Lupins are a cottage garden staple, with bold spires of brightly coloured flowers in summer. Great for planting in drifts with ornamental grasses and other tall perennials, they make brilliant cut flowers too.
In a recent Pots & Trowels video, Martin Fish shared his expert tips and advice for keeping your lupins in tip top shape this summer. You can watch the video below, or keep reading for all the tips, tricks and equipment you need to gain a second bloom of fantastic flowers this season.
Why Should I Prune Lupins in the Summer?
If you’ve got lupins growing in your garden, the chances are that a few weeks ago they were absolutely full of big, long, colourful spires of flowers. However, now, it’s more than likely they will have since lost their colour and the blooms will be setting seed.
Now is the time to do something with them, as if you leave them to their own devices they’re not only not particularly nice to look at, but all of the plant’s energy will be going into producing seed instead of producing more blooms.
Lupins are members of the legume family, so once they start to set seed they just look like peas – if you open up one of the pods you’ll probably see little peas starting to form inside.
You don’t want the plant to use all its energy producing those peas, you want it to put the energy back into the plant, so if you cut them down now, the chances are that you’ll get a second flush and more flowers later on in the season.
How to Prune Lupins for Second Blooms
Pruning your lupins in the summer to encourage a second round of blooms is really simple – all you need is a pair of pruners! For a task like this, we’d recommend something like our Expert Bypass Pruners, but be sure to check out the full range of Darlac pruners on our website to find the pair that’s right for you and your gardening needs.
Once you’ve got your secateurs handy, here’s what you need to do:
- Cut down the old flowering stalks to ground level.
- If you’ve got stalks that are starting to go over and aren’t quite there yet but clearly will be in the very near future (especially when it’s hot!), trace them back down quite low and cut it down, where possible, to a leaf joint. This will encourage the little leaf shoot that’s there to grow and produce more leafy growth.
- Make your way around each plant, cutting all the old flowering stalks or nearly spent stalks.
- To finish, give each plant a good drink of water to encourage them to get growing again. We’ve had some really warm weather recently, so to give them a bit of a boost it’s also worth potentially adding a little bit of a liquid feed in there too. Give them a good soak around the root balls of each plant and hopefully within a week or so you’ll start to see nice new growth starting to form.
Now that you’ve got rid of everything else, all the plant’s energy will begin to go into forming new growth and buds, and in about a month’s time you should have more lovely lupins to enjoy in the garden.
How to Save Lupin Seeds
If you’re growing any varieties from cuttings as opposed to seed or any hybrid varieties growing, you can always save a few seeds from your current plants just to see what happens when you sow them. They won’t come out true to type, but it could be a fun little garden experiment to see what flowers they produce.
To save lupin seeds, leave the plants to develop the seeds in the pods. The pods will go black, and just before they’re spent they should burst over and drop the seeds, ready for you to collect. Once they’ve dropped, you should be able to sow them straight away to get plants that will be ready to plant in the garden in the autumn.
Where to Buy Darlac Tools
Make life a little easier for yourself by using the right garden tool for the job. You can find our Darlac products in store from your local garden centre. Find your local Darlac stockist here.
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