This is one of the essential plants in my meadow garden. They add height, colour and texture to the garden. Russell Lupins are a herbaceous perennial, native to USA and Mexico. Soft palmate foliage appears in early Spring which is grey green in colour held by soft stems. The foliage forms a clumping mound. Late Spring through Summer stunning upright spikes appear carrying cylindrical pea-style flowers, up to 100 individual buds on each stem. The flowers range in a variety of colours including white, orange, blue, pink, yellow, cream, burgundy, purple and bicolour flowers. The buds open upwards. These plants require full sun to part shade position that has well drained humus rich soil. Sow seeds direct as these plants have a long tap root and cannot be moved. Plants grow to 1m in height. Dead head flowers for more blooms and to stop the plants setting seeds.
Pixie Delight Lupin - Lupinus hartwegii nanus
For those in the warmer areas of Australia that can’t grow Russell Lupins, Pixie Delight Lupins may be the answer to your prayers. These lovely pastel-coloured lupins are an annual, so they are all done and dusted by the time the heat and humidity hits. This variety of lupin is also suitable to grow in the cooler regions. Pixie Lupins are a single stem or bushy annual and grow to approximately 40cm x 30cm wide in a part shade to full sun position. They like a free-draining soil (do not like wet feet) from acid to neutral.
Lupins are excellent cut flowers. Cut the stem at an angle with a sharp, non-serrated knife. An angled cut leaves more of the inside of the stem exposed, which in turn lets more water into the flower. Cut the stem at least 5cm longer than you think you'll need. Place the flower in a vase filled with warm water immediately after you cut it. Trim 2cm off the end of the stem every three days. The pores of the stem naturally close up over time and prevent water from getting to the flower, but regular fresh cuts will prevent this from happening.