Tall, graceful spikes full of flowers resembling small, colourful bonnets are characteristic of the lupin. Perfect as a background plant in a cottage or English garden, the lupin has long been a favourite for the wide range of pretty colours and striking, palm-leaf-shaped foliage that fill out any garden space with ease. Sowing lupin from seed and nurturing them until maturity is not an easy task, but well worth the effort.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Lupin seeds
- Seed file
- Seed start potting mix
- Peat pots
- Plastic bags
Prepare peat pots by firming seed start medium to 1/4 inch from the top of the pot.
Scarify lupin seeds before planting. Use a seed file and gently make a nick in the seed's outer coat. This will quicken germination.
Plant lupin seeds roughly two times as deep as the diameter of the seed. Place two seeds in each pot.
Moisten the soil with a fine spray of water, so that the entire surface is hydrated.
Place each pot into a plastic bag and seal. The bag retains moisture during germination, so no additional water should be needed.
Store pots at 18.3 to 21.1 degrees Celsius. Germination should occur within 3 to 4 weeks.
Thin seedlings to one per pot when one set of leaves are visible on the plant.
Allow two weeks when temperatures remain above 7.22 degrees C for the hardening off process before transplanting. Set pots in the shade outdoors and move them for brief periods, longer each day, into the sunlight. Bottom water the pots to keep soil evenly moist but not soaked, as disease may set in with too much moisture.
Transplant the peat pots into the ground once the hardening off process is complete. Pull away the base and loosen the roots at the bottom of the pot. Plant the entire pot with the surface at soil level. Water well and provide shade for several days after transplanting if the sunlight is particularly harsh .
Tips and warnings
- Lupin does not transplant well, so growing seeds in individual pots and planting them directly into the location they will remain for their lifespan is recommended.
- Lupin seeds, seed pods, and foliage can be toxic if ingested. Take special precautions around children and animals.
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