Beefeater Lupin Plants
Lupinus, West Country RangePot Grown Herbaceous Perennials
- Colour: Bright red
- Flowering: Jun-July
- Foliage: Mid-green mounds of large, palmate leaves
- Height: 90m
- Spread: 65cm
'Beefeater' Lupin Plants, Westcountry Range. 2 Litre Pots
As upright and red as a Yeoman Warder in full state uniform, the richly coloured spires are touched with yellow-orange inside.
Beefeater is pink in the bud, especially in June, with radiant wine red flowers that deepen to almost purplish at the base of each mature flower stalk by July. If you get close to fully enjoy their earthy-peppery scent, you can see flecks of yellow on the inner parts warm orange-yellow glow on the inside. This is a great lupin because the flowers contrast so well with their own foliage, which is a reliably lush mound of glossy palmate leaves.
- Colour: Brilliant red
- Flowering: June - July
- Mounds of mid-green foliage
- Cutting: Yes
- Height: 90cm
- Spread: 65cm
- Position: Full sun or partial shade
- Soil: Moist but well-drained, acid to neutral
Wild lupin seeds were eaten in the past, but this is no longer possible with modern varieties, so please do not eat any part of them.
Growing Beefeater Lupins
Being of the pea family, lupins are nitrogen fixers and will perform well enough in poor soil, but for a good display they like plenty of organic matter and consistent moisture during the growing season. The ideal soil pH is neutral to mildly acidic, but as long as you aren't growing on a thin topsoil over shallow chalk they should be fine anywhere with fairly decent drainage: damp is fine, but their crowns tend to rot if waterlogged in winter. They are shade-tolerant and suitable for open, north-facing sites, although the flowers will be a bit less impressive.
Beefeater Lupins in Your Garden Design
Whether dotted singly around a nostalgic cottage garden, or in massed, formal ranks, modern lupins add plenty of oomph to the border, introducing height, bold colour, and earthy scents.
Did You Know?
Beefeater is the popular, unofficial, name for Yeoman of the Guard, Britain's oldest extant military division, dating back to 1485, and Yeoman Warders at the Tower of London, who only wear their scarlet uniforms on ceremonial occasions; you can tell them apart by the Guard's red-cross belt.
The Old English hlaf-æta, loaf-eater, meant servant, and Beefeater, a much newer word, is probably in comparison to that, indicating a high status servant. In one of its first recorded uses, however, beefeater was clearly taken as an insult: a guard in the 17th century play Juliana, Princess of Poland, after being addressed as such, replied "You'd have my Halbeard drop into your mouthes, would you Beef-eater, you saucy Cur?".
Lupins should be planted in a sunny or semi-shaded spot, preferably in moist but well-drained soil as they dislike anything that stays really wet in winter. Water regularly until well established, and water mature plants during dry periods to avoid mildew.
Aphids love lupins, and slugs and snails can do a lot of damage to young plants and new spring growth, so be ready to sluggo them on sight. You can rub off aphids by hand or spray them off with a jet of water, or bug spray them. It is best to entirely remove a badly affected flower stem as soon as you see it, rather than try to save it.
Aphids will dictate the best time to tidy your plants each year. If you have no problem with them, you can leave the leaves and stems for winter interest, and chop them back in early spring to make way for new growth. If aphids are causing problems, then chopping your plants down to the ground in September will also get rid of their eggs, depriving them of a running start next year.
Feed with a general-purpose fertiliser in spring, or some bonemeal or seaweed. Feed them occasionally during the growing season.
Remove faded flower stems as soon as they fade to encourage a new flush of flowers in early autumn. Staking is only necessary in very windy locations: do this in spring, before the flower spikes appear.
Propagation works best from basal cuttings; the seeds will vary from the parent.