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Lupins in winter in the ground
Most Lupins are perennials which means they die back for winter and regrow every year in spring. Most lupins will survive the winter very well in the ground. That being said, there are a few lupins that are not as hardy so always check the label or plant description if buying online. Lupins are robust and tolerate sub-zero temperatures well as long as they’re in well-drained soil. The very long tap root travels deeply into the soil and can access water there, and the roots when planted in the ground are naturally protected. For lupins grown in pots, they need a little more protection over winter but more on this a little further down.
You have the option of cutting the lupins down to the ground for the winter which is what I personally do as I like my beds and borders to always look tidy over winter. However, this is not necessary. Leaving the dead stems alone may look a little unsightly but they give refuge to garden critters in the cold months. If you do leave them over winter without pruning them back, make sure to cut them down at the start of spring just as new foliage emerges.
Reminder: Late autumn is the time to plant untreated lupin seeds so they chill and harden off throughout the winter.
Protecting Lupins in pots over winter
As with all plants grown in pots and containers, lupins in winter need some protection. It’s not the cold that harms them but the dryness or being to wet. The roots are also a little more exposed to frost as there not as protected as they are in the ground. The moisture in the soil in the pot freezes and the plant can’t access any water. What I usually do is move my lupins to a more sheltered position at the side of a wall so they have shelter from the rain and a little more protected from hard frosts. I also sometimes move them into the greenhouse if I have enough room spare.
Here are a few other tips on how to protect your lupins, especially the root, and the pot from this happening:
- Move the containers to a sheltered spot out against a wall of a house or fence and into a rain shadow. This will stop them from becoming too wet which can rot the roots but also freeze and damage the roots.
- Raise the pot from the ground, so the bottom of it doesn’t freeze.
- Cover the pot using bubble wrap, cardboard or bags to give the root and pit some protection against freezing temperatures.
- Water the lupin occasionally during long dry periods.
- Move pots into a greenhouse or cold frame.
You may also want to learn what to do with lupins after flowering as well as how to take lupin cuttings and some of the most common lupin pests and diseases. Finally, if you’re new to growing lupins you may find my guide on how to grow lupins useful.