A cottage garden classic
Lupinus x russellii 'The Chatelaine' belongs to the celebrated series of Russell hybrid lupins and gives a long flowering of bi-colour pink and white blooms from late spring. Height of the floral spikes: 100 - 130 cm.
About growing lupins:
1 - The Lupinus genus belongs to the Fabaceae or pea family. All the plants in this family are capable of using symbiosis with bacteria to fix the atmospheric nitrogen present in the gaseous phase of the soil. They are much appreciated in agriculture for their ability to restitute the nitrogen and are excellent green fertilizers. In the garden they are vigorous and rapidly growing plants, which can thrive in poor, light, well-drained soils.
2 - Lupins are calcifuge (*) plants with a fleshy, taproot, which prefer deep, soft, acidic to neutral soils: They hate windy situations (which weaken its taproot) and being moved.
3 - Grow preferably in sandy soil, which is slightly acidic in the sun (not scorching) or slight shade.
4 - Pruning the faded inflorescences early will not weaken the plant and will promote longevity to three to four years.
(*) A calcifuge is a plant that does not tolerate alkaline (basic) soil. The word is derived from the Latin 'to flee from chalk'. These plants are also described as ericaceous, as the prototypical calcifuge is the genus Erica (heaths). Source: Wikipedia.
And now for a little story!
Once upon a time there was a Scottish botanist, David Douglas (1799-1834), who discovered a new plant during his expeditions in the north-western parts of North America. It is tall in stature, flowers in blue-purple spikes and has pretty foliage deeply cut into a dozen leaflets.
And so this very attractive many-leaved plant was named Lupinus polyphyllus! It is commonly found in the damp, grassy meadows along the coast from California to British Columbia.
Although David Douglas introduced it into England in 1820, Lupinus polyphyllus did not become the precursor of the modern varieties until nearly a century later with the famous hybrids bred by English gardener, George Russell (1857-1951).
After a couple of decades of intensive work and multiple interspecific crosses (L. polyphyllus withL. arboreus, L. sulphureus and L. hartwegii, etc.), he obtained the perfect lupin: denser, larger and more colourful flowers.
Encouraged by nurseryman James Baker, they had their first show in 1937 at the Royal Horticultural Society. Russell’s work was carried on by Bakers Nurseries and today most modern hybrids descend from the Lupinus x russellii series.
Lupinus polyphyllus Lindl.
Botanical Register, vol. 13 : t .1096 (1827)
Src : Missouri Botanical Garden
- 12 cm pot
- Hardiness zones : zone 7-10
- Height: 100 cm to 130cm
- Plant spacing: 70 cm
- Flower colour: pink
- Flowering period: summer flowers