Lupines do best when started from seed, directly into the soil in which they will grow. They are a lovely, old-fashioned type of garden flower. Some varieties are annuals, and many are perennials that will continue to produce lovely blossoms year after year. They grow to about 3 feet in height.
Sowing in Late Fall
Lupines sown in late fall will appear in the spring and bloom from mid spring to mid-summer. A few will sprout in the fall and end up as winter kill. This is especially true in climates with a lot of warming and then freezing. Sow the seed about 12 to 14 inches apart in the garden. Lupines like full sun to partial shade. Work the soil to give the roots plenty of room to develop. Cover seeds with about 1/8″ of soil. The flowers will grow well in average to slightly acidic soil. Keep the seedlings moist but do not overwater.
Sowing in Late Winter
Many gardeners prefer to sow lupine seed in late winter, just when the ground has become workable. This prevents premature sprouting and still allows for the needed cold dormant period. Lupine seeds will not sprout without the cold weather. Use the same method as for fall planting. Keep seedlings moist. In dry periods, water once or twice a week.
Sowing in Early Spring
If you wait until spring to plant lupines, be sure there is at least some cold weather left in the year. Some gardeners suggest putting the seed in the freezer overnight, then soaking for a day or so to help the plant break through the hard outer shell. Plant directly in worked garden soil.
If you do choose to start seedlings indoors, use deep seedling pockets or peat pots that can simply be planted along with the lupines. The lupine has a taproot that is very sensitive to being moved. Keep seedlings moist but not wet. Perennial varieties may bloom for 3 years and then die, but some last for several years.