Lupins are a favorite for gardeners who love the aesthetic of a quintessential cottage-style garden. Their large and dramatic pea-like blooms are often used to provide some height and drama to flower borders. Lupins are also adored by bumblebees and are the perfect flower if you are trying to bring a little wildlife into your garden.
But, how do you sow lupin seeds? Lupins are fairly easy to grow from seed flowers; all they need is a very sunny spot or at least partial shade, and for you to decide whether you want to start growing them indoors (in containers) or directly into your garden (such as in borders). Regular watering and providing potassium-rich feed are advised.
It’s important to consider that lupin seeds don’t commonly come true to seed.
This means that just because your lupin seeds were harvested from a pink lupin, it won’t mean you are destined for your own pink Lupin.
It could very well come through yellow, blue, purple, or any other array of colors.
However, you can also purchase already grown lupins as plug plants or even fully bloomed plants at your local garden center if you have a specific lupin color you want for your garden.
Still, want to grow your very own cottage garden flowers from seed? Read on to find out what you need to know to grow these beautiful flowers.
Where To Sow Lupin Seeds
Depending on what month of spring you are sowing your lupin seeds, you will either want to sow them directly into the soil in a sunny spot or partial shade as long as your lupins will get at least 6 hours of direct sunlight or if you are sowing your seeds as early as March, you will want to start these off indoors.
If you want your lupins to flower earlier in the season, growing your seeds indoors can give you a really decent stretch to their flowering months.
Indoors, you can grow lupin seed in a propagator unit, or if your house is pretty warm, a yogurt tub will do just fine as early as March.
One thing to remember is that lupins really dislike having their roots disturbed.
In fact, too much disturbance and your plant can fail completely.
So if you are planning on starting them indoors, plant them one seed per pod/pot to limit root disturbance when you eventually transplant them into your garden.
To plant directly into the soil, you can plant those seeds anytime from April onwards.
Although lupin seeds have a very hard outer shell, so to help more of your lupin seeds to germinate, you can nick them with a knife and then soak them in water for at least 24 hours before you sow them.
Lupins are also a very versatile bloom when considering what type of soil they prefer.
Luckily for us, they are not overly fussy, although if your soil is overly chalky or waterlogged, they may struggle a lot.
Heavy clay soils can also be just a little too dense for lupin plants, and it is a good idea to improve the soil before you begin to grow any.
How Deep Do You Sow Lupin Seeds?
Much like most other flower seeds, your lupin seeds need to be buried around 1-2cm deep. Once sown, you will need to give them a light dusting of compost over the top. There’s no need to press down and compress the soil after sowing either.
Any deeper and your lupin seedling may struggle to find its way out of the soil, or it may not germinate at all.
If they do emerge, their strength may be impacted, and you could be left with a very weak and feeble plant for their flowering season, but best case scenario, if your seeds have been sown a little too deep, is that they just take a little bit longer to reach the surface.
For lupin seeds that a sown too shallow, you are exposing them to predators such as birds and squirrels.
Lupin seeds are fairly large in size, so any hungry critter will be able to spot them a mile off if you have sown them a little too shallow in your flower beds.
You are also risking them being washed away if you experience a decent level of rainfall, or they may even dry out, which can be sudden death for many seeds.
Are Lupin Seeds Easy To Grow?
Lupin seeds are very easy to grow; as long as they are planted in a place, they are happy and given every chance they need to survive.
Here are a few tips to ensure that your lupin seeds grow into their beautiful, dramatically blooming selves.
Before planting your lupin seeds, it’s very important that you give them a little knick on their seed coating and then soak them in water for 24 hours before sowing.
This is because they have such a thick seed shell.
Their thick outer coating can dramatically reduce how successful your seeds are when germinating.
And this little trick will increase the number of seeds that successfully your lupin seeds grow into fresh green seedlings.
Stratify Your Seeds
Stratification is a method where seeds are subjected to very low temperatures prior to sowing. This method is another way of improving your chances of seed germination.
All you need to do is pop your seeds into a Ziploc bag with some moist tissue paper and leave them back in the fridge for at least seven days.
This imitates winter conditions and is an especially useful method if your seeds have been stored in a warmer place. Once your seven days are up, you can plant your lupin seeds as normal.
Pick The Right Spot
Lupins are sun-loving flowers, so you will need to choose a spot in your garden that will give them at least 6 hours of sunlight per day.
Full sun all day is preferred, but they can cope with dappled shade if they get their six hours of direct sunlight during the day.
Plant Them Alone
If you are starting your lupin seeds off indoors, your seeds must be grown alone in their pots of pods.
They really dislike having their roots disturbed, and by planting one seed to every container when it comes to transplanting them into your garden, you have reduced the level of disturbance dramatically.
This can help improve your Lupin’s chances of surviving the move.
Once they have grown big enough to transplant into your garden, you can plant them close together to get that beautiful swathe of lupin color all summer long.
How Long Does It Take To Grow Lupin From Seed?
With an average surrounding environment temperature of 50-59f, your lupin seeds should only take around 10-14 days to germinate. But, be prepared to wait up to 28 days. So don’t give up on your lupin seeds if you aren’t seeing any movement after two weeks.
They may just need a little more patience and time.
Using my little tips and tricks above can give your lupin seeds even more chances to germinate.
These little seeds take a little time to germinate, so it’s not unexpected that the plants themselves take a little longer to bloom.
Lupins planted from seed in the spring won’t usually bloom until late summer, maybe into late fall, and it may even be possible to experience no lupin blooms in your plants’ first year of growth at all.
You may find you have to wait an entire year until the following spring to reap the rewards of growing lupin flowers from seed.
So be patient with your lupins, especially if they haven’t bloomed in their first year.
Don’t chalk it up to failure and tear out all the plants because you could be sacrificing next year’s incredible springtime floral show, and that would be a massive shame.
The popularity of the Lupin has grown slowly but steadily thanks to its dramatic, pea-like blooms, but it’s also become a popular plant for companion vegetable gardeners.
The Lupin is sometimes called a nitrogen fixer, which means it puts nitrogen back into the soil. It can be the perfect companion for vegetables that need a lot of nitrogen to grow.
Vegetable gardening aside, this beautiful perennial, once established, will provide your garden with beautiful color year after year.
Now that you know everything you need to know about how to sow lupin seeds, you can add this tall and impressive flower to your flower borders either behind other plants as colorful background or maybe even as a stand-alone meadow of these incredible plants.
Hey there – I’m Jesse, a professional florist, and gardening enthusiast. I created MyGardenFlowers to share all that I can about the flowers that I have planted and managed to grow in my garden.