Lupin Flower: A Beautiful Bloom That Comes with a Bite

shutterstock 526782439 FloraQueen EN Lupin Flower: A Beautiful Bloom That Comes with a Bite

A beautiful summer-flowering perennial that stands tall about all other flowers in your garden. They are easy to grow and maintain and thrive in challenging conditions. lupins can be found everywhere from meadows to gardens, at celebrations, and in the kitchen.

When you read this article, you can learn:

* Characteristics
* Planting and Care
* History
* Culinary Uses
* Cosmetic Uses
* Symbolism


Lupin flowers are a perennial in the pea family, which is part of the legume family. There are over 200 species of lupins. The plant produces a tall, spire of brightly colored flowers that bloom from early spring well into the summer. The flowers open from the bottom of the stalk upwards. The colors of the flowers can be red, pink, white, purple, and cream; the blue flower strain is the hardiest. One plant can even have more than one color. Honey Bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies love the nectar of this flower.

Some lupins are poisonous, specifically the silky lupin and the velvet lupin. They are toxic from the time they start growing to the time the seed pods burst. The level of toxicity wanes as the plant gets older. What makes the plant so toxic is the high level of an alkaloid found in the seeds. The toxic lupins are found in wild fields and are most problematic to livestock that grazes on the plants and seeds.

Planting and Care

The lupin is an easy plant to start and maintain. When you start from seeds, the flowers bloom the next season. Begin by soaking the seeds overnight to soften the tough outer coating. The next day, place the seeds in your garden in an area that receives full sun. The sun can not be a hot sun, lupins do better in mild heat. Be sure the location is where you want the plant because the long taproot makes it difficult to transplant.

Press the seeds into the soil to about ¼ inch deep. lupins prefer neutral to slightly acidic soil which is well-draining to avoid root rot. Soil which is sandy or rocky encourages the taproot to grow too deep.

The flowers grow on stiff hollow stems that may require stakes to keep them upright. This stem is what makes it a great flower for use in arrangements. If you cut the stems when 75% of the buds have opened, the cut flowers last longer in arrangements.

Deadheading encourages rebloom. Removing the seed heads allows lupins to direct energy into the root and foliage which is essential in maintaining a healthy plant.

Water regularly to maintain moist soil; an average of about an inch of water a week is sufficient.


The name lupin comes from the Latin word for wolf. It was once mistakenly believed that the flower soaked all the nutrients from the soil. In actuality, it adds much-needed nitrogen.

Lupin seeds have been consumed throughout the Mediterranean region, Egypt, and in the Andes for centuries.

In the 18th century, lupins were introduced into northern Europe to improve soil quality. Agriculturally, many annual species were grown as food for livestock, pigs, and poultry.

In the 20th century, scientists genetically altered the lupin to include the “sweet gene.” This created a plant more palatable for human and animal consumption. Most of the work continued in Australia which is now where 85% of the world’s lupin seeds are grown.

The seeds are an alternative source of protein. The protein content is similar to soy but contains less fat. The seeds are gluten-free, high in fiber, high in amino acids and antioxidants, fatty acids, and are prebiotic.

Culinary Uses

Do not eat any lupin seeds out of your garden. Be sure to purchase the seeds from reputable companies who have processed the seeds and have been declared a food-grade product and are ready for consumption. The components of lupin that make it toxic, lupinine and sparteine, these are removed during the processing stage. If you have a peanut allergy, there is a high probability you also have a lupin seed allergy.

The seeds of the lupin have been used as food for over 3,000 years in the Mediterranean and for over 6,000 years in the Andes. The seeds were very popular in Roman and are still called lupini beans.

When the seeds are processed to be a food source, they are soaked until they are soft so that the bitter out coating can be removed. Then, the seed is boiled or roasted for eating.

The seeds can also be made into flour, which then can be made into pasta. The seeds are also processed into cooking oil.

The seeds can be used in a variety of foods ranging in tastes from salty to savory. The European white lupin seed is commonly put in jars with a salt solution, much like an olive. In other Mediterranean countries, the seeds are used in main dishes as well as eaten like a snack.

Cosmetic Uses

In ancient times the seed of the lupin was mixed with other ingredients and used to soften ladies’ skin. In more modern times the seeds are processed into an oil that is used to penetrate the surface levels of skin reaching deeply where the oil promotes cellular repair and regrowth.


The lupin flower stands for imagination, admiration, and overall happiness. Whether given as a gift or grown in your garden, the lupin brings the energy of inner strength to recover from trauma. When given as a gift, it tells the receiver that a positive outlook leads to the discovery of new opportunities.


The lupin flower is not just a beautiful addition to your garden but is also a heartfelt gift given as a message of cheer and lightheartedness. It is the perfect gift for birthdays, any celebratory occasion, and anniversaries. You can give lupins as a plant, an arrangement or a just a bouquet.

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