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Lupins are a genus of plants in the subfamily of the pea family within the legume family, which includes, for example, peas and peanuts.
The pods and seeds of lupins are poisonous. The name lupine comes from the Latin lupus for wolf and may refer to the wolf-gray hairy pods or to the bitter taste of the seeds. So a German name is also Wolfsbohne. Originally, the plants come from western North America.
Lupines are used to improve the soil, as they build up nitrogen in the soil with the help of nodule bacteria.
Flowering time, location, care
The special feature of lupins is the up to 60 cm long luminous grape blossom in blue, yellow, pink, purple or white. The flowers appear from May to August, sometimes even into September. If you remove the faded immediately, you can get a re-flowering. The whole plant can grow up to 150 cm. At these heights a support is required.
The lupine prefers a sunny to half shady site. The soil should be deep, loose, humus and neutral to slightly acidic. It is only fertilized with some compost.
The self-sowing of mature seeds should be prevented because the offspring can overgrow the mother plants. The range of the ejection seeds is up to 7 meters.
The best time to plant is spring. The lupins should be increased by division, preferably in spring, sowing or cuttings.
The lupine is a good cut flower. It grows with us as an ornamental plant, but is also planted as wild food. In addition, the plants contain a lot of protein and they have now become a cultivable, easy to process and consumable food. The protein is particularly suitable for milk allergy sufferers. A wildflower is about to revolutionize the food industry.
Many varieties of lupins for your garden
The genus Lupinus comprises a total of well over a hundred species, several of which are available from us and thrive in our gardens:
- The white lupine or Lupinus albus L. grows preferentially in lime-poor and sandy soils, gladly with loam or loess share. It produces beautiful white flower clusters, which feed many beneficial insects, but has more to offer (see below).
- Perhaps even better known as an ornamental plant is the Blue Lupine, the Lupinus angustifolius, which also prefers to grow on sandy loamy soils and beautifully shaped umbels of all shades ranging from pale blue to dark purple.
- The Yellow Lupine (Lupinus luteus L.) is the third of the more well-known annual lupins, we remember them especially from the wonderful picture of the fields flooded with yellow flowers on which it was planted for green manure.
- In the perennial section of the garden trade you will find the multi-leaved lupine (Lupinus polyphyllus), which produces huge flower umbels of about 50 cm in colors from white and yellow to pink / red to violet.
- Slightly smaller, but also perennial, the Russels hybrids are the Lupinus polyphyllus, they usually bloom in several colors and are about one meter high.
- The variety Lupinus Manhattan Lights is the third of the well-known perennial lupins, their specialty is the golden yellow to purple flowers.
- All Internet plant buyers could then come across the Andean lupine (Lupinus mutabilis sweet.) And the Alaska lupine (Lupinus nootkatensis), to what extent these rather colder or warm areas habitual lupines thrive here, could be worth the exploration.
Delicious lupine snack
Some varieties of lupins have been largely deprived of their bitter and toxin by breeding, and are commercially available as sweet lupins or edible lupines. The seeds of these lupines can be inserted, they are known in the Mediterranean as a snack to alcoholic drinks. There are several other processing options available, and instructions for those who like to experiment are available on the Internet.
But before you start eating your garden lupines, be sure to check out exactly what they are - all lupines have different ingredients, and if you pick up the wrong type of lupine, there are too many poisonous bitter substances. Especially allergy sufferers should approach the lupins very carefully, sensitization to lupine components is not rare or as a cross allergy in susceptibility to other legumes not uncommon.