Everybody loves lupins, but what you might not love so much is having to buy new seeds when your plants start to reach the end of their life. An easy solution to this would be growing new plants from the seed pods on your plants, but is this possible? Can you grow lupins from the seed pods? Let’s have a look and find out.
Yes! Lupins can be easily grown from the pods left behind after their vibrant flower display. Read on to find out the best way to grow your lupins from seed pods and a few helpful tips and tricks.
How To Grow Lupins From Seed Pods
So now that you know it is possible to grow lupins from the pods you will want to know how to. Let me help.
Wait until the seeds begin to brown
The first step to growing lupins from the seed pods is the harvesting of the pod. You want to select a few of the spikes that you intend to leave to go to seed while the plant is still actively growing, I normally choose one of the bigger ones and deadhead all of the others.
The seed pods will be green at first, do not harvest them while they are green, this is too early. You want to leave the spike with the seed pods on the plant until they turn brown.
The seed pods in the above image are nice and brown and ready to be used.
Leave in a cool dry spot
Now move the full spike with the pods into a dry spot, a shed is a perfect place for this. You want to leave the pods plenty of time to dry out. They will begin to dry and crack, the seeds will then pop out on their own.
Wait until spring
Now that you have your own homegrown seeds you want to wait until spring before you start germinating them.
Stratify the seeds
Stratifying seeds sounds complicated but is actually really simple. It is essentially cold-shocking them and is essential to growing certain seeds.
Lupins do well after being stratified, this can be easily done by putting them in the freezer over winter.
An even easier method is to plant your lupin seeds in soil over winter, they will then be naturally stratified.
Grow Seeds As Usual
Now you can simply grow your seeds as you normally would out of a packet.
Lupins arent a particularly fussy seed and are quite simple to grow. Start them off in early spring in a seed tray or small pot.
I just use multipurpose compost and push the seeds just below the surface. If it is still cold out then start the seeds inside on a windowsill or somewhere sheltered like a greenhouse.
Once the plant is 3-4 inches tall you should think about transplanting it either into the soil or into a bigger pot.
Problems with growing lupins from seed pods
The biggest issue with growing lupins from seed pods is simple, lupins do not grow true to seed!
What this essentially means is that any lupin grown from a seed taken from a plant you have grown will not necessarily produce the same colored flowers as the plant it came from.
It may have the same color or it may not. In fact, lupins tend to revert to a more purple/blue color over time.
If your lupins were already blue or purple then this obviously won’t be much of an issue for you, if you had red or yellow or any other color then you might need to think of another way to reproduce from your lupins.
So how do you do this? Well, one way is to split the roots of older plants.
Splitting Lupin Roots
To start with this is a job you only really want to do at a certain time of the year, spring is the best time to split a lupin. This is because the plant will already be waiting to come back into life as part of its natural cycle.
The root structure will be full of stored energy and ready for explosive growth.
How to split lupins
Here is my quick guide on how to easily split your lupins in order to get brand new plants that are guaranteed to be the same color as the parent!
Give Them A Good Soak
Before digging your lupins give them a good soak, a nice rainy day is actually the perfect time to split a lupin as the rain will keep everything nice and wet for you.
Dig The Lupin Up
Dig a large area around the base of the lupin and gently pull it up, aiming to keep as much of the root structure intact as possible.
Wash Off The Soil
Then wash all of the soil off the roots so you can get a really good look at it.
Cut With Sharp Knife
Use a sharp knife to cut away a section of the plant from the outside edge.
Aim for something around 2 inches in diameter and choose a section that looks nice and healthy.
Plant Cutting In Small Pot
Plant this cutting into a small pot full of multi-purpose compost. You will want to give it plenty of watering and then move into a sheltered spot with plenty of light.
Move Indoors Or Into A Greenhouse
A greenhouse is perfect but if you don’t have one a sunny windowsill will work just fine.
Plant Out Once There Is Lots Of New Growth
Grow the lupin on in this spot until it has plenty of new growth on it, once it has healthy growth you can think about moving it back into the garden.