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Lupinus perennis

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Plant types and subtypes: Perennials

Light Requirements: sun, part-sun

Water Use: low, medium

Soil Moisture: dry, moist

Soil Description: acid, neutral, average, poor, sand

Height: 1'-3'

Bloom Time: April, May, June, July

Bloom Color: violet, blue

Leaf Color: green

Hardiness Zone: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Additional Tags: attracts birds, attracts butterflies, attracts hummingbirds, colonizing, cottage garden plant, naturalizing, ornamental foliage, poisonous

Lupinus perennis (wild lupine)
  • Lupinus perennis (wild lupine)
  • Lupinus perennis (wild lupine)
  • Lupinus perennis (wild lupine)
  • Lupinus perennis (wild lupine)

Pricing & Availability

Description

Lupinus perennis

Also known as:

sundial lupine

,

wild blue lupine

,

wild lupine

,

lupine

Scientific Synonyms:

Description

The attractive green leaves of the sundial lupine are divided into five leaflets and radiate from the common stem. The showy blue to violet flowers are pea-like and bloom in elongated clusters. Spent flowers are followed by hairy pea-like pods.

Cultivation

Found in dry open woods, fields and meadows, Lupinus perennis prefers moderately fertile to poor, circumneutral soil. The wild lupine will grow best under dryer conditions in full sun, but will tolerate light shade. It requires very good drainage where summers are wet. It does not appreciate having wet feet. Areas with cool, dry summers are best suited for this member of the legume family. It can be a showy addition to any cottage garden. Blooms April to July. Zones 3-9

Propagation

Lupinus perennis self-sows freely. Collected seeds should be scratched and cold stratified before sowing. An overnight soak is also recommended. Though this plant is clump-forming, its taproots make it a poor candidate for propagation by division.

Additional Notes

Contrary to early beliefs that this species "wolfs" or depletes the soil, hence the botanical name Lupinus (from the Latin lupus meaning wolf) it actually improves fertility with its capacity to fix atmospheric nitrogen. Deer, slugs and snails will feast on this plant, but it is invaluable as the only food source for the caterpillar of the endangered Karner Blue Butterfly. Seeds are toxic if ingested in large quantities.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:
AL, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MS, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, SC, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV

USDA Endangered Status:

  • Endangered: VT
  • Rare: PA
  • Special Concern: RI
  • Threatened: IA, MD, NH

Classification

Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons
Subclass Rosidae
Order Fabales
Family Fabaceae Pea family
Genus Lupinus lupine
Species Lupinus perennis sundial lupine