there too BUT be careful, or soon it will slowly become "your garden" and you won't want to leave it. LOL!! Seriously though, there isn't anything wrong with that either. If I were looking at property to buy RR tracks would not deter me because of their looks but the noise the trains rolling on those tracks would. Perhaps that's what is deterring buyers? Sorry, not meaning to make it tougher on you, just saying...

Annie, you are out in the country where no one will see so why don't you just paint one side of the rusty-red house white, the side where you spend the most time working or relaxing and looking out at your gardens. Maybe when your DHM sees how great it is he'll even voluteer to paint the rest himself. Okay well maybe it's just a great fantasy you can enjoy over iced tea but something to think on anyway, LOL!!

PS.. On wandering is the owner's responsibility in these parts, to keep his cattle under control. He alone is responsible for any accidents and any damage that is caused by them. Call your county sheriff the next time it happens or just to get the laws straight in your own head but either way, DO NOT repair those fences yourself!! Your "neighbor" should be taking care of that immediately. Plus you chasing bulls is NOT safe. You can suggest to a bull what he MIGHT do but don't ever try to tell him to do it. THAT COULD get you killed. Sure wouldn't want to see that happen!!


    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 4:30PM
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The law regarding livestock is the same here. I DID call the sheriff. Nothing has been done. I am VERY cautious in herding the cattle, even the little calves can hurt you. I used to shoo them back over into his pasture, which was not easy to do. They balked at going back over the fence. Now I just shoo them out of my yard, down into the road below. Not my problem if they wander off.

The deal is, I put up some field fence around my two acres years back, just to keep my dogs in and coyotes out. It worked. It was not meant to keep out cattle. It did keep out the previous owner's horses, but cattle just plow through field fence. They have torn it up and bent it down and the posts too. They come down into the yard and eat my plants and stomp everything. The new owner won't work with me at all. I bought a roll of barbed wire and left it out there for him to use. He said he would have his "boys" take care of it. He seemed earnest about it. But that has been three years now. If I could, I would string it myself and be done with it, but I honestly can't do that kind of work anymore.

The guy who owns the feed store in town told me that folks around here don't like people coming here from California with their "funny ways of doing things", trying to change things. I asked him if he meant me. He just grinned like an idiot and pawed at the dirt. I asked him, "What have I done to try to change ANYTHING around here?" "Well," he said, "We like things the way they are and don't take kindly to outsiders trying to change the way we do things." I suppose he is referring to my style of gardening and funny ways of keeping a homestead with animals. I have no idea why that is perceived as so threatening to anyone else's way of life. Of course, I am the only FEMALE who comes to the feedstore to buy feed and other farm items. Maybe that is a terrible threat to their MALE territory?? On top of that, I am a LIBERAL. (dirty word in these parts). I guess my political signs out in front of my house are a terrible threat.

Anyway, thanks for your concern. Believe me, I am cautious, but I am not afraid and the cattle can sense it. If nothing else, I will just pepper their butts with my pellet rifle. I'm a dead shot with a rifle or a pistol.


    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 2:36AM
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memo(Zone 4B Nebraska)

It's the same here, Annie. They don't like outsiders either. But I was born here and have lots of family here so even though I'm from the city they tolerate me. I'm pretty quite vocally though and they get a kick out of my wacky ways so I'm more of a novelty to them. It's the women that hate me. I also go to the elevator for feed. You could contact the county attorney to press charges. Some small town sheriffs are not effective because they are too close to the county's people, your neighbor might even be family!? GASP!!! LOL, Good Luck.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 7:24PM
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gottagarden(z5 western NY)

Annie, Maybe your new nickname will be "Annie Oakley" :-) Good luck with the cows and the neighbors.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 7:33AM
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You're dang tootin', Brenda!

Nah, I couldn't shoot 'em, even though I sometimes feel like it. I isn't their fault. Now, their owner....maybe. ;)

    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 11:58PM
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Maybe you ought to tell the guy at the feed store that when your neighbor starts paying your property taxes for you his cows will be welcome. Until then, it's YOUR land, and "newbie" or not, you'll darn well do with it what you want.

I live in the country, and in an area which is extremely putt-off-ish to newbies. And it doesn't matter how many years you've lived here....a newbie to these folks is someone who's ancestors don't have roots here. It is quite ridiculous, really.

Anyway....keeping on the subject of this post, I am planting Lupine today for the first time ever. I've adored it for years, but never planted it before because years ago the owner of a tiny nursery that had a bunch of Lupine growing in his yard told me Lupine had to be dug up each fall. His Lupine were so beautiful I assumed he knew what he was talking about (besides having a nursery) so I never bothered with it. Recently, I finally did a little reading about it and found out he was soooo wrong. I am...hanging out in a Lupine thread. lol

Wish this lupine virgin luck.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 9:00AM
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Pardon my ignorance, but I don't even know what lupine seeds look like. I removed my dried out blossoms, but inside the pods are fuzzy things that look like pussy willows. I can't find anything that looks like a seed. I'm a first year lupine grower and would like to expand the area. Can you help?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 9:43AM
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I have never had lupines before, so I might come here later for questions on growing them. But as far as germination goes, here is my experience.

I have used a small gravy bowl made of stainless steel (thought I'd use something non reactive) to soak the seeds. I did not do any of the recommended things like freezing or chilling them or scarifying them. I have tried these techniques before for a variety of plants and I simply find them too intense - I don't think to check the fridge all the time to take them out of there just in time. Too much effort to keep track of that, I guess. Besides, if these plants have survived so long in the wild without scarification and such, that is because they don't actually need those extra steps.

So, back to the gravy bowl. I added half an inch of water and popped fifteen seeds into it right out of the packet. I left them in the water and checked the bowl once a day. It took about a day for one of fifteen seeds to swell. I sowed that one right away, but I was still left with fourteen more that were just soaking there.

A few days later, three more swelled, so I planted those, too. Yet another few days later, another four swelled, and some of them actually had a tiny white root sticking out on the side. I sowed these, too.

By this time, the seeds have been soaking for a week. But I just let them be. A few days later, all but three of the remaining seeds swelled and showed a tiny root. I planted these, too. All the ones I planted went into 2" soil blocks on a capillary mat and later into 4" pots. I am happy to report that they have all sprouted and are now handsome young plants without any sign of disease or lack of nutrients. They are growing quite fast, too.

So, to sum it up, I find that the best way to germinate lupine seed is to soak it until it swells and/or has a root sticking out and then either plant them in their final spots or plant them to raise as seedlings. Don't worry if they soak for weeks on end, they will eventually sprout and they will not rot. Just make sure they are always covered by water, so you may have to top the water up once in a while (mine are relatively close to a fan, so the water does evaporate).

You can easily distinguish seed that is about to sprout from seed that still needs time. The ones that are going to sprout swell to about two to three times their size very quickly (within about 24 hours). They look like little beans that would be excellent to eat (but they are poisonous, so please resist the temptation to eat them).

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 10:22AM
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Wow what a great thread to read!,..i first presumed it would be short being re activated after so long,..honestly i laughed out loud at some of the comments on cows,.. and painting the red bricked house white to show up the Lupins.


This post was edited by glengarry23 on Mon, Jun 3, 13 at 19:11

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 6:54PM
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My first time growing as well- I soaked the seeds overnight- put them in the ground & up they came ! Russell hybrids mix- am curious to see if they will bloom.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 1:15AM
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I winter sowed lupine seeds from commercial seed packs back in 2009/10 & planted out the seedlings in several different beds Spring of 2010. They grew a bit that season but produced no blooms. They produced one or two flowers the following year but are putting on their showiest display this year, with each of those original plants producing multiple blooms this season. All that are planted in sandy loam & full sun appear to be thriving. My soil is slightly acidic and they're apparently quite happy growing here.

One other observation: my neighbor (who also gardens with bees, butterflies & birds in mind) doesn't grow these, perhaps because they aren't reliably long-lived.

My garden goal is to sow the seeds, plant the sprouts, then neglect the plants other than to enjoy them from that point forward. So far that includes lupine but if/when they disappear, I'll find something more reliable to take their place, stunning, early-season flowers notwithstanding.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 8:18AM
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these are so easy to grow from seeds. Didn't even need to do anything special. Just sowed them direct in the ground. However I have to say that last year, I experienced an infestation of aphids so bad that it I had to destroy my plants. I don't know why it happened but it did. So just curious, has anyone here seen this happen to their plants. The infestation destroyed the plants anyway. Using insecticides had not been effective. In the end, I pulled out the plants. However i still have one that came up from last year's planting. I'm keeping my fingers crossed the aphid problem would not repeat.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 1:52PM
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