Plant of the month: June
Also known as: Lupin
Native to: Manmade cultivar
Blooms: June – August
Habitat: In the wild Lupins are found in grassland and open woodland
Where is it found At BBG: Grass Garden / Story of Horticulture Garden
The humble Lupin is a member of the Leguminosae (pea) family and it is easy to see why when you look closely at their racemes of pea like flowers, which appear from late May onwards. Our Lupins can be found growing in the Grass Garden, providing a rich source of nectar for passing bees. The cultivar we have is bright red and looks really attractive with the Iris sibirica and the native cow parsley, which are in close proximity.
It appears that Lupins are also coming back into fashion, with a lot of garden designers at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show using them in their planting combinations for show gardens. It has been a long time coming as this plant was fashionable in the early 20th century, due to the breeding work of George Russell in the 1920’s and 1930’s when he crossed L. polyphyllus and L. arboreus with one or more different annual species in pursuit of the perfect Lupin. Let’s hope we see more of them in our gardens soon!
There are a few pests that you must watch out for if you are growing Lupins – slugs and snails really do have a taste for them. There is also a unique species of aphid that feeds on Lupins called Lupin Aphid which is pale green/grey in colour. Keep an eye out for these pests and treat them accordingly.