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I'm a total and utter newbie and apologise if I've posted in the wrong place for this. Basically I want to try to grow lupin from seeds and was hoping somebody could give me an idiot's guide to what I need to do? I've googled this extensively and can only seem to find websites that assume people have some knowledge/experience and I really don't! My dad says to buy one from a garden centre but I'm a new garden owner and can't afford to spend much on plants (plus it's basically a blank canvas at the moment so will take a lot of filling).

So for lupins, can I start growing in my conservatory or will it be too cold at night?

I've seen an article that says to soak the seeds in water for 24 hrs before sowing and then harden them off before planting out in May but I don't know what to plant them in and when I would need to transfer them to a pot? Also, what actually does 'hardening off' consist of and for how long? 

Sorry if I sound completely dense! 

Also, if anybody has any tip for good plants to grow from seeds then that would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance



Hi there. You can sow Lupin seeds now, although they may not flower this year. There is no need to soak them.

I sow mine into modules [ a seed tray that is divided into smaller sections; I would use a 15 module tray. ]

I would start them off on a window sill, then move tem to consevatory once germinated.

You will need to transplant into bigger pots as they grow.

When they are a few inches high, the pots can go outside.

I would not plant them in the garden till they are at least 6 inches tall, as that will increase their chances of survival.

You may be wise to cut off any flower stalks that appear this season, as that will give you stronger plants for next year.

Hope that helps, seeds really want to grow.

Thanks for the reply- that's all very helpful. How do I know when it's time to move from the tray to pots though? 


Move them when the roots are visible coming out from the bottom of the tray/pot.  When planting in the garden I would also scatter slug pellets to protect them as they are caviar for slugs and snails


Use special seed compost for the initial sowing in modules then transplant them into smaller 3" pots filled with something like a John Innes no 2 or no 3 compost to grow them on.   Different composts have different levels of nutrients suited to different stages of growth.

Good luck. 


"hardening off" means that the very young plants need to get accustomed to lower temperatures than, say, a greenhouse or conservatory before you put them in your flowerbed.  You'd need to put them (still in their pots) in a sheltered spot for a few days so that they won't suffer too much of a shock when they are finally planted out.  If you don't harden them off first, they might be affected by changes in temperature outside in the garden.

I collected seed from lupins that were already in my garden last year and sew them straight away into multi-purpose compost. I had around 80% germination rate. They survived been dug up by an enthusiastic blackbird, and been blown upside down, and they were left out all winter, such that it was. I planted them out about three weeks ago and they are doing well. If you know anybody with established lupins, you could fill your garden on the very cheap by being given a head of seedpods.


Hi Thistle!

I too am on the learning curve, but everyone here is really helpful.  I grew my first plants from seed last year (tomatoes) and got such a buzz when they germinated. I texted photos to my mum, bounding around all giddy!  (No-one was around.) Later in the year, I  smuggly confirmed to guests, yes my tomatoes were home grown from seed ( as if I always do it)...  Safe to say I'm hooked!  Enjoy!

Thanks everyone, hopefully I'll be reporting back with a success story! Supernoodle, I imagine I'll be much the same  I don't have any children so this is the next best thing hahahaha!



I grow lots of lupins as someone said, you can scrounge seeds and they will germinate in anything. I dont plant mine out the first year though, I keep them in a cold greenhouse, just for. a bit of protection, young lupins dont always like the first winter out.h

I am planting mine out now and I know they will bloom this year.

We are all different though, with different ideas, depending on where we live,  its a bit of trial and error really till you find what suits you.


If you want lupins that will flower well all this summer, try the pixie annuals. They go on blooming till autumn if you dead head regularly.  Mind out for slugs though.

ThistleDoNicely wrote (see)

Thanks everyone, hopefully I'll be reporting back with a success story! Supernoodle, I imagine I'll be much the same  I don't have any children so this is the next best thing hahahaha!


Plants don't get you up for night time feeds, they don't have colic, they don't need changing as often, and 16 years later they don't need taxis at all hours of the day and night - speaking as a parent, plants are a good option 

Apologies if someone has already told you - but there is nothing - nothing that slugs and snails enjoy more than lupin seedlings.  I have lost mine every year - this year I'm adopting a different strategy.  I am planting seedlings on my allotment and encircling them with a combination of slug pellets and wool pellets.  In my garden I am trying copper tape round the pots until they get big and brave enough to plant out - then I may still employ some other deterrents.

Perhaps this year I shall at least see one or two plants survive!

Good luck with yours.

Thanks Lyn I'll look in to the pixie annuals!

Gardenbear- yes I've been researching the slug/snail issue in advance and think I'm going to try making some garlic water spray and hope for the best! I've been watching How To Be A Gardener on youtube and they did a test with slugs in ep 5 where they used, gravel, holly leaves, egg shells, oatmeal, grapefruit and beer traps around a delphinium to see which kept the snails at bay. Unfortunately none of these methods worked! If you want to watch it you can see it here, at around 6 mins in-



Another option is to find a friend who has lupins and take some cuttings - arguably simpler than growing from seeds if you are an absolute beginner.  A further option is buying a plant (or plants) from a garden centre and splitting the plant into cuttings to create more plants.  You'll end up paying at least a couple of pounds for seed but Lupins are often only sold for a few pounds each anyway.  In my experience this is often more successful than sowing from seeds - cuttings tolerate forgetting to water for a day or two etc.




I am very new to gardening, I have a few questions about growing lupins from seed..I have used seeds I collected summer 2013...

Do I even stand a chance? Ive planted seeds in a propagator now  (sept 2014) I had no idea you had to sandpaper or soak them! Or even when was the correct time to sow them. Ive sown them in sowing compost, they have been placed on kitchen windowsill. Is it ok that the lid gets lots of condensation?

I dont have a green house but I do have a summer house,to bring the plants on(if I get any!!) Would appreciate any tuition or indeed do i hang on toany hope that I maybe successful?   Thankyou.

blue rose

I grew a load in a deep root planting seed tray and so didn't have to pot them on. They were easy to grow, I planted them out when they were about 6 inches tall. I didn't realise they were caviar to slugs and they all got eaten!

In the end I bought a plant for £3. Good advice about the slug pellets I can't put them down because I have a dog that eats everything. I did try crushed egg shells but that didn't stop the slugs. 

Yes Kaz809 you stand a good chance depending where in the world you are. If you're in the UK then you can grow your young plants in a cold frame although I've grown them outside in their pots in a sheltered spot so long as we don't get a very hard winter.

They should grow on for you now, pop them outside somewhere sheltered to get hardened off, there's still a bit of time for them to grow before the winter sets in. They should flower for you next year and you can plant them into their spot in springtime.

By the way, I've grown lupin from seed for manys a year and sometimes they're a success other times the slugs get them. Good luck.

So just to be sure , is it ok to plant the seeds in late September in an open tray on the windowsill ? First time ever I have tried gardening and at 66 if anything grows I will be delighted !!

I've used 3 parts ammonia and 3 parts water to keep slugs away from hostas, seemed to be successful. 


Went on site to get tips on starting lupines from seed.  I did a whole pkge in seed trays, 2 came up and then died.  Bought more seeds today to try again.  Never had a problem at our other house, where I sowed them directly into my nursery, had so many sold them at my plant sales.

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