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Whats going on with my Lupine?

Posted by christinmk z5 WA (My Page) on
Thu, Jun 5, 08 at 22:47

Hi guys! My Lupine (have several of them) were beautiful last year and gave out an absurd amount of blooms. But this year they are about a third their original size and have only put off a few blooms. Whats going on? We had a weird winter (snow, sunshine, snow, thaw, snow) with some late frosts to boot. Are they just stunted because of it? Or are they at the end of their normally short life cycle? Hopefully its the former. They seem healthy otherwise though, not even and mildew, and its been raining here since Sunday. Thanks for any info!
-Ps. since im on the mildew topic, have you found anything that works? One of my delphiniums has come down with a bad case of it. I tried a natural remedy last year involving milk and/or baking soda, but it didnt do anything. Found anything POWERFUL that works? Have you found cutting the plant down to do any good? Thanks again.
CMK


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Whats going on with my Lupine?

CMK,

I am hoping it was the winter and cool spring weather, mine are small this year too, so are my bleeding hearts.
Sorry I'm not much of a help to you but at least you know you are not alone. :)

They have a short life cycle? How long is short? This I didn't know. So maybe I should stop pulling all the little babies sprouting every where? Mine are 4-5 years old.
Karyn


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RE: Whats going on with my Lupine?

No, this does help happy! Glad im not the only one suffering from stunted Lupine. Well I just READ that Lupine usually have a short life-span. Im not sure what they difine short as either (hopefully ten years! Ive had most of mine for five years too). I had one rot out on me last summer, but hopefully thats it.
CMK


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RE: Whats going on with my Lupine?

My lupine does whatever it feels like from year to year. They say it's a 3 year plant, but I'm sure that varies. I planted a bunch of multi-colored lupine that I had started from seed but decided I didn't want them in my flower beds, so I tranplanted them along the wooded border. When they came back the following year, they were all varying shades of purple. One year they were fabulous. There were probably a hundred purple stalks, but it rained constantly that spring, so I never got a picture. Last year, this is all that emerged (below). This year, I counted 7 little plants early on, but nothing flowered in that area. Not sure why. They'll be back some day, I'm sure. Oddly, the bulbs I planted there a few years ago never emerged until this year.

Photobucket

Because they are unpredictable, I prefer to naturalize them. That way when they do nothing, it's OK, and when they go nuts, it's a huge bonus.


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RE: Whats going on with my Lupine?

Thanks Mehearty. Im totally with you on that naturalization thing. Most of mine are in rather insignificant areas. Yeah, never a good idea to stake ones garden scheme on a Lupine. I still love them though. ;-)
CMK


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RE: Whats going on with my Lupine?

Since Lupins are a short lived perennial (3 or 4 years) if you get an especially nice one, take basal cuttings in the spring. I have just grown a bunch from seed and plan to do this if I see a really nice one. Some years ago I had the most gorgeous deep peach and of course after 3 years it didn't come back. I haven't seen another that could come close in color.
A......


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RE: Whats going on with my Lupine?

Thanks aftermidnight, great suggestion! Say, how do you take basal cuttings? Do you take it from the new growth or the old with a flower head on it? Ive done rose cuttings before, is it anything like that?
CMK


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RE: Whats going on with my Lupine?

I find lupine to be particularly attractive rabbit food. They would seed or I would buy a couple, and the rabbits would take it down almost before it got started.
I solved the problem (I hope!) by planting them within the leaf spread of a clump of heuchera. This year the lupine are lovely ( but all blue!) and they appear to have a basal rosette of heuchera leaves.
And I plan to seed more under another heuchra.
Linda C


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RE: Whats going on with my Lupine?

Basal cuttings of lupins are taken early in the year, around end of march early april for me. If your plant has multiple crowns take a sharp sterilized knife sever one of the outside crowns from the plant trying to get a piece of the root with it, I would take the precaution of dusting the cuts on both plant and cutting with something like flowers of sulphur or some other fungicide. Then treat your cutting like any other.
A......


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RE: Whats going on with my Lupine?

I planted the hybridized Russell Lupine Mix from a gallon container last fall and there's plenty of foliage but not one flower to date. Rabbits ate some leaves early on so I put rabbit fence cage around plant. The leaf stems aren't too strong. I just put a gathering ring around them to hold leaves up off ground.

I was told at a local nursery that these aren't long lived which is fine as I'd rather put in some less hybridized varieties but shouldn't there be at least ONE flower stem.

Could the problem be that the plant was pretty root bound in the gallon pot in which it came and I didn't know about scoring around root ball so just plunked it in ground as it came. Poor thing may be expending all its energy on getting its roots set out properly instead of putting up flower stalks.

I hesitate to dig it up and check roots since it's never flowered but might that be a good idea come fall if it doesn't flower at all?

I keep seeing all these flowering Lupines in zones colder than my 6 and am wondering what's going on with my Russell Hybrid Mix.


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RE: Whats going on with my Lupine?

Thanks aftermidnight, I may try that, since I really love my light yellow 'Chandelieer' Lupine.
newbie- ive never tried the huge gallon Lupine, just the small 3" pots and seed. Sometimes you just run into a bad one. How about giving it a bit of a prune? Might encourage it to send up new growth.
CMK


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RE: Whats going on with my Lupine?

Don't laugh but I've been assuming (correctly I believe from what I've read)that Lupine flowers come up on stems separate from the leaves unlike some other plants where flowers come off end of leaf branches but was afraid to cut anything that didn't break for fear of traumatizing plant or finishing it for bloom this year!

Just had to cut a brand new little Corydalis Blackberry Wine down to stubs at the insistence of the mail order vendor since little branches were dying at crown after shipment. Painful to a newbie in any case but that may also mean there'll be nothing but foliage on it for this year. Bummer but at least the ferny foliage is beautiful.

Today I may just give it that "bit of a prune" you suggest and if it still doesn't bloom may just dig it up in fall and see if those roots are still trying to get themselves uncircled.

Thanks a lot for sharing your experience and advice. I get a little more courage to do something when I get feedback from experienced gardeners.

Off I go with my garden scissors right now!


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RE: Whats going on with my Lupine?

Sometimes Ive had to cut down a whole Lupine plant because its been engulfed in powdery mildew. Just to let you know newbie, Corydalis-one of my personal favorite plants- is a really tough little thing. I have one planted in a little crack of the sidewalk by the foundation of my house. The water from the eves drounds it, and in the winter its in a puddle of frozen water. That didnt faze it a bit. Its now blooming its head off. So im sure yours will grow back wonderfully and youll be enjoying that wonderful foliage.
CMK


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