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

School project picking wildflowers
March 16, 2009 - We have a Biology PreAp class in our high school that has their students do a wildflower project each year. The teacher gives the students a list of 25 wildflowers and the children have to locate, pi...
view the full question and answer

Time to mow bluebonnets from Smithville TX
April 12, 2012 - When is the best time to mow the seeded Bluebonnets? I have them and Drummond Phlox in my front yard. I need to clean and trim to start pulling the large numbers of Purple Hooked Sandburr.
view the full question and answer

Sowing an old highway right of way with native wildflowers
February 12, 2007 - We have an old highway right-of-way which we would like to seed with wildflowers. Can you help us?
view the full question and answer

Wildflower gardening in Leander , TX
September 02, 2009 - I live in Leander, Texas. I bought a couple of seed mixes last fall, and had wonderful wildflowers growing all along our fences, all spring and into the first part of the summer before it got way too ...
view the full question and answer

Native flowers for a wedding in June in Tennessee
March 09, 2009 - I am planning a June 6th wedding on our farm. The wedding is in our backyard. I have lots of containers and several beds. Our daughter wants pink, purple, white and blue flowers. I have a greenhouse...
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