Shade Loving Native Plants of the
United States & Canada

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Lupinus L., Lupine
Lupinus polyphyllus   Bigleaf Lupine
Photo Credit: Banana patrol/Wikipedia
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Lupinus L.

Native Distribution Map


USDA Zones:  3 – 10

Shade tolerance: Part Shade

Moisture: Moist to Dry

Height:  2’ to 4’

Propagation:  Seed

There are 165 different species of lupines. Lupines are native to or naturalized in every region of the United States and Canada.  

Members of the pea family, lupines are annual flowers that bloom in early to mid-season.

Some of the broadest ranging species are Lupinus argenteus Silvery Lupine (West), Lupinus perennis Sundial Lupine(East) and Lupinus polyphyllus  Bigleaf lupine (cool climates both  East and West). 

Tall and stately, lupines come in a fantastic array of colors—blue, yellow, purple and pink.  Seeds often come with several colors in one package,  making them eye candy for lightly shaded areas.  You will find them in bloom mid to late spring until early summer, and perhaps a little longer if you are diligent about deadheading spent flowers.

Growth requirements:  While lupines will thrive in full sun, these beauties also will grow well in partial shade.   Because they have long tap roots, lupines prefer sandy soil over clay.   Lupines prefer cool roots and acidic soils.  This makes them perfect for dappled shade under oak trees.  Will grow in clay soils given enough time.

Benefits: Lupines attract both hummingbirds and butterflies.  Excellent cut flower.

WARNING: Lupine seeds are toxic if eaten in large quantities. 

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