The Complete Guide to Growing Lupins in Containers
Lupins are low-maintenance plants. Typically, you can grow them directly on the ground. Can lupins be grown in pots? We will provide you with expert tips on growing lupins in containers.
Choosing the Right Pot and Soil
Selecting the Appropriate Pot Size
As they have deep roots, you should use big plastic planters with good drainage. For most lupin varieties, a pot with a diameter of 12-16 inches and a depth of at least 12 inches is recommended.
Ideal Soil Mix for Lupins in Containers
Lupins thrive in well-draining soil with a pH 4.8-8.2. A good soil mix for lupins in containers can include a combination of peat moss, perlite, and compost.
Adding some organic matter can also provide additional nutrients. For example, leaf mold or aged manure. Avoid using heavy, clay-based soil when growing lupines in pots. It may cause waterlogging and hinder root growth.
Ensuring Proper Drainage
Make sure your plastic pots have enough drainage holes at the bottom. Add a layer of gravel or broken pottery pieces before adding the soil mix. This will prevent the soil from clogging the drainage holes and allow excess water to drain out.
In addition, avoid placing saucers under your plastic flower pots. They can collect excess water, leading to root rot. Instead, elevate your pot on bricks or use pot feet to allow proper air circulation and prevent waterlogging.
How to Grow Lupins in Pots?
Seed Germination Tips
Soak the seeds in warm water for 24 hours before planting lupins in pots. Plant the seeds in well-draining potting mix, about 1 inch deep. Keep the soil moist but not soggy. Place the pot in a warm and sunny spot. Be patient, as lupin seeds can take up to 3 weeks to germinate.
Purchasing Healthy Lupin Seedlings
Look for strong, green stems with no signs of wilting or discoloration. Check for healthy root systems by gently removing the plant from the pot. The roots should be white and firm, not brown or mushy.
Transplanting Lupin Seedlings into Pots
Fill the pot with well-draining potting mix. Gently remove the seedling from its 15 gallon nursery pots. Place it in the center of the new pot. Fill in any gaps with additional soil. Lightly press down to secure the plant. Water thoroughly after transplanting.
How Many Lupins Per Pot?
You should place 3-4 lupins around the edge for per pot. The plant will have enough space to grow and spread its roots.
Optimal Growing Conditions
Lupine potted plant require plenty of sunlight to thrive. Place your pots in an area with 6-8 hours of direct sunlight. If you're growing lupins indoors, place them near a south-facing window. Ensure they get enough light.
Temperature and Humidity Considerations
Lupins prefer cool temperatures, ideally between 15-20°C (59-68°F). They can tolerate some heat. But prolonged exposure to high temperatures can cause their blooms to wilt and fade quickly. As for humidity, lupins prefer moderate levels. So avoid placing them in areas with high humidity. For example, bathrooms.
Watering Guidelines for Lupins in Pots
Lupin plants in pots need consistent watering to thrive. However, they don't like sitting in soggy soil. So allow the top inch of soil to dry out before watering again. During hot weather, you may need to water them more frequently. This prevents the soil from drying out completely.
Fertilizing Lupins in Containers
Choosing the Right Fertilizer
You should choose one specifically formulated for flowering plants. These fertilizers typically contain higher levels of phosphorus. This can promote flower production. Look for a slow-release or controlled-release fertilizer to ensure a steady supply of nutrients over time.
Application Frequency and Dosage
The frequency and dosage of fertilizing your lupins in containers will depend on the specific fertilizer you are using. Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer for the correct dosages. Because over-fertilization can be harmful to your plants. Generally, it is recommended to fertilize your container-grown lupins every 4-6 weeks during the growing season.
Importance of Micronutrients
Apart from the primary macronutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium), micronutrients are equally important for the health of your lupins. For example, iron, magnesium, zinc, and other trace elements. Some fertilizers may not contain these micronutrients. So check the label and supplement with a micronutrient fertilizer if necessary.
How to Care for Lupins in Pots?
Pinching Back Lupin Plants
Pinching back refers to removing the top growing tip of a plant, typically done by hand or with pruning shears. This practice helps promote bushier growth and prevent leggy or spindly plants.
For lupins, pinch back the top of the main stem once the plant has reached a height of about 8 inches. This will encourage side shoots to grow. The plant will be fuller and more compact.
Deadheading to Encourage Continuous Blooms
Deadheading is the process of removing faded or wilted flowers from a plant. This can improve the appearance of the plant and encourages continuous blooming. The plant's energy towards producing new blooms instead of setting seeds. You should deadhead lupin plants regularly. Remove any spent flower stalks at their base.
Monitoring for Pests and Diseases
Regularly check for signs of infestation or disease. Aphids, slugs and snails are common pests. Treat any issues promptly with natural or organic methods. For example, handpicking or using insecticidal soap.
Fungal diseases can also be a concern when growing lupins in containers. So avoid overwatering and provide good air circulation around the plants. If necessary, use fungicides labeled for lupins and follow the instructions carefully.
Support for Tall Varieties
Installing Sturdy Supports
The first step in supporting your tall lupin plants is to install sturdy supports. Place bamboo stakes or metal rods into the potting soil, near the base of the plant. Make sure to drive the stakes deep enough into the soil. This can provide sufficient support for the plant.
Tying and Training Lupins for Upright Growth
Once your supports are in place, tie and train your lupin plants for upright growth. Gently tying the stems to the stakes using garden twine or soft plant ties. Make sure not to tie the stems too tightly. This may restrict their growth.
Preventing Toppling in Windy Conditions
In windy conditions, tall lupin plants are at risk of toppling over due to their height and weight. To prevent this, you can create a windbreak using other plants or garden structures. Alternatively, you may also consider moving your pots to a more sheltered location during periods of high winds.
Harvesting Lupin Flowers
Determining the Right Time to Harvest
The best way to determine if your lupin flowers are ready for harvest is to observe the flower spikes. Once most of the flowers on a spike are fully open, it is time for harvesting. You can also check the bottom-most flowers on the stem. If they have started to wilt and lose color, this means the flowers are ready to be harvested.
Gentle Harvesting Techniques
When harvesting lupin flowers, it is important to handle them with care. Use clean gardening shears or scissors and gently cut the stems close to the base of the plant. Avoid pulling or twisting the flowers. This can damage the plant and reduce future flower production.
Winter Care for Lupins in Pots
Protecting Lupins from Frost
Lupins are not cold hardy plants. Their leaves can easily get damaged by frost. You should provide them with protection during the cold months. Moving container lupins in pots to a sheltered location. For example, a greenhouse or garage.
You can also wrap the 20 gal pot with burlap or bubble wrap. This insulates them from freezing temperatures. Additionally, cover the plants with pine needles or straw to provide extra insulation.
Pruning and Cleaning Up in Fall
Before winter arrives, give your lupins a thorough pruning and cleaning up. Remove any dead or damaged leaves and stems. Cut back the plants to their base. This will prevent pests and diseases from overwintering in your pots.
Depending on your climate, you can choose different strategies to overwinter your lupins in pots. If you live in an area with harsh winters, bring your pots indoors. Place them near a sunny window. Make sure to check on the plants regularly. Water them sparingly to prevent root rot.
Can you grow lupins in pots? With the right care and conditions, growing lupins in pots for many years is possible. They will provide you with gorgeous blooms each spring and summer.
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