Fun Facts & Tips on Growing Lupins

Facts & Tips on Growing Lupins

A couple of years ago I decided I wanted to try growing lupins, also known as Lupines.  I figured they must be hard to grow here in Syracuse, New York because we don’t see them in many gardens at all.  I actually had a hard time finding a “ready-to-plant” lupin, but was able to grab one at our local market. I bought one plant to see how it would turn out, and in its first year it wasn’t really what I expected.  The plant only displayed a few blooms that seemed to die out very quickly.  So I decided to hit the internet to find out what I could do to get more out of the plant, and in its second year pictured above and below it’s one of the most attractive spring bloomers I have.  Not only is it beautiful, but I also learned lupins have a few other advantages as well.  So I’ve put together a list of some fun facts about lupins and also some growing tips below.


  • There are over 200 species of lupins, and they are most diverse in North & South America.
  • Lupins are tap-rooted members of the pea family.
  • The legume seeds of lupins, or lupin beans, were extensively cultivated throughout the Roman Empire, and have been used for food for over 3000 years.
  • Some strains of lupin, such as the yellow bush lupin are considered invasive weeds.
  • There are only a few varieties that are grown in home gardens, most notably the Russell Hybrid Lupine that were developed by a gardener named George Russell.
  • Lupins attract pollinators such as butterflies, and their larva, bees of all types, and hummingbirds.


  • Lupins can be grown from seed sown straight from the plant, or from old seeds.  Old seeds should be pre-soaked.
  • If you grow “ready-to-plant” lupins the plants should be very young so they can develop a deep tap-root.
  • Lupins don’t like to be moved so be sure to plant them in a permanent spot.
  • If you must divide your lupins do it in the spring.
  • You can take basal cuttings April-May for propagation as an alternative to dividing.
  • Lupins grown in full sun offer the best blooms.
  • They should be grown in well-drained, slightly acidic soil.
  • Fertilize your lupins with a simple all-purpose fertilizer once every two weeks until they flower.
  • You should deadhead spent flowers for longer life (I am going to let the last spikes go to seed to see if they will spread on their own).
  • You can cut them back after flowering to see if you can get more blooms, but it takes a long time, better to cut them back in the fall.
  • Aphids may attack your lupin, so do your best to attract or acquire some ladybugs.
  • Slugs and snails love lupins so be sure to pay close attention and take action if they attack!

So that’s my list of facts and tips, I hope you found the facts interesting and the tips helpful.  Lupins are really easy to grow and offer amazing, colorful spring blooms.  I love attracting pollinators so there’s that benefit as well.  Do you have any additional tips for me?  If so I’d love to hear…

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