Sundial lupine is a rare wildflower, native to the plains of the north-eastern part of the continent, that owes its name to its tendency to follow the sun. Smaller than other lupines, Sundial lupine is a perennial that doesn’t produce many seeds so it won’t spread aggressively in the garden.
Sundial grow to only 1-2 feet and produce clusters of charming violet-blue, sometimes pink to white pea-shaped flowers that bloom from early spring until mid-summer. Sundial lupines are a splendid choice for native prairie plantings, woodlands and meadows with dry, sandy soils. Deer-resistant and great at attracting bees, hummingbirds and butterflies.
- Latin Name: Lupinus perennis
- Life Cycle: Perrenial
- Canada Hardiness Zone: 4-9
- Days to Maturity: 90-100
- Planting Depth: 3-4 seeds 1 cm deep
- Plant Spacing: 25-35 cm
- Growth Habit: 30-60 cm tall
Some of the most anticipated spring wildflowers are the rangy blossom spikes of lupines. The colourful blooms are a welcome sign early in the year. They are fast growers and are kept both as annuals and perennials. Start your seeds early in the spring, select the right spot and you can enjoy your lupines every year.
Start seeds indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost or sow directly after all danger of frost has passed. Seeds should be scarified before planting by chipping with a knife or rubbing with sandpaper. Seeds also benefit from a period of cold stratification. After scarifying the seeds, wrap them in a damp paper towel and place them in the refrigerator for a week.
Using tall biodegradable peat or coco pots, gently press seeds into the surface of the soil. Lupines start to develop a taproot immediately and it’s best to disturb it as little as possible when transplanting out. Lightly cover seeds with soil and keep moist until germination in about two to four weeks. Harden off with gradual exposure to the elements in a sheltered place and transplant into the garden after the last frost.
Lupines will do best under full sun, especially in cooler climates. In hot regions, afternoon shade is advised. Provide a garden space with soil rich in organic matter and good drainage. Water regularly during dry spells but don’t let the soil stay damp for long periods of time. Lupines prefer cool summers and grow especially well in northern climates. Too much high heat and sun may discourage flowering.
Lupines won’t require any fertilizer, just supplement them with compost if the soil doesn’t contain a high level of organic matter. Stake or tie up the tall flower stalks to keep them from flopping over and deadhead the spent blossoms to promote more blooming.
Being from the same family as legumes like peas and alfalfa, lupines take nitrogen from the air and fix it into the soil. Try mixing them into the vegetable garden or using them as a cover crop in rotations. Flowers can be left in the garden over winter to self-seed.
Lupines started from seed usually won’t bloom in their first year, but be patient. Take care of them and have faith that you’ll be rewarded with their gorgeous towers of polka-dot blooms for many seasons to come.
- Lupines are excellent nitrogen-fixers in the garden. They are often planted near squash, cucumber and broccoli to improve the quality of the soil and facilitate the growth of these plants.
- Lupine seeds will remain viable for 2 years if stored in a cool, dark place, ideally between 4 and 10⁰C. After that, the germination rate may start to go down.
OUR SEED GUARANTEE
You know that a lush, fruitful garden needs good soil, frequent watering, and sunlight to grow, but it’s the seeds that really make the harvest.
Picked and bagged for 2023 the vast majority of our seeds have germination rates of over 85%. The seeds are all-natural, non-GMO, non-hybrid, untreated, and open-pollinated for seed saving.
We have put a lot of thoughts into the design and packaging of our seed packets. Our seeds are all carefully packed in food grade kraft paper/aluminium zipper lock bags, and then are shipped in eco-friendly padded mailers.
We heat-seal each of our seed packet for even more protection from moisture, odour and light, allowing you to store your seeds for up to 3x longer than paper or plastic. Plant them all, germinate some indoors, save some for next season - it’s up to you!