Height 45cm (18in)
Planting distance 20-25cm (8-10in)
Flowers mid summer to mid autumn
Acid to neutral well-drained
Sun or partial shade
To most people, lupins are the perennial Russell lupins, but a few annual types are also grown. Lupinus nanus, the best known of these, is generally available only in its 45cm (18in) high dwarf form ‘Pixie Delight’. This is a mixed strain whosemay be white, pink, red, lavender, purple, blue or bicoloured. ‘Pixie Delight’ has colourful spikes which appear from mid summer to mid autumn, persisting long after perennial lupins have faded. Carried on bushy plants with leaves divided into softy hairy green leaflets, they are excellent for producing a band of medium height colour in a mixed border. But they also look effective grown in a mass on their own or in containers on the patio.
Soak the hard seeds in water for 12 hours, before sowing them out-doors in their flowering site in early autumn (in mild parts of the country), or in early spring. Thin the seedlings to stand 20-25cm (8-10in) apart.
Lupins grow in sun or partial shade, doing best in light, neutral to acid soils and thriving on poor soils. ‘Pixie Delight’ should not re quire support. Dead-head regularly – the poisonous seed pods appeal to children and, if eaten, cause upset stomachs.
Pests and diseases