Island Lupins

Lupins are a PEI thing. Yes, in Europe they’re planted in gardens but here? Here they grow wild in ditches and create beautiful landscapes through late June and early July. Lupinus polyphyllus are considered an invasive species here (good, or bad, depends on the opinion-giver and substantiation) however, while Lupinus perrenis is native to North America and New England states like Maine. Polyphyllus thrives on PEI and brings many benefits to soil and a garden because it attracts polinators… (and aphids, a whole other matter).

If you ever get the chance to check out how a pollinator opens a lupin flower, it’s a fairly jaw-dropping bit of bio-engineering at work, just beautiful, in my opinion anyway.

Last year in early spring we planted a few scoops of lupines collected from random side roads and plopped them into a few quickly shoveled spots. One around the back of the house, one in the front flower bed and two in the wild grass near the road. All four clumps flowered really nicely although a little bit later due to being transplanted. I wanted some lupins because they are beautiful, to atttact polinators, and because they are yet another edible plant to add to the managed-wild patches.

We have four acres here and are letting some sections grow wild (we do mow and manage them, not totally wild) to encourage more woodland growth on top of planting the many trees that we’ve planted the last two years, so last year we decided to also collect lupin seeds and plant some.

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We know they don’t come true from seeds but still tried to keep them labelled to see what would happen and so this April I set out to begin the lupin-project because I think they’re beautiful and we would like a nice managed patch of them among the grasses. I should have started a bit sooner, but alas I did not, at least I did remember to stratisfy them prior to a good soaking.

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I had originally intended to try to sprout them, then plant in individual cups. Polyphyllus is said to take fine to transplanting but Perennis doesn’t enjoy it due to taproot growth. I believe my seeds are mostly Polyphyllus with one bag of perrennis and I’m running out of cups and trays due to a rather much expanded vegetable patch this year… so we’ve gone with a combo.

Soaked seeds were scattered in some regular soil collected from the property mixed with some old potting soil to make it a little lighter, around the last of April.

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They’re now hopefully getting a chance to sprout and if they do will be transplanted towards early to mid June. The rest of the seeds I will scatter along a one foot row I’ve dug between some pine plantings we made last year. If any seeds come up they’ll be transplanted with the others and the rest mowed down.

The ones I planted in potting soil indoors are already sprouting but the outside ones in the ground and the pots haven’t done a thing!

Polyphyllus sprouting inside!

I’m curious what will come of it, I haven’t had much luck with some other tougher seeds like lavender.. or maybe I’ll learn the awful reason to murder the suckers for their invasive species labelling and mow ’em all flat before they seed.. Either way, another interesting project underway… stay tuned. 🙂

Published by Renée

I write about my life, travel and my financial up and downs on my blog, Nickel By Nickel, while contradicting myself daily. ;)

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