Russell Lupine

Russell Lupine

Lupinus polyphyllus
Colorful, full blooms on tall stalks from a vibrant gene pool.

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Details

Lupines, a North American native, were brought over to the UK in the 1820s. A century later, horticulturalist George Russell set out to breed the perfect lupine. He spent two decades ripping out plants which he deemed underwhelming in shape or color. He particularly disliked the lupine's blue palette, as it too closely resembled the flower's wild ancestors from America for his taste. As hard as Russell tried to suppress the blues, if left unchecked, blue blooms will still eventually dominate even the most colorful lupine patch. Russell received lots of awards for his horticultural experiments and helped popularize this wild flower. Most garden lupines today are related to the original true Russells, but since lupines easily cross-pollinate, they continually expand their gene pool to create new variations on what George Russell had in mind. Although some Lupine varieties have a place in Native American diets, others have a level of toxicity that can be trouble, especially for livestock and other animals.
Number of Seeds 75 seeds
Spacing in Row 12 - 14 inches
Planting Depth 1/8 inch
Days to Germination 14 - 20 days
Height at Maturity 36 - 42 inches
Lupines must be winter sown (tossed into a prepared plot from late January until early March) or scarified by being put in the fridge and then nicked with a file and soaked. After that, fairly easy to grow. Perennial.
Ready seed pods will burst open. When the seed pods begin to yellow and dry, and the seeds inside feel loose, Harvest them and place in a well-ventilated area where the pods can pop and you can gather the seed!

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