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Sowing Lupins

I’m debating whether to grow lupins from seeds this year.. on the packets the instruction says sow in feb/March for flowers the year after, which is slightly confusing as I didn’t think lupins are biennials like foxgloves? 

My question is, if I were to sow lupin seeds now, would I get a show of flowers in summer THIS year? 

I know the alternative is to buy plug/potted plants in spring but they do cost a lot more than seeds and takes half the fun out of growing them.. 


  • WilderbeastWilderbeast Posts: 1,415
    Lupins are perennial plants but they need to be sown in an autumn to get big enough to have a chance of flowers in the 1st year. Plants don't always produce flowers in year 1 even if they are perennials.
  • Mr. Vine EyeMr. Vine Eye Posts: 2,388
    edited January 2021
    Yes as Wilderbeast says - it says that because the plants won’t have grown large enough in the first year to be ready to flower.

    Particularly ones that flower in spring or early summer, because they’d still be little more than seedlings then.

    Although some plants surprise you and do flower the same year, even though they’re not supposed to, but at a later time. Like the aubrietta that I grew from seed.

    Still worth doing as it’s fun growing from seed and you get far more of them for a fraction of the cost of buying older plants.

    Ive got a pack of lupin seeds for the first time this year, we can compare! 🙂
    East Yorkshire
  • Two of the five lupins I’ve grown from seed have flowered the same year, in late summer. Not a spectacular show, but still... The best method that worked for me was to soak the seeds overnight and get them to sprout between kitchen towels. Much faster than the ones I’ve sown in pots.
  • WilderbeastWilderbeast Posts: 1,415
    @pitter-patter I found soaking worked really well too I had nearly 100% germination
  • celcius_kkwcelcius_kkw Posts: 752
    edited January 2021
    @Wilderbeast - Thanks, that’s really good to know. I bought some small potted lupins last year - I think they were 5cm pots - just before the lockdown in March and they all flowered profusely in summer.. they were the gallery varieties. 

    This is what they looked like immediately after re-potting. To me they looked as though they could have been sown earlier during the year (like Jan-Feb) given the relatively small size - thus I try to be hopeful I might be able to achieve the same result from seeds myself. I do understand it will be a bit hit and miss though. 

    This is when it was at its peak in June.. 3 months after re-potting. I love its scent too, particularly the white ones. 

    @Mr. Vine Eye - a lupin grow along sounds very exciting indeed, even more so now that we are in lockdown! :) which varieties have you gone for? I might be tempted to try the gallery series.. since I had good results with them last year, but they are quite short. 

    @pitt@pitter-patter That’s a great tip! I saw that on YouTube before and I will certainly follow suit. I also saw some people rubbing the seeds with sand paper but I didn’t fancy doing that mainly because I do not have any sand paper lying around.. 

  • Wow! What a beautiful show of Lupins you had there @celcius_kkw
  • Bright starBright star Posts: 1,153
    I find perennial lupins one of the easiest and rewarding seeds to sow, I’ve never got mine to flower in first year but that is probably the time of year I sow them ( February), I will an try autumn sowing next time. You could also try sowing annual lupins for blooms this year whilst your perennial seedlings are maturing.
    Life's tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.

  • EustaceEustace Posts: 2,209
    Sorry to butt in :-) Do lupins have bulbs? Wilco sells them as per the link below:

    Oxford. The City of Dreaming Spires.
    And then my heart with pleasure fills,
    And dances with the daffodils (roses). Taking a bit of liberty with Wordsworth :)

  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 10,422
    No. Those will be bare roots packed in a bit of dry compost. If you buy them, get them in the ground as soon as possible.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • Hello 👋🏻
    I sowed Lupin from seed last March and two thirds of them bloomed. I expect they'll be bigger this year and bloom  much earlier, but I was very pleased with the result! Here are some of mine  in bloom in July. I had so many that I didn't have room for them all in the beds!  

    This one was taken in October. 

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