I planted my lupines from seed two years ago. Naturally, they didn't bloom the first year and only one plant survived the winter due to my own neglect. It produced several blooms the second year - but this year, it gave a spectacular show with over a dozen large beautiful spires.
I am always disappointed when the blooms begin to fade, but this year I decided to be proactive and deadhead them as soon as the bottoms began to form seed pods. Last year I was reluctant to deadhead them until they became unsightly.
I discovered that by removing the old seed pods from the bottom of the stem (after cutting them) that they made delightful cut flowers. I paired mine with daisies and roses. Although you do need to clean up the mess of fallen blooms as individual flowers drop each day, lupines last a week or more as a cut flower.
A second set of blooms is coming along nicely. Several of the buds are already beginning to develop color and there are at least a dozen new blooms on the way. I don't expect them to create the dramatic display of the first flush of blooms - but they may surprise me.
As an added bonus, I decided it was a waste to simply discard the seed pods and came up with a brilliant idea. I scattered them over the slope that leads to the little dirt road by my house in the hopes that at least some of them will eventually germinate there. If all works out, I just may have the traditional Maine lupine-covered hillside in a few years.
If you haven't planted lupines, yet - there is still time to get them started for next year's bloom. If you are lucky, you may even enjoy a few blooms this fall. Russell’s Hybrids Mixed Lupines bloom in shades of traditional blue, pink and white - but also include striking red and yellow. Seeds can be purchased at Gurney's Seed.
Until Next Time . . . HAPPY GARDENING!