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

Wet adapted plants for Virginia Beach VA
June 28, 2013 - I live in Virginia Beach, VA on Lynnhaven waterway (leads into Chesapeake bay, but at my point is more brackish). I've recently removed/contained bamboo with concrete and metal barriers and now want...
view the full question and answer

Where and when bloom; will they bloom in artificial light
November 06, 2005 - Do wildflowers grow through out the world, even in desert and Arctic regions? When do they bloom? Will they bloom in artificial light? What is the most interesting fact about wildflowers?
view the full question and answer

Fourth-grade research on Texas Wildflowers from Dallas, TX
January 06, 2014 - Mr. Smarty Plants, Hello, I am a fourth grade teacher and my students are about to begin a project on Texas Wildflowers. Some of the information they will require is the scientific name of the plant...
view the full question and answer

How to make a lawn into a prairie in Arlington, Texas
September 15, 2010 - I am removing lawn grasses in order to start a native prairie meadow. After grass removal, I'll put down 1/2" of compost. I will broadcast wildflower seeds on the compost. If I mulch after broadcas...
view the full question and answer

Number of wild flowers in Durham NC compared to all of North Carolina
April 24, 2009 - How many wild flowers have been identified in the North Carolina Area compared to just in Durham. I would like to photograph them all and want to know how close I can get to capturing photos of all th...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center