Dwarf Lupine or Pacific Lupine is a widespread small hardy annual that is found all along the west coast from British Columbia to Mexico. In the Willamette Valley its most conspicuous home is along the disturbed soil and gravel of highways/roads. Thats where you see masses of this diminutive lupine that rises to just 1′ tall. The intricate flowers erupt from the top and are mostly blue with purple and the bottom has a white lip. These are displayed above very furry palmate leaves. It forms a small rounded plant. Loved by all pollinators this tough little plant can inhabit the worst, shallow soils and still thrive. If given richer conditions this nitrogen fixer will soar to 1′ tall with a much larger flowers. Excellent in annual containers – it blooms for a long time April-August or until the ground goes completely dry. Horizontal bean pods hold three seeds each. Self sows in open disturbed sites with little competition from other plants. Only water if it is planted from a container otherwise no supplemental irrigation necessary. Very beloved by hummingbirds and butterflies. Mixes well with other long blooming hardy native annuals such as Madia elegans or Clarkia amoena. Seed that is released in summer germinates in autumn with the first fall rains. Easy to spot the palmate leaves. Oregon native plant.
Lupinus polyphyllus ssp. polyphyllus
Large leaf lupine. This is the form that is native to the western part of the state. There are 5 other subspecies, this is the Willamette Valley form. A large bushy perennial famous for the most showy flowers in the genus. This is the direct descendent that forms the colorful clumps along our freeways. A great large garden plant and not a long lived plant. Generally 3-5 years is antiquity for this species. The large palmate divided deep green leaves are coated in fine fur. This makes raindrops turn to pure mercury as they balance on the leaves. The most commonly seen flower color forms in the Willamette Valley are generally blue and purple and solid colors. The multi-color vastly larger selections are just as adaptable as the species. Large rocket like flower trusses rise to 3′ tall in late spring to early summer. Loved by insects the foliage is often fodder for native fauna. Excellent pollinator perennial or cut flower. Large peapods stick out horizontally from the spent flower stems. Reliably self sows if you contain the competition from foreign exotics and turf grasses. Potted plants should be watered regularly through their first summer. In subsequent years it can rely on natural rainfall. Very deer and rabbit resistant. To 3′ wide when happy. Protect from slugs/snails. Oregon native plant.
Our locally native silver leaved lupine. A wildflower that beckons gardeners with incredible metallic silver foliage and spires of blue and white flowers from late spring into summer. It has some exacting requirements. Its best to know where you find it in the wild. Steep, steep cliffs and steep open road cuts. What do they have in common? Excellent drainage and little summer water. Spreading almost shrubby evergreen plant to 2′- 3′ wide on average. The very pretty fragrant flowers rise up to about 3′. It seems to resent a lot of competition from other plants- give it room, its own space and again, perfect drainage. Highly deer resistant also not as attractive to rabbits. Oregon native plant.