When to deadhead lupins – best time to do it to ‘prolong the display’ in your garden

Vicky McClure asks how protect her lupins from slugs

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Lupins produce bold, pea-like flowers in early summer, offering a bright display of pink and red, to yellow and white petals. While this cottage-garden plant requires little in the way of ongoing care, deadheading is essential to maintain the striking appearance lupins are best known for. Here’s the best time to do it to keep lupin plants in your garden looking good all summer.

When to deadhead lupins

Lupin flowers reach the peak of their flowering season from May to June.

After this point, the bold, pollen-rich flowers will soon begin to fade away.

According to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), this is the best time to deadhead lupin plants.

Removing spent blooms will not only eliminate unsightly, wilted flowers, but will also leave plenty of room for new growth.

For the best results, deadhead your lupin plants as soon as you notice the blooms fading away in order to prolong your early summer display.

Deadheading is easy to do and requires no tools, though you should always wear gloves while handling them as “all parts of lupins are poisonous” according to the RHS.

Simply pluck away faded growth with your index finger and thumb to revive a tired plant.

Do lupins need to be pruned?

Pruning is essential to keep lupin flowers thriving, but it’s not the only thing you can to improve the appearance of this summer bloom.

The RHS said: “No real pruning is necessary, although deadheading will prolong the display, and you may wish to trim back faded foliage.”

Tidying up the foliage is a simple task but the way you do it should differ depending on the type of lupins you’re growing.

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Border lupins

The striking flowers, foliage and impressive height of lupins make them ideal for planting in borders.

To keep your displays looking their best, combine deadheading with some basic trimming.

Once the flowers begin to fade, cut back the spent flower spikes to the base to secure a fresh flush of blooms.

Later in the year, you can also trim the leaves from border lupins when they die down.

This is usually after the first frosts in autumn or winter.

Tree lupins

Most lupins are grown as border annuals and perennials, but you can also grow “shrubby” tree lupins too.

These tall plants can be cut back in addition to deadheading to maintain a neat appearance.

According to the RHS, the best way to do this is to cut off the seed heads to prevent self-seeding and keep a compact shape.

If you want to make the most of your lupins before they finish flowering, cut some fresh stems to enjoy indoors as well as in the garden.

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