Lupinus, Russell Lupin, Russell Lupine 'Russell'

Lupinus polyphyllus

Family: Fabaceae (fab-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Lupinus (loo-PIE-nus) (Info)
Species: polyphyllus (pol-ee-FIL-us) (Info)
Cultivar: Russell
Additional cultivar information:(aka Russell Hybrids Mixed)
View this plant in a garden




Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


15-18 in. (38-45 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Seed is poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:



Pale Yellow

Light Blue

Dark Blue

Medium Blue



Medium Purple

Dark Purple/Black

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Scarify seed before sowing

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Adana, Adana(2 reports)

Sitka, Alaska

Chowchilla, California

Los Angeles, California(2 reports)

Merced, California

Colorado Springs, Colorado(2 reports)

Denver, Colorado

Parker, Colorado

Middletown, Delaware

Braselton, Georgia

Cordele, Georgia

Machesney Park, Illinois

Mackinaw, Illinois

Mount Prospect, Illinois

Springfield, Illinois

Macy, Indiana

Petersburg, Indiana

Dubuque, Iowa

Inwood, Iowa

Kalona, Iowa

Olathe, Kansas

Corbin, Kentucky

South Berwick, Maine

Feeding Hills, Massachusetts

Reading, Massachusetts

Tyngsboro, Massachusetts

Ceresco, Michigan

Dearborn Heights, Michigan

Gladwin, Michigan

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Owosso, Michigan

Pinconning, Michigan

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Rosemount, Minnesota

Fort Benton, Montana

Wilsall, Montana

Auburn, New Hampshire

Durham, New Hampshire

Strafford, New Hampshire

Plainfield, New Jersey

Pompton Lakes, New Jersey

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Berkshire, New York

Elba, New York

Granville, New York

Monsey, New York

Mooers, New York

Southold, New York

Syracuse, New York

West Islip, New York

Garner, North Carolina

Belfield, North Dakota

Columbia Station, Ohio

Geneva, Ohio

Shelby, Ohio

Sidney, Ohio

Bend, Oregon

Hubbard, Oregon

Klamath Falls, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

Silverton, Oregon

Meshoppen, Pennsylvania

New Paris, Pennsylvania

Schwenksville, Pennsylvania

Rapid City, South Dakota

Kalama, Washington

Redmond, Washington

Rosalia, Washington

Seattle, Washington(2 reports)

Wilkeson, Washington

Bayfield, Wisconsin

Ellsworth, Wisconsin

Junction City, Wisconsin

Marinette, Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

New Berlin, Wisconsin

Pulaski, Wisconsin

Wittenberg, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On May 5, 2021, srila from MARKHAM,
Canada wrote:

Can I grow Lupins in containers? Can I keep it outside in winter and it comes back next year? I am in zone 6a in Canada.


On Mar 8, 2020, SeedsForMe from (Zone 8a) wrote:

Love lupines! Russel lupines are beautiful, hardy, and reliable. They are easily started from seed indoors with heat, humidity and light. They also self sow in the PNW zone 8. Not sure why/how folks are having so many problems keeping them alive in zones 6-9...?


On Mar 27, 2017, IndianaOhio from Bath, IN wrote:

If you live within the range of the endangered Karner Blue butterfly you should not plant hybrid lupines or non-native lupines of any kind. Stick with the true lupinus perennis for your aware and watch out for hybrids that call themselves that (it's hard to find the true lupinus perennis that's not a hybrid). If you're going to grow lupines in the Karner Blue's range then make them favorable for this little butterfly. People are planting milkweed for monarchs but these small butterflies need very little plant material since they're small. Raise awareness for others. 90% or more of the perennial lupine has been eliminated because of human "development". As far as I know, hybrid lupines will not support the butterfly's larvae.


On Mar 19, 2013, derbeh from Los Angeles, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

There are many micro-climates here in Los Angeles. I grew my first successful Russel variety in mid-Wilshire district, but lost it in the winter when the soil was constantly saturated with rain water. Now on the west side, I am growing some very robust seedlings out now - soil is very sandy and loamy, and the weather is Pacific Coast - very mild with lots of fog, humidity and cool temps, even in the heat of summer. I have to be careful during our Santa Ana wind events though. I will sometimes shade the plants on those days and sprinkle well with water.


On May 20, 2012, 1alh1 from Sidney, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

I never had luck with starter plants from garden centers. But soaking the seeds before planting outdoors has resulted in beautiful spikes in virtually color but yellow. Starting seeds indoors and transplanting was a waste of time. The taproot grows too quickly to safely move to a permanent location. Covering the crown with soil or letting it sit in water also results in death. So now I tag (noting the color) one spike from each healthy plant, cut down the remaining spikes after they've finished blooming, and collect the seeds from my tagged spikes. I bag the seeds and refrigerate them until fall or spring. Oftentimes, depending on weather conditions, I get a second, smaller flush of blooms from plants that the earwigs and slugs haven't decimated. When planting in the fall, I'll s... read more


On Feb 12, 2012, SilkKnoll from Tuskegee, AL (Zone 8a) wrote:

I notice that all of the successful plants that are discussed here are in climates cooler than zone 7.

I tried them several times -- both purchased plants and growing from seeds -- and, although I could get them started well enough in the spring, they did not survive the long, hot summers of the deep south.

A couple of comments are from people who suspected clay soil was the problem. Clay is common here, but my flower beds are full of composted organic matter and sand that break up the clay soil, and the bottom of the beds are angled for drainage. I've even tried them in terraced beds that are french-drained, So drainage and clay are not the problem.

I don't recommend anyone try this in climates warmer than zone 6.

One poster from... read more


On Jan 18, 2012, TweezersClorine from Limerick,
Canada wrote:

Russell Lupins are easy to grow and are subject to mildew after they go to seed. So, I wait until the seed pods are full and ripe cut the stems way back and let them grow up again. About 2 weeks later, I harvest the seed, refrigerate them and start them in cell packs the next February..


On Nov 5, 2009, lehua_mc from Portland, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

I grew mine from seed, started in spring, and by mid summer I had lush, flowering plants that drew immediate comment from my garden visitors. They then went to seed, fell victim to powdery mildew, went limp and looked like hell for the rest of the season. Pull them ruthlessly? Oh not yet. Not quite yet.


On Sep 24, 2009, Ian01 from Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil wrote:

Nicked seeds germinate in just two days (but young seedlings are susceptible to Dumping-off).


On Aug 24, 2009, Sitkagardener from Sitka, AK wrote:

These grew amazingly well here in Sitka, A cool summer temperate rainforest. I soaked the seeds over night and have had quite a show, flowering about 70 days after sowing. It has been dry this year compared to average but they got some water nearly ever day.


On May 9, 2009, trioadastra from Woodbury, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

I've had seed grown lupines for several years now, and have yet to see even a hint of invasiveness. They seem to to best in areas with cooler summers. Mine have even survived clay soil in part shade, although the ones in clay soil on a hillside do better. They germinate in about 2 days if you nick and soak the seed. Very easy to grow.


On Mar 23, 2009, art_n_garden from Colorado Springs, CO (Zone 6a) wrote:

I love lupines, but as others I have had a near impossible time getting them to grow. I started seed, I bought plants large and small...all of them croaked.

The only thing I found to work is to plant a healthy specimen in the fall, let it go dormant over winter and in the spring it will come back with a vengance. I now have a good set growing in part shade in horrible, clay dirt.


On Oct 25, 2008, eliasastro from Athens,
Greece (Zone 10a) wrote:

All my attempts failed (seeds, roots).
I think my climate is too hot for it.


On Jul 8, 2008, crockny from Kerhonkson, NY (Zone 5a) wrote:

Love the blue ones -- I did not do well with my first lupines but have several now ... they need to be very well drained, perhaps planted on a hillside or hill up the soil where you plant them ... same for delphiniums ... I also have both in part shade which helps in August heat and lack of rain ...


On Jun 28, 2007, dicentra63 from West Valley City, UT (Zone 6b) wrote:

I planted one mature-looking specimen and the thing perished. Might be the clay soil.


On Mar 23, 2006, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

Also Lupine densiflorus. My information says hardy in zones 4-8. Soaking seeds aids germination.


On Jul 8, 2005, daryl from vernon, BC (Zone 6a) wrote:

Have three varieties of 'Russell' all do extremly well in direct sun and in very hot summer conditions,Do not let them go to seed!


On Jun 27, 2005, mattpalucci wrote:

I 'brought back' some seeds of Lupine from Bailey Island, Maine from last summers vacation and planted them in Middletown, Delaware. The soil conditions are somewhat sandy, although with good humus mixed in and in full sun for most of the afternoon. (The seeds I planted in shaded conditons grew into plants but with much less flowers.)
The blue-flowered Maine lupine rewarded my efforts with a show of magnificence.
This is the best souvenir I could possibly want from Maine.


On May 21, 2005, sanity101 from Dublin, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:

Several attempts at growing this plant in a part shade location failed. Some of the seedlings came back the second year, but none flowered. All were gone by year three. Clay soil may be the culprit. It seems there's a reason that plant stores around here don't carry potted starts.


On May 24, 2004, kooger from Oostburg, WI (Zone 5b) wrote:

My lupin is called 'Russell Red' but is more hot pink than red. When it blooms, it is absolutely breathtaking. Last year it did not bloom, unsure if it's a biennial or was hit by neighboring farmer's weed spray. I've allowed a few seedlings to grow to see what color they will be, it is noted as not true to parent in some sources. Seedlings should bloom next year.

2005 update - the seedlings bloomed this year and are identical in color to the parent.


On Jun 17, 2001, CARRIGAN from Milford, CT (Zone 6a) wrote:

Blooms during May and June. Dense spikes of pealike flowers rise above the foliage for a month or more. A wide color range including solids and bicolors, white, cream, pink, red, blue, yellow, orange, and purple. Foliage forms clumps of green silky-haired leaves that can be up to a foot across and are rounded in outline but cut into many fingerlike lobes. Full sun is best but tolerates some shade. Likes humus-rich, acid, well-drained soil and plentiful moisture. Taproots resent disturbance. Mulch to keep soil cool. Deadhead spent spikes to ensure strong plants and promote a possible second bloom. Short-lived perennial. Stem cuttings can be taken in the fall and overwintered in a cold frame.

Sow seeds thinly 1/4" deep in cold frame or shady border in early summer in rows 6" ... read more