Large-leaved lupine is the queen of her clan with iconic flower spires (aka racemes), up to 12" long, that can range from purplish-blue to pale beige and are adored by bumblebees! Her distinct leaves form a palmately compound circle that add interest and texture to the garden, while gorgeously collecting droplets of dew on summer mornings; little cups of fresh drinking water for garden insects.
- Plant type/canopy layer: deciduous, perennial, herbaceous plant
- Size at maturity: up to 48" tall, 24"-36" wide
- Light requirements: full sun, part sun/part shade
- Moisture requirements: moist to wet soil
- Bloom time: April - June (May - June in the Portland Metro area)
- Growth rate/ease: medium growth rate, easy to grow
- Wildlife support: flowers attract and provide nectar to hummingbirds, adult butterflies, bees and other insect pollinators; overall plant attracts and supports beneficial and pest eating insects and is a caterpillar host plant and larval food source for native butterflies and moths
- Native habitat/range: common in meadows, forests openings and coastal areas from British Columbia to California. Portland Plant List - yes.
- Special features & uses: hummingbird and pollinator favorite; drought-tolerant; nitrogen-fixing; landscape uses include erosion control and soil stabilization, pollinator gardens, meadowscapes and rock gardens
Gardening with Large-leaved Lupine: Large-leaved lupine is an absolute must for moist meadowscapes, pollinator gardens, rock gardens and raingardens - with striking purple flowers that can be wonderful native alternatives to snapdragons or ornamental phlox. Like it’s other lupine cousins, it is generally found in moist to seasonally wet soils, but can withstand short periods of drought. If you choose to, adding supplemental summer water will prolong its bloom and attractive vegetation. Or, save the water and the plant will die-back for the season by mid-summer and return to impress again next year. It also performs beautifully in soils that are loose, rocky, shallow and/or low-fertility because its deep roots fix nitrogen, increase soil fertility, and control erosion.
Photo Credit 1: "Lupinus polyphyllus._5951" by Flominator is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Photo Credits 2, 4: Hoddick Photography
Photo Credit 3: Nikkie West, Sparrowhawk Native Plants
Photo Credits 5, 6: Tara Lemezis, Tiny Seed Photography