Pealike blooms packed onto military-erect stems rising 1 to 2 feet above of large, deeply lobed green leaves can only belong to lupins or lupines (Lupinus spp.), the most architecturally sculpted of all pea (Fabaceae) family plants. Although many lupine species grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 8, depending on variety, cultivars such as the Russell lupines (Lupinus ployplyllus 'Russell Hybrid'), which grow in USDA zones 4 though 6, are better suited for home gardens. To enjoy their striking display as long as possible, prune lupines regularly.
Pruning Faded Flowers
Start pruning a lupine when about 70 percent of the flowers on its primary stem have died. This technique, known as deadheading, encourages the plant to keep blooming.
Things You'll Need
Clean, sharp stem cutters
Clean towel or rag
Cut the fading stem back to the the first set of leaves, where a new flower stalk may be forming. Use clean, sharp stem cutters.
Before moving on to another stem, wipe the stem cutter blades with a clean rag or towel dipped in rubbing alcohol. This helps prevent spreading diseases.
Continue cutting back the stems as they fade, until the last of them is gone. Then cut the entire plant back to its newest set of basal leaves. If it blooms again, repeat the process.
Waiting to deadhead until all the buds on a stem have opened gives the older blooms a chance to set seed. The seeds may sprout where you don't want them, and once the plant produces seed, it's less likely to flower again.
Pruning Aphid-Infested Plants
Sap-draining aphids frequently overrun lupine stems and leaves. Pruning a plant at the first sign of an infestation may be the only way to save it. Using stem cutters, remove all visibly infested stems and leaves and dispose of them in sealed plastic bags.
- American Meadows: Perennial Lupine Seeds
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Lupinus 'The Governor'
- Texas Tech University Department of Plant and Soil Sciences: 'Russell Hybrid' Lupines
- Fine Gardening: Off With Their Heads -- Deadheading Perennials
- Horticulture: All About Deadheading Flowers
- The Well-Tended Perennial Garden: Planting and Pruning Techniques; Tracy DiSabato-Aust
- Royal Hortiultural Society: Lupin Aphid
- UC Statewide IPM Online: Aphids
Passionate for travel and the well-written word, Judy Wolfe is a professional writer with a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from Cal Poly Pomona and a certificate in advanced floral design. Her thousands of published articles cover topics from travel and gardening to pet care and technology.