Lupins are for spire lovers. Flowering early - from May to July - lupins, which come in every colour of the rainbow, bring height to the border before your delphiniums take over. In common with a number of other plants which form tall flower spikes (delphiniums, hollyhocks etc) lupins are relatively short-lived perennials, rarely living more than five years.
Plant young plants (ours are) as they form a better root structure than older ones. Lupins prefer neutral soils that have decent drainage and are not too rich. They love the sun, actively dislike shade and do well in windy spots and by the sea. They do not come true from seed so need replacing, but the show they put on for a few years can be sublime. Lupins flower from May onwards which makes them the perfect sequel to spring-flowering bulbs as they hide their dying foliage. And as the lupins fade in turn, they disappear under later flowering herbaceous plants such as delphiniums, hostas and peonies. Perfect herbaceous plants.