How to Start Lupine Seeds

Lupine is easy to grow and is adaptive.
Lupine is easy to grow and is adaptive. (Image: lila lupine image by Dieter Groth from <a href=''></a>)

Cultivated in Egypt and the Mediterranean region for at least 2000 years, lupines produce flower spikes in white, pink, blue, yellow, violet, apricot and red. A member of the pea family, lupines are easy to grow and prefer the cooler climates of USDA hardiness zones 3 through 10, according to the Wildflower Information website. Lupines are not edible. Lupines have high levels of alkaloids, but they can be fed to livestock.

Things You'll Need

  • Lupine plants or seed stalks
  • Paper bag
  • Plastic zipper bag
  • Garden fork
  • Rough sandpaper
  • Tiller (optional)
  • Peat moss (optional)

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Collect lupine seeds. Lupines have a single stalk that fills with seed pods. Place the seed stalk inside a paper bag, staple the top, and place it in an area that is at room temperature for a few weeks. The seeds will explode from the pods inside the bag and can then be retrieved.

Choose a planting location in full sun to light shade. Apply an herbicide to kill all vegetation in the spring and in the fall.

Place the seeds in damp paper towels in a plastic zipper bag. Store the plastic zipper bag in the refrigerator for 7 days.

Rub lupine seeds between sandpaper briefly to break down the seeds' shells.

Prepare the soil. Loosen your planting location 12 to 20 inches deep with a garden fork or tiller. Make sure your soil is well drained, and amend it with peat moss if it is clay. Lupine tolerates sandy soil.

Sow seeds outside in the fall, September through November. Cover the seeds with 1/8 inch of soil, and leave 12 to 14 inches between plants. Lupine will develop a long taproot and should bloom the first year.

Fertilize lupine once a month with an all-purpose organic fertilizer.

Tips & Warnings

  • Remove blooms when they begin to wilt, and your blooming period will be extended.
  • Control weeds during plant growth stages.


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