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The lupine (Lupine) belongs to the legume family, as do lentils, beans and soybeans. It captures atmospheric nitrogen to diffuse part of it into the soil. It thus contributes to making the earth more fertile. It occurs naturally in many parts of the globe, including Europe.
There are annual varieties and varieties ofperennial lupine (Lupinus polyphyllus). The first category includes species with edible seeds. The most cultivated in France is that of the white lupine (Lupinus albus). The harvest reaches 25,000 tonnes per year. The seeds of perennial lupine (Lupinus polyphyllus) are not edible.
The lupine can reach a height varying from 30cm to 1.50m depending on the species. Its cut foliage, in rosettes, is decorative, and its flowers come in many colors: white, yellow, pink, red, purple, blue ... They can also be two-color in some varieties. We then cultivate lupine as flowering plant. It is suitable for beds, borders, slopes, or can be planted along a wall. Dwarf varieties settle in tubs, on a terrace or balcony.
It is recommended to plant the lupins in the fall or spring, favoring the creation of small tufts of 3-4 feet per m2. Well-ventilated soil without fertilizers is suitable for them. Perennial species divide in the fall by dividing the root ball of the plant. Each part is transplanted separately. At the first cold, we cut the stems. This action ensures a better recovery in the spring.
Maintenance is limited to removing faded flower stalks, so that the foot does not exhaust itself to produce seeds. Watering is only useful in case of drought. In case of hot weather (or prolonged dryness), do not hesitate to water your lupins generously in the evening to avoid evaporation during the day.
For perennial lupins, in the fall, cut the stems and yellowed leaves close to the ground. If the winters are very cold in your area, make a mulching of the foot with a good layer of dead leaves or straw, which you will remove at the beginning of the following spring.
Enemies and lupine diseases
Lupine is renowned for its great hardiness and resistance to diseases. It withstands negative temperatures up to -25 °. However, it remains susceptible to aphids and slugs at the start of growth. Also watch out for attack attackspowdery mildew.
Uses of lupins
Thelupine culture (Lupine) is used to make bouquets, it suffices to cut the flower stalk at the foot of the stem.
The lupine flower is in the form of multicolored cones. The plant produces it throughout the summer. Formed by erect and tight clusters 50 to 60 cm high, this plant adapts very well to beds and wild gardens. The flowering is generous and brings a lot of color and voluptuousness in the garden, especially in beds and borders.
On the side of edible varieties, the seed is cooked like chickpeas. Soak it before cooking. After 20 min in a pressure cooker, it is ready to be served as a hot or cold dish. We enhance its flavor with cumin, paprika or green anise.
Finally, lupine is also interesting as an improving plant which enriches the soil bynitrogen. Since it recovers nitrogen from the air, recycles it in the soil and limits the fertilizer inputs for the following crops; it's agreen manure. It also makes it possible to produce thelupinex, natural fertilizer and protective.