When to plant lupin seeds - experts reveal the perfect time to add these hardy perennials to your garden

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Lupins in a garden
(Image credit: Future PLC / Polly Eltes)

Lupins are a welcome addition to any spring or summer garden with their floral spires and their bright and bold colour variations. But to successfully add these stunning blooms to your outside space on a budget, you need to know when to plant lupin seeds. 

Every green-fingered gardener should know how to deadhead lupins and how to propagate lupins, but for those new to the lupin world growing lupins from seed can be tricky, that is why it's important to know when to plant lupin seeds to get you off to a good start. 

The first thing you'll encounter when growing Lupins from seed is that they do not come true to type from seed. So be prepared for a mix of colours to pop up from the lupins that you are growing from seed. 

Choose the right time, and you’ll be able to bring all of your garden ideas to life. But choose the wrong time, and you won’t be able to take advantage of these hardy and herbaceous perennials. 

That’s why we’ve reached out to garden experts to help you determine that sweet spot and understand the perfect timeframe to plant lupin seeds in your garden - no matter whether you choose to plant in containers or straight into the ground. 

When to plant lupin seeds

Lupins are sun worshippers, which means they’ll thrive in south-facing garden ideas. As if that wasn’t enough, the window to plant lupin seeds is also very wide. Below, you’ll find everything you need to know about when to plant lupin seeds. 

Lupins in garden

(Image credit: Getty Images)

When to plant lupin seeds in containers

If you have limited outside space, you want to give them the perfect opportunity to germinate, or you’re looking to create the ultimate container garden idea, planting lupin seeds in containers would suit you best. 

Steve Chilton, garden expert at LeisureBench explains, ‘When planting lupin seeds in containers or trays, the best time to plant them is in early spring. This is because they prefer to flower around June time, so planting them in March/April is ideal.’

Don’t worry if you miss this slot, though. As these are hardy plants, Steve confirms that there’s flexibility when planting your lupin seeds. 

‘You can also plant them outside of this timeframe if you forget. Anywhere between March and August will do, or even earlier if the temperatures aren’t too extreme.’

If you accidentally miss the boat to plant lupin seeds when suggested, Steve even has a nifty trick to help speed up the growing process. 

‘Soak lupin seeds for around 24 hours before sowing them. Soaking will help them speed up the germination process, so might be beneficial if you’re planting them later than usual.’ 

Headshot of gardening expert Steve Chilton
Steve Chilton

Steve is a passionate and knowledgeable garden expert with several years of experience within the field and has developed strong expertise for all things nature and plants. Steve is a keen educator and loves to share this knowledge with others. He strives to simplify complex garden practices and encourage eco-friendly gardening.

When to plant lupin seeds in the ground

It’s generally suggested that lupin seeds grow better in the ground than they do in containers, as they prefer to grow in a large, open space that offers them high levels of light. 

By planting them in the ground, you’re more likely to see large blooms during the flowering period. But that’s not all. If you plant lupin seeds in the ground, you also have the added bonus of extending your planting window. 

Lupins in garden

(Image credit: Getty Images)

As well as being planted in the ground at the same time as planting them in containers, you can also wait to overwinter your lupins. 

‘Lupins are actually very hardy and can be planted in autumn to naturally overwinter, and they can survive any cold weather,’ explains Steve. 

Just remember that planting lupin seeds directly in the ground will require some extra work on your part - especially when it comes to protecting the seeds and seedlings from pests. Slugs are particularly fond of lupin seeds, but thankfully it’s fairly easy to get rid of slugs using a salt, sand border or egg shell border.

Steve says, ‘When planting lupin seeds, make sure to spread them around 30cm apart from one another and protect them from slugs. You can do this by adding mulch or using a natural deterrent such as egg shells, which have previously been proven to be an effective slug deterrent.’ 

Where to buy lupin seeds

You can buy lupin plants and lupin seeds at a number of online retailers. Here are a few we rate.


Can you just scatter lupin seeds?

Yes, you can scatter lupin seeds. This is the easiest way to add these bright and bold blooms to your garden, but it’s important to note that it’s not always the most successful. 

You may find that your seeds don’t have the chance to germinate due to the presence of slugs and other pests in your garden, and you may find the overall appearance of these flowers to be random and sporadic. 

Steve says, ‘If you're scattering the seeds, you should do this in winter time and let them grow from then onwards. Sowing the seeds instead of scattering will offer you more certainty in how the plants are going to grow, as you can control this a bit more.’

If you are looking for that meadow look you can instead try a wildflower mat like this one from Crocus for £11.99, which includes Lupin Blue.

How long do lupins take to grow from seed?

Lupins can take anywhere between 15 and 60 days to germinate, which is when they will establish themselves as a fully-fledged seedling. Generally, you’ll then see them start to bloom in June, but this all depends on when you planted the lupin seeds in the first place. 

Is it too late to plant lupin seeds?

If you’re looking to plant lupin seeds, you’ll be happy to know that there’s a fairly large window to plant them. If you’re planting them in containers, you can do so anytime between March and August. You can do the same if you’re planting them straight into the ground, and you can even plant them in autumn to overwinter if you really want to. 

Now you know when to plant lupin seeds, it’s time to start planning your spring and summer garden! 

Lauren Bradbury

Lauren Bradbury is a freelance writer and major homes enthusiast. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from the University of Chichester in 2016, before dipping her toe into the world of content writing. After years of agency work, writing everything from real-life stories to holiday round-ups, she decided to take the plunge and become a full-time freelancer in the online magazine world. Since then, she has become a regular contributor for Real Homes and Ideal Home, and become even more obsessed with everything interior and garden related. As a result, she’s in the process of transforming her old Victorian terraced house into an eclectic and modern home that hits visitors with personality as soon as they walk through the door.