En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
2 ratings

Sunday - February 15, 2009

From: TARRYTOWN, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Growing Lupinus perennis in sandy soil.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I want to grow Lupinus perennis for the Karner butterfly. I know it won't grow in clay (my soil is wet clay). Can I plant the plant in a big (20" diameter x 17" tall) rubber pot, and fill the pot with sandbox sand. (Or some other kind of sand?) If so, how many can I put in that size container? thanks.

ANSWER:

Lupinus perennis (sundial lupine) is a beautiful plant that prefers to grow in well drained, sandy soil. However, "sandbox sand" is not what you want to use; the particle size is too small and it becomes compacted. You want something coarser that is commonly called "builder's sand", and you also need to add organic matter such as peat moss or leaf mold to provide nutrients and help hold moisture. Make sure that the pots you use allow for drainage.

The USDA Forest Service link has a lot of information about the Sundial Lupine and its growth requirements (be sure to scroll through the whole page), and the UMass Extension link tells about good soil mixtures to use.

The USDA link suggests that the Lupine seeds can be planted 5 per square foot. Since the area of your container is a little over two square feet, you should plant to have 10 or 12 about evenly spaced lupines in your pot.  You will probably want to sow more seeds than that, since some will probably not germinate the first year. 


Lupinus perennis
 

More Wildflowers Questions

More on bluebonnets
April 05, 2007 - I live in Hereford, Texas, near Amarillo. What would be the closest area for us to see fields of bluebonnets and when? Is it Wichita Falls?
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers for an April wedding in McAllen TX
April 16, 2010 - I live in McAllen Texas and plan to get married April 2011. My dream is to get married at my parents ranch. I visualize beautiful wildflowers and I am not sure what to plant and when. Any suggestion...
view the full question and answer

Should Bluebonnets Be Planted in Mulch in Spring Branch, TX
September 23, 2010 - I would like to plant bluebonnet seeds in my flower bed. The bed has a layer of shredded cedar mulch. Do I need to remove the mulch where the seeds will be planted, or will the plants grow up through ...
view the full question and answer

Soils for Central Texas wildflowers
November 04, 2007 - Our family is moving to 40 acres near Lexington, TX with deep soil. Briefly talking to personnel at the Wildflower Center during Goblins in the Garden, I found that not all flowers in the Central Texa...
view the full question and answer

Native Plants for a water collection pit in Bronson, FL
August 22, 2013 - I live near Gainesville, FL in a low rural area with many cypress swamps around & bought this 5 acres 2 years ago. About 15 years ago a pit was dug on my 5 acres to give the rainwater somewhere to go...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center