Laid-back lupins easy for non gardener
‘They don’t require a perfectly fertilised, mulched and dug-over soil ’ to start out on.
Lupins are one of our most popular cottage garden flowers and it’s not hard to see why. Their impressive flower spires with closed, baby bonnet-type petals will brighten up any garden. And their many shades of blues, violets, pinks and white — all enhanced by vibrant green foliage — inject fantastic colour.
But what I also like is that they are relatively laid back. They don’t require a perfectly fertilised, mulched and dug-over soil to start out on. A moderately fertile (at best) bed of soil is just fine. A bit sandy — even better. In fact, I often suggest lupins to my lesser-inclined greenfingered friends as they cope well with less love.
I like to plant lupins in my cottage garden flower bed. I plant them alongside hollyhocks (another much taller statuesque flower), delphiniums, marigolds and poppies. If you’re not sure on what combo you should be doing, how about trying our cottage garden seasonal flower mix.
At the nursery we have traditionally grown white and a mixed gallery variety of lupin seedlings. The mixed variety flowers in shades of pink, purple, blue, yellow and white — growing about 50cm high. This year we have added two more colours to our lupin family. Blue lupin is available now and blooms in shades of blue to violet. Our other new variety rose, will be available in midNovember.
While lupins are laid back, they do still like a nice, sunny, well-drained spot to grow. Grab your seedlings from our Awapuni Nurseries online shop and have them delivered direct to your door. We guarantee they’ll arrive in great condition or we’ll replace them. If you want a plant that’s already a bit further along the growing cycle, our mixed gallery lupin also comes as an established plant. This means it’s had extra months of growing at the nursery so it will instantly give appeal to your garden.
Plant the seedlings or plants 50cm apart give them a decent watering as soon as they’re planted. After this only water every few days.
Lupins grow a taproot, which is a main root growing straight down. Because of this, pots are not their first choice of growing location. And they also don’t cope well with clay, as they struggle breaking through this solid layer in the soil.
Being a perennial (lasting more than one year), you might like to divide up your lupins in autumn. Dividing perennial plants while they are dormant can help expand your garden, and ensures they will be ready to bloom again come spring.
When your plants start to look a bit overgrown (around autumn), first prune them back, then mulch and fertilise. When the leaves at the centre of the plant start to die off leaving gaping holes you’ll know you can divide them.
To divide lupins, dig them up around 30cm past the edge of the plant. Wash the roots with water and then gently pull the plant apart. You may need to cut part of the taproot to separate it. Each new clump you’re left with should have around four or five new growth buds.
You can now replant the healthiest segments of your lupin. Dividing and shifting your plant locations is an excellent way to freshen up your garden. This is also the time to dig in new compost to give your plants the best possible kick start.
If you’re doing this work in your garden, make sure you put in the extra effort and keep weeds at bay. A quick hoe of any weeds once a week will mean your plants don’t have to compete for vital nutrients, water and light.
Apply mulch now while you can still get in between the plants, before the new growth occurs.
Lupins are prone to slugs and snails, but their main foe is the aphid. So keep a close eye on aphids to ‘nip them in the bud’ before the problem gets out of hand. You’ll find many sprays available at your local garden centre. Or picking them off with your fingers or blasting with water can also help. But that’s making lupins sound a bit more labour intensive than laid back now isn’t it?
Lupins are relatively laid back.