Help starting Lupines from seed!

SKRSFlowers(6)March 7, 2011

Hello All,

Two years back I ordered six Lupine plants through a mail order catalog. They came out amazing so much so that my neighbor raves over them! So when they went to seed last year I harvested them and sent some to her and kept some for myself. When I was moving dead leaves away from the garden I saw that some Lupine plants had rotted over the winter. Alas I have the seeds but when and how should I start them?

Thanks in advance,


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keriann_lakegeneva(5B WI/IL border)

I would direct sow them after your last frost date to be safe.

They do not like being transplanted

I would not give up on your plants though, they may come back in the Spring!


    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 3:37PM
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luvahydrangea(Albany, NY 5)

I grew a bunch of Lupines last year from seed. The variety I grew was Lupines Perennis so my experience is limited to that type.

In my experience, and from what I read, they need periods of cold in order to germinate. They are great for winter sowing, which is the method I used. I don't know if its too late to do that in your zone as I'm not sure how long a period they need in freezing temperatures. Mine were out all winter.

If its too late for that, you can nick the shells of the seeds prior to planting them. That will help mimick the natural process created by cold/warm temperatures.

Its okay to grow them in planters, but once you place them in your garden they can be difficult to transplant as they have a long tap root. I moved some in the fall, small plants that had tap roots that were over 10" long.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 5:53PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

The l. lepidus, l. perennis are really the only two out of many that require the extended moist chill, none of the annual types or the perennial hybrids most often offered by nurseries as garden plants require it...

SKRS, do you remember a name or part of a name, it would be easy enough to check for you and see which type. Nick, followed by pouring hot water over and allowing to soak several hours or overnight is about all the pretreatment any of those except the two mentioned above will need.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 8:30PM
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Well the plants I have are listed as Mixed Dwarf Lupines or Lupinus Russell Hybrids. They came back last spring after I planted them in 2009, two plants actually have several leaves right now (yay). It's pretty cold here again it's possible we could get frost. Last week it went into the 50's and in couple nights it was in the teens!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 11:10PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

I find Dwarf Mixed in one place by one vendor as being l. regalis, another as l. polyphyllus but - no matter as they both are sown the same, and same as the Russell Hybrids

Pour hot water over seeds, let soak 1-3 days until swelling noticeable. (Nicking the seed coat if your seeds are large enough to easily handle may help them to absorb water faster but not required) Sow at 68F for germination in more than two weeks.

You could wait until your soil warms, soak and sow outdoors, or soak and start them inside now, transplant carefully later trying not to disturb the roots any more than you must.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 1:13AM
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I follow the same regimen as morz8 and have never had a problem transplanting them into the garden. They bloom the first year, but even better the second year. Al

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 8:12AM
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jan44(z4b WI)

I soak and nick the seeds. Also, make sure to plant them in deeper pots and disturb the roots as little as possible.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2011 at 12:58PM
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Thanks all, I think what I'll do is soak them and start them inside. I have deep pots I can start them in, hoping I won't disturb the roots. This way maybe they won't look to bad next to their big siblings :)
Thanks Again,

    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 3:54PM
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