Rare North American Lupins
Although lupins are not famous for their diversity, it is worth looking at the individual species of this beloved perennial. Lupins are ready to surprise not only with varieties of the most widespread multi-leafed lupine or with decorative qualities of annual lupins deprived of attention. Among these plants there are species that are surprising in their characteristics - North American lupins, which can become the pride of the collection and will surely appeal to those who love exoticism.
American relatives of habitual lupins
Lupins never go out and fashion. They are not in vain considered universal, unpretentious, hardy and decorative at the same time. Whatever lupins are discussed, their positive effect on the soil and the beauty of watercolor flowering are undeniable. Both annual and familiar to us perennial lupins will easily solve any design task. And although they are slightly different in scope, and lupine-flyers are completely undeservedly considered only siderata, these plants are well known to any grower. But in the family of lupins there are also several dozen types of highly decorative crops. Among them there are such lupins that few have heard of, but almost everyone admired - if not in nature, then in colorful photos.
Without lupins, not a single summer landscape of the western states of the USA can be imagined. The magnificent Rocky Mountains, the colorful fields of Colorado, the pastoral views of sunny California owe much of their "picture" to the lupins. A unique group of species of North American origin differs from lupins that are well known to us in a number of decorative characteristics.
A distinctive feature of all North American lupins is their color scheme. In these plants, almost always the color is represented by cold watercolor shades - from white to light and medium-saturated, soft tones of blue, lilac, lilac, purple. Moreover, the richness of tones and unique shades of color can surprise no less than the unexpected compactness of plants and the luxurious metallic color of the foliage. Almost all North American lupins are plants with a silvery, grayish-shiny edge. The foliage of plants looks noble and catchy, stands out against any background, allowing such lupins to look like real stars of any ensemble even before flowering. The maximum height of North American lupins is usually limited to 50-60 cm, but there are plants so compact that they literally bloom from the ground. Such lupins form horizontal spots and carpets, grow in breadth, although impressive bushes do not form in height, but they conquer it completely different: they look like amazingly dense plants. It is impossible to make out shoots in carpets under the mass of densely arranged leaves.
North American lupins, despite their distinctive features, magnificent foliage and extraordinary flowering in blue, have their own significant drawback. These plants are not in vain and today, basically, they are known only because of wild relatives and few are introduced into the culture, they still have not received the proper distribution and attention. Without exception, all North American lupins are short-lived plants, often even monocarpics, renewing not as perennials, but due to self-sowing. Their cultivation is not always a standard task, sometimes it requires replanting of new plants after loss or regular cultivation of new specimens. Therefore, North American lupins can be recommended only to those who love to propagate plants on their own, like unusual things and are ready to watch these exotic exotics, satisfying all their whims.
Types of Lupins native to the USA
It is believed that when traveling along the West Coast of the United States it is impossible not to meet lupins, these plants really differ on the American continent by their special representativeness. North American lupins, the number of species of which are measured not even in dozens, but in hundreds, still create great confusion in the classifications and cause heated debate among botanists. With species that are used in landscape design far beyond the United States, no difficulties in identification will arise. Indeed, in the design of gardens use only 6 North American varieties. And we all have the status of very rare plants.
Silver lupine (Lupinus argenteus) could be called a symbol of all North American lupins. The plant is amazingly beautiful when planted in large groups, lush, elegant and picturesque. This is a real decoration of the American prairies, a perennial that changes in size, appearance, and colors depending on conditions, famous for its ability to adapt to different environments. In height, silver lupine can be limited to 15-20 cm or exceed 60 cm in fertile soil. Complex-leafed leaves with a silky edge sit on long stalks and surprise with their thin lobes, leaves with a blunt top and a noble silver tint, which is sometimes partially lost. Flowers in slender, elongated inflorescences up to 12 cm long conquer with a play of blue colors and look like openwork strokes hovering over bright and dense greens. At a great distance, due to similar colors, this lupine can even be mistaken for sage or catnip. The color of the flowers is blue, with periwinkle hues, most often with a white or reddish center. Temperatures in the summer can make colors more pale or, conversely, saturated dark. The plant, constantly expanding in breadth, surprises with its stunning texture of curtains and spots, which cannot be called fabulous. Using this view, you can create clearings or continuous arrays. Occasionally, white-flowered varieties of silver lupine or its decorative form depressus are found on sale — a stunted lupine with a darker color of flowers and more pronounced silvery foliage. The flowering of this lupine in the homeland occurs at the beginning and middle of summer, but with us it most often blooms in August and September.
The bluest of all the lupins you can meet is inimitable arctic lupine (Lupinus arcticus) The species got its name not by accident: the plant is found in Alaska and is really used to a very harsh climate. The height of these lupins reaches about 40-50 cm, the bushes are very thick, lush, the pillow of greens in diameter exceeds the height. The leaves are very beautiful, muffled, dark green with a bluish bloom, palmate. The shoots are long, crowned with variegated large spikelets of inflorescences. The number of peduncles can reach several tens on one bush. Until the flowers bloom, the inflorescences look like fluffy "brushes" thanks to fleecy sepals, then they surprise with saturated blue colors with a purple tint of the lower lip and a contrasting white spot on the upper petals, giving the plant a different look and emphasizing that the flowers in the inflorescences are not so tight. The arctic lupine blooms in June and July. With all its magnificent appearance and variegated details, the plant still looks like a wild miracle in any company.
Looks like this plant and Nutkan Lupine (Lupinus nootkatensis) - The plant is also from Alaska. Its height from 40 cm to almost 1 m allows him to create thick, amazingly dense bushes. Leaves with dull tops of lobes sit on short petioles, which only enhances the visual massiveness of plants. Peduncles numerous, wide, with densely arranged lilac-violet flowers with uneven color and clearly visible veins. The length of the inflorescence brushes is up to 25 cm. This species is able to bloom even in May. Although most often flowering occurs at the beginning of summer.
Lupine Lepidus (Lupinus lepidus) - the most common and already become legendary carpet look. This lupine forms very beautiful thick sods with such a thick silver edge that it seems like a solid silver spot. Creeping carpets are unusually beautiful, but the plant acquires true decorativeness only in the midst of summer, when five-centimeter, shortened inflorescences with pale, delicate, bluish-lilac flowers rise to a height of 10 to 20 cm. Flowering begins at ground level, and then the peduncles gradually rise. This plant looks touching and almost fabulous, carpets are not quite dense, but very beautiful.
Lupine Brevera (Lupinus breweri) also likes to grow rugs. This is a dwarf species of lupins, the height of which will not exceed 15 cm at the peak of flowering. It develops in the form of thick pillows of silver-emerald palmate leaves with a beautiful edge and medium-sized, shortened inflorescence candles with dark purple flowers and contrasting spots. The flowering of the unique lupine continues throughout the summer, thanks to the dark inflorescences and leaves the plant seems to be a dense dark blue cover.
Another kind of North American lupine - broadleaf lupine (Lupinus latifolius) will be able to appreciate only those who live in the southern regions, because its frost resistance is limited to only -18 degrees. It is a perennial growing in a warm climate to a meter high, with palmate leaves on long stalks, flaunting attractive lanceolate lobes. The inflorescences are large, up to 45 cm long, quite loose, with blue-purple flowers arranged in a strict ornamental order. The plant also surprises with a pale, as if faded color, which near turns out to be a very large white smear, and a saturated basic tone.
Use of North American Lupins in Ornamental Gardening
The exotic appearance of the North American lupins, which are just beginning to discover with us, allows them to look like real exotic stars. They are at the same time similar and not at all similar to the species familiar to us; they seem precious, noble and exclusive. And they make such an impression always and everywhere, but only the right choice of compositions and surroundings can make them a real pride of your garden.
In the design of the garden, North American lupins can be used:
- on the alpine slides;
- in rockeries;
- in alpine greenhouses and indoor rock gardens;
- in portable rock gardens;
- like a potted plant;
- on supporting walls or slopes;
- in the foreground are flower beds with stony soil;
- in landscape groups and massifs;
- in natural design;
- in the design of gardens in the style of prairies;
- on the banks of water bodies (lupine nutkansky).
Conditions for rare species of lupins
The soil for growing North American lupins must match their natural habitat. Since all lupins usually grow on hills, in rocky and light soil, in the garden, only landing in light, drained, sandy, sandy or sandy soils is suitable for them. These plants are preferred by poor rather than nutritious soils. On ordinary soil, it is desirable to lay a drainage layer. The optimal landing site is rockeries, rock gardens, artificial or natural elevations. Even the slightest risk of waterlogging, dampness, stagnation of water requires either additional drainage measures, or additional shelter.
Choosing a place for North American lupins, it is better to stop on the southern slopes, protected from wind and drafts, warm places. Plant shade can not stand. They are planted only in sunny areas.
North American Lupine Care
Young lupins need at least light stable soil moisture. But with watering for these plants you need to be very careful: these species can die even from the slightest waterlogging. If the soil is correctly selected, the plants are protected from dampness, then during the irrigation of young crops it is better to control the degree of soil getting wet and to prevent overflow. Adult North American lupins do not need watering, but for more spectacular flowering, it is better to carry out maintenance irrigation in dry periods. Particularly moisture-loving is only the Nutkan lupine, which prefers regular light watering.
North American lupins love poor soil and do not need fertilizing. Care for them, with the exception of watering, is practically not required. After flowering, you can cut off fading flower stalks, but it is better to let the plant bear fruit freely, scatter seeds, and collect some of them for the future: this way the plant can resume on its own.
Wintering of rare lupins
All North American lupins (except broadleaf) are plants accustomed to harsh conditions. They are able to withstand even severe frosts below 40 degrees of frost, do not need preparation for winter. If in the spring there are no traces of plants, then this is due to their natural fragility and death, and not with an unsuccessful wintering.
Pest and Disease Control
Our North American lupins suffer only from slugs and snails, against which it is better to take measures in advance by setting traps and using other methods of struggle. When grown in a pot or container culture, including indoor rock gardens, lupins from the United States often suffer from aphids, spider mites and red mites, and other pests. It is better to fight insects right away with insecticides.
Breeding North American Lupins
The simplicity of breeding from seeds is the key not only to the wide distribution of lupins from the USA in nature, but also to the ease of their cultivation. Every year, it is better to collect part of the seeds and save them so that there is always the opportunity to re-sow the plant, if after its death and degeneration, self-sowing does not remain by chance.
Plant seeds are sown directly into the soil. In autumn, sowing is carried out only in regions with mild winters, covering plants before frosts. For the middle strip, spring sowing is preferable, after the threat of return frosts disappears. May and even June crops will not be difficult to preserve plants due to the fact that such lupins emerge very quickly - in a week or two, and then actively develop.
Sowing is carried out shallow and sparsely, in loose nutrient soil in the beds or in a permanent place. The main condition for friendly germination is stable humidity. Before the plants form a second pair of true leaves, seedlings are thinned out or planted at a distance of 15-25 cm between the bushes. You can dive plants and not at a permanent place, but in this case, transplantation can be some problem. Young lupins are provided with watering in drought and protect plants from weeds by regular weeding.