I am growing lupins from seed this year, and they are doing very nicely as seedlings. If I can keep the slugs and snails away I expect they’ll be fabulous. Explain to me then why I bought two good size lupin plants on Sunday at RHS Wisley? Anyhow, bought them I did, and very hearty looking plants they are too.

Lupins basal cuttings

Because I clearly don’t have enough lupins, my first thought was “how can I make more of these?”. I find this is often (always) the case now. Can’t help myself.

For lupins, the answer is usually seeds, very careful division or basal cuttings. I’m doing the first already, I don’t have mature plants to divide, carefully or not, so basal cuttings it is. The advantage of cuttings (or division) over seed is that the resulting plants will be genetically identical. March or April is a good time for it, the plant is throwing out nice new growth suitable for this method.

Unlike a stem cutting, as the name suggests, for a basal cutting you want to go in at the base of the plant where the stem meets the crown.

How to propagate lupins

A clean, sharp knife is essential kit. I am using a scalpel style craft knife but an ordinary garden knife works just as well so long as it is nice and sharp. And clean.

Basal cuttings lupins

I have tried to cut the stem as close to the crown as possible.

Propagating lupins by cuttings

I just took two stems from each plant, I don’t want to denude the originals.

When to take cuttings of lupins

There is too much plant material on each stem, it needs trimming back. Using the scalpel I carefully trimmed away the excess. In some cases the base of the trimmings looked robust enough to try them as cuttings in their own right. Nothing ventured! My aim was to leave a single leaf or leaf group at the top of the cuttings.

How to take cuttings of lupins

I am using a gritty compost mix, roughly 2 parts sieved multipurpose, 1 part sharp sand, 1 part grit. I set the cuttings up around the edges of the pot, using a bamboo cane to poke a suitable sized hole then firming in gently around the cutting.

Increasing lupins by cuttings

I have watered them and put them in the heated bench, somewhere warm and humid is good or they will quickly wilt. I’ll give them a spray with water every now and again to be sure they don’t dry out. If I can find one of a suitable size I may pop a polythene bag over them to keep the humidity levels up.

I was left with some spare pieces, the side stems. I decided to put these in the hydropod to see what happens.

That’s it. This same process works with delphiniums and campanula, amongst others. Give it a try!

I’ll be back in a while with an update, hopefully involving roots.