Thursday, June 12, 2014

My favorite plant this week: Lupinus chamissonis

My favorite plant this week, Lupinus chamissonis, also known as bush lupine and silver dune lupine, is the one that was in contention with last week's choice.  It's also a beautiful plant but its charms are more subtle than those of the brilliant blue Lisianthus.  I originally bought this plant in April 2013, only to have it shredded by a rampaging raccoon shortly after it went into the ground.  I acquired another in March of this year and placed it in my new backyard border.  So far, it hasn't been bothered by any raccoons and it has grown quickly, more than doubling in size since I planted it.




It's native to coastal California, although I can't say I've seen it in garden settings here.  Its evergreen silvery palmate foliage is attractive in its own right but, from April through June, it produces the lavender blue flowers characteristic of lupines.




It tolerates some drought but requires exceptionally good drainage.  It needs full sun and is said to be cold hardy to 20F (-6.7C).  Its seeds, leaves and stems are mildly toxic.  Projections of its size vary significantly but most commentators project growth to 3-5 feet (1-1.5 meters) tall with approximately the same width.  I hope mine remains on the smaller end of the spectrum and doesn't overgrow its current placement.  It's useful in blending blue, lavender, purple and white plants in a border.




As I love lupine, I'm happy to have this evergreen form in my garden.  It's my contribution to the weekly meme hosted by Loree of danger garden.  Please visit her to find her choice this week.  If you have a favorite plant you'd like to highlight, write a post about it and provide a link in the comments section of Loree's post.

14 comments:

  1. That's an elegant Lupin Kris, and I prefer this over the traditional ones used in cottage style gardens.

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    1. The traditional ones have deeper colors than this bush lupine produces - I wouldn't mind having a few of those too but they're not so reliable here.

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  2. Wow, what a gem of a lupine. Really love this beautiful plant. Wish I could grow that here.

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    1. No, in this case, that would indeed push zonal denial too far, Deanne.

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  3. I like regular lupine foliage...but I really live the fine, silvery texture of this one! Too bad it's not even close to bring hardy here. Because I would definitely give it a try.

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    1. *love, not live. Why do I not see these autocorrects before I hit publish?! :-)

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    2. The foliage was the main attraction in the purchase of this plant, Kim. Thanks for visiting!

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  4. That's a lovely plant, I can see why it's your choice this week. I love lupines.

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  5. I think I almost prefer this to last week's favourite, only almost! I will have to look for seeds as I know I'd never find it here and I think it would be perfect for my garden. Thank you Kris, you always show plants I would like to be able to buy.

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    1. No, I don't expect you can find this one in your area of the world, Christina. Perhaps it couldn't handle your winter cold anyway?

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  6. I don't think I've ever met a lupine I didn't love and this one is fabulous. 2012 and 2013 I was growing Lupinus arboreus picked up at a sale for just a couple dollars. It was looking pretty rough but managed to spring back and grew to look much like yours. In fact I think it may have been yours as I believe Lupinus arboreus is usually a yellow bloomer and mine bloomed that same lavender blue. Anyway my plant died last winter (12F ya know) so it is wonderful to see yours!

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    1. I don't think I've ever seen Lupinus arboreus but I looked it up. It's another California native - why don't these show up in local nurseries? (Maybe I need to look farther afield for my plant outlets.) I'd love to have a yellow-flowered shrub lupine.

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  7. Thanks for showing off one of our beautiful California native plants!

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