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Hi everyone.  It mentioned in the latest Gardeners' World blog that Lupins are only short-lived.  Just wondered roughly how many years they live for, and how to identify if one is on the way out.  I have quite a few in my garden and I've noticed that one of them has only very small flowers this year compared to the others - perhaps only 2 to 3 inches tall.  Does that mean it is on the way out? 


Earlier this year a lupin that had been in one spot for 6 years was dug up pulled to pieces the pieces replanted in a new spot and this is the result a few weeks back


since then the wind bashed it about a bit but even so there are now around 30spikes flowering there socks off.

So they may be short-lived but can easily be rejuvenated by division


usally after the second year of flowering they tend to go woody and dont flower anymore but there still worth it for early summer display.

Green Magpie

We've had lupins in our garden since we moved in almost 8 years ago, and they were probably there long before that. They are still flowering well and look strong and healthy, except when attacked by slugs, knocked over by gales and (the latest) visited by lupin aphids. I'm not aware that they have a short life.I cut the flowering heads back to a new shoot once they've gone to seed, to prolong the flowering period.

I think if they set seed, the new plants will always be purple-flowered, but I may be wrong about that.


Thanks everyone.  Hope mine last a bit longer than a couple of years as I have quite a few!  Sotongeoff, your lupins look amazing - if only I had a big enough garden to have huge groups of lupins like those!  


hollie hock

Geoff- When did you divide your lupin? I'm thinking of doing the same to a large purple one that I have.





It was in March and I did just dig it up, pulled of the outside pieces and replanted those in a different spot-I am amazed it has done as well as it has-so spring or autumn is probably the best time.

hollie hock

Thanks Geoff for the info- may well it give it a try myself.

I inherited my purple one, but it's not looking as good as it was last year,but that might be down to the weather. Got some seeds on the go, so my thinking is if it doesn't work I'll have new plants for next year anyway

Hollie.hock, I dig up and split my lupins from July to August. I take basal cuttings too and all make full-sized flowering plants next year. I dig them up because after flowering they are attacked by snails and I can put in a tender perennial. I label lupins splits or cuttings by colour. Lupins are at their best in first year I think so you can win all ways
hollie hock

Hi christopher2, Thanks for the info, the purple one I mentioned definately didn't do as well this year so will divide it and see what happens

Hollie-hock, you will find long big roots too big to pot up. I look for smaller splits if possible and pot these up cutting top growth to very little. The basal cuttings, although wrong time of year according to the books, will do well too if well watered. Take plenty of them. I seem to have success in about 75% of them. Best to protect against worst of winter and then plant out in spring. There is also the lupin aphid to look out for...big, greyish blue, that attack lupins in spring but a systemic insecticide or soft soap spray will control it
anthony mcglen

thankyou all for the post on loopins. i had two loopin plants last year and only one has come up this time.

as the plant is full of growth i took the advise from here and have now got four new plant with roots so fingers crossed they will all grow well this summer.

thankyou all for making time to post about loopins. i will keep you all informed how the new plant do.


I want to dig my lupins up in late summer and pot them up for the winter as I have clay soil and they dont seem to like overwintering in it I normally lose a few every year. Do you think if I dig them up in say late Aug and put them in clay pots for the winter that would work ? 

hollie hock

Hi greentooth, tbh I don't know. I have a few lupins one of which is in a heavy damp soil amd so far it comes back every year. When you say you lose them, do they not come up at all? Or is that the fresh leaves get eaten?


Greentooth.  I dig many of mine up after flowering.  If they have a smallish root system  I pot them up into 3 litre pots and cut off all the foliage.  Water well and leave them to produce good foliage and by September or,October I plant them out again or plant them in the spring.  Often, when I dig up lupins, they separate quite easily so I pot these to make 2 or 3 new plants.  

Lupins look drab after flowering so I replace with a tender perennial for,the summer


Hollie hock - when I say I lose a few every year what happens is they start to shoot in spring and then if the spring is too cold and wet the new little shoots start rotting off at the base. I think I will do what Verdun suggests and pot them then plant them out at the end of March. This year has been so cold all the early summer flowes like foxgloves are still in mid season when they would normally be over so I don't think that the long cold spring has helped matters.

I foumd that young lupins cannot take cold weather as well as those older plants. It's strange but lupins growing for more than a year can happily cops with cold weather whereas young plants will suffer.  A little,protection is necessary.

Lupins can grow for a few years .....5 or 6....but they lose vigour and appeal.  Currently I have 4 large clumps of yellow, white and blue providing quite a spectacle.  They stand in front of a lavendar hedge bordering,my veg patch.  When flowering is over I dig them up to allow lavendar hedge to spill out instead.  The dug up lupins split and potted.


I lost energy towards the end of last year, despite my original intention to get all my less hardy plants under cover before xmas, and left one North-facing flower bed untouched. Out of three lavenders, three two year-old lupins and a large sage I lost one french lavender and two lupins and half the sage to the cold.  The two lavenders and one lupin that survived have grown like monsters this spring and the surviving half of the sage has sprung back to full vigor.  Weird how you can lose half a plant   Anyway, the surviving lupin is so big and flower covered now that I'm glad I left it alone.

I love lupins too! So colourful and amazing to look at!


Alas though they truly are short lived It could be my soil. In fact I know it is as the picture above is generally the best I ever get! Then a few years later and they don't come back any more. I never learn though planted some "Woodfield Hybrids" this year.