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FutureStarrAGrowing Lupins From Seed
One of my favorite gardening projects of the year, aside from my zucchini, is the busy work going on in my backyard. I’ve got plants coming out of my ears and good food from hungry mouths. Had a good day? Eat a sandwich. As far as I know, my backyard is the only place to grow. So what about you? Are you following someone else’s garden plan or have you found a seed of your own?Flower colours range from soft pastels to flamboyant pinks, reds, inky blues, sapphires, purples and whites, with some striking colour combinations too. Choose colours that work well with the plants that will be nearby, either complementing or contrasting with them.
Sow seeds in early to mid-spring. The large seeds have a tough coating, so it is best to nick them with a knife, then soak them in water for 24 hours before sowing. They should germinate in 10–14 days at 10–15°C (50–59°F). However, growing lupins from seed can be tricky, as they are susceptible to rotting if too damp, and they dislike root disturbance, so transplanting may not be successful. On the plus side, many lupins come true from seed, so the offspring should be exactly the same as the parent plant. It is also easy to collect the seeds, as they are large and simple to extract from the seedhead.Lupins do not come true to type from seed, so lupins grown from seed are likely to flower in a mix of colours. Lupins can be divided in spring (not autumn) but division can be tricky as plants have a strong central tap root. The easiest way to propagate lupins is by taking basal cuttings in spring. Lupins will also self-seed in the garden, so lifting the seedlings with a garden trowel and potting them on, in is also a great way to generSpring shoots of lupins are prone to slug and snail damage, so be vigilant against attack.
Protect lupins with copper tape or wildlife-friendly slug pellets, or pick slugs and snails off the plants every evening. The lupin aphid (Macrosiphum albifrons) can also be a problem for lupins. These grey aphids can form large colonies and gradually weaken the plant. Birds and other predators should manage aphid infestations naturally but if you don’t see signs of the colonies abating, cut off very infested flower spikes and spray with blast of water from your hose. You can use chemical control, but bear in mind that these chemicals also harm, and can kill, bees.The pea-like flowers of lupins grow in dense spires above very distinctive foliage. They will bloom for two months from a spring sowing or early summer from fall sown plants. This cold hardy perennial is native to western North America, and east to Quebec. Continue reading below for tips on how to grow lupins from seed. Lupins are highly attractive to bees and they fix atmospheric nitrogen in the soil. (Source: www.westcoastseeds.com)