How to harvest and plant lupin seeds

Updated February 21, 2017

The lupin is a legume that produces seeds high in protein, which poultry, calves, lambs and swine can graze on. Different varieties of the plant also make attractive flowers in yellow, blue and white. If you'd like to extend your flower bed without buying seeds, harvest and cultivate them from existing plants.

Pick the seeds when the plant starts dying back and the seed pods have turned grey or black. Don't wait until the pods split open.

In single layers, put the pods on a paper towel or paper plate. Let the pods dry in a warm, well-ventilated area for the next two weeks.

Find the seam of each pod and split it open. With sandpaper, lightly scratch each seed.

Soak the seeds in lukewarm water overnight.

Before sowing your lupin seeds, treat them with a rhizobium inoculant, which is a nitrogen-fixing bacterium.

Put the lupin seeds in flats or cells under 6 mm (1/4 inch) of soil. Keep them warm by either putting them in a greenhouse or covering them with plastic film until they germinate. The soil should be moist at all times, but not saturated with water.

Transplant your plants to the garden as soon as they grow two or three leaves. The lupin usually develops root rot if they stay in pots too long. Sow the seeds in full sun where water drainage is good. Lupins do well in poor soil that's a little acidic.

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About the Author

Emma Watkins writes on finance, fitness and gardening. Her articles and essays have appeared in "Writer's Digest," "The Writer," "From House to Home," "Big Apple Parent" and other online and print venues. Watkins holds a Master of Arts in psychology.