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Garden Plants for Flower Arrangements: Lupine (Lupinus) Russell Hybrid

Lupinus Russel Hybrid 2If you grow lupines in the US the chances are great that they are the Russell Hybrids. These herbaceous perennials are beautiful garden plants but don’t tolerate heat and humidity and are short lived even in the Northeast where they are best planted as annuals. The plants form erect clumps with stiff stems and palmately compound leaves with nine to sixteen leaftets. Dense racemes one to two feet long of pea-like flowers appear above the foliage in late spring to early summer. The flowers may be in shades of white, cream, yellow, orange, pink, red, blue, and purple as well as bicolors. Plants self sow but the offspring are not usually the same as the parents. The large array of colors makes the flowers very useful for flower arrangements where they can also provide a strong linear element. Preserved seed heads are attractive in dried arrangements .They have a vase life of five to ten days.

Cutting: Needs no special treatment.
Conditioning: Fill stem with water and plug with cotton or Oasis. To inhibit petal fall, stand stems in a week starch solution over night. This treatment may cause the stems to curve permanently but this can be an asset in an arrangement.
Preserving: Only the seed heads can be preserved. Let them form on the plant, cut the stems, remove all the leaves, and hang upside down in a dry place.
Cultivation:

Size:

      3-4’ H x 1-1.5’ W (dwarf forms are avaialbe)

 

      Light: Full sun

 

      Soil: Moderately fertile, medium moist, well-drained

Hardiness:

      Zones 4-8

 

      Propagation: Seed

Care:

    Water deeply in dry times; cut stems when flowers have faded; cut to he ground in autumn.

Recommended Reading:

Flowers: The Book of Floral Design
Tussie-Mussies: The Language of Flowers
The Complete Flower Arranging Book