Vicky McClure asks how protect her lupins from slugs
Dani Turner, customer experience director at online florist Bunches, said: “Regularly deadheading your lupins is a great way to give more life to these gorgeous flowering spikes, and you want to start this process as soon as you notice the blooms are fading.
“Deadheading takes away any dead flowers which are turning into seeds and will stop the plant from using its energy to create more seeds instead of flowering.
“Repeating this cycle of deadheading will extend the flowering season by months and the process is very simple to do.”
1. Locate the dead spike
According to the expert, dead spikes are easy to locate on lupins as they will have turned into “pods” which happens a few weeks after flowering.
Simply follow these pods down to the stem to where they meet any new growth and this is where gardeners will need to snip.
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2. Grab your scissors
Dani explained: “The easiest way to deadhead is to use scissors, a sharp knife or secateurs on the flower spike. Be sure to avoid the leaves.
“You can repeat this process as many times as needed throughout the summer and into early autumn. If you are using a sharp knife, you can slide down the side of the stem and the pods will easily fall off.”
The expert said that this method of deadheading is a good way to keep the lupin looking neat, but can be more time-consuming.
All parts of lupins are poisonous, so make sure to wear gloves when handling them and deadheading.
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When deadheading, also make sure to look out for any pests which have a taste for lupins, such as slugs and snails.
3. Harvest seeds
If you want to sow new lupins, Britons can leave spies which have gone to seed and harvest these later on in the season.
Dani noted: “Move the spike into a dry spot to help them dry out. Once they have dried, the seeds will pop out on their own. Cold stratification helps encourage germination so, over winter, you can plant your seeds in soil to do this naturally.
“In spring, soak the seeds in water the night before you intend to plant them to also aid the germination process. The next day, plant the seeds in seed trays using multi-purpose compost.
“Once the seedlings have begun to establish themselves, you can then start to think about planting them in the garden or in bigger pots.”
Lupins which grow from seeds are like to flower in a mix of colours, according to the expert, so if you have a rarer colour, make sure to take basal cuttings.
For the best results with basal cuttings, it is important to take the cuttings between March and April when the plant is producing new growth.
Dani continued: “You want to get to the base of the plant, as close to the crown as possible, where the stem meets the root system. For the best results, get a clean and sharp knife to help ensure one single swift cut at the base is made without unnecessary damage to the lupin.
“After you have your cutting, trim any excess plant to leave a single leaf at the top of each cutting you take. Then, mix two parts horticulture grit with two parts seed and cutting compost and fill 9cm containers with this. Set the cuttings around the edge of the container to ensure that they dry out quicker.”
Make sure to give it a good water and place them in indirect sunlight, transferring to bigger pots when big enough.
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