Collecting Seeds from a Maine Garden

Last summer I cut a few seedheads off the lupin plants in front of the island cottage in Maine. I collected the seeds and took them home with me.

Dorian Winslow harvesting lupin seeds in MaineA full-grown lupin plant

Lupin seeds have a hard shell so it’s important to soak them overnight in water before planting them, or nick the surface of the seed with a pocket knife.  Either method will allow the plant inside to break through the outer shell and will facilitate germination.

Soaking fresh lupin seeds overnight.

I propagated the seeds in our greenhouse early in the spring and planted four healthy seedlings outdoors in June.

Lupin Seedlings

I could have planted them outdoors earlier because lupin likes the cool weather.  Either way, I did not expect them to bloom this year and they didn’t.  I have marked them in the garden with a little plant label so I don’t accidentally pluck them out next spring thinking they are weeds.  If they survive they should bloom next June.

The cottage in Maine with lupin in bloom.

With open pollinated seeds like these there is no guarantee the offspring will look exactly like the parent plant. The genetic makeup of the seed is a cross between the parent plant and possibly another plant whose pollen was used to fertilize it.  We will have to wait and see.  That’s part of the fun.

Find more information about propagating lupin here.

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Dorian Winslow is the president of Womanswork, and is passionate about making the best products on the market for women who garden and work outdoors.

Horticulture publishes the free weekly e-newsletter, “Smart Gardening Tips,” and “The Curious Gardener,” a free monthly e-newsletter with more tips and articles by Dorian. Subscribe to our e-newsletters.

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About Dorian Winslow

Dorian Winslow, the president of Womanswork, is passionate about making the best products on the market for women who garden and work outdoors. She writes several "Curious Gardener" articles each month for Hortmag.com.

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