General gardening topics

Propagating Lupins by taking basal cuttings

Last updated on May 5th, 2022

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When you are growing Lupins, most people use seeds to propagate, but as an alternative method, you can successfully take basal cuttings as well. The advantage of using cuttings/division is that the resulting plant you achieve will be genetically identical to the parent plant from which you took the cutting and when you sow seeds this is not always the case.

It is also lots of fun and fairly easy to do, even if you have never done it before.

We have also covered how to take a basal cutting from Delphiniums in this guide here.

When is it best to take basal cuttings from Lupins?

You want to take the cuttings between March and April when the plant is producing new, suitable growth for the cuttings.

Where do to take the cutting?

Unlike stem cuttings, with basal cuttings, you want to go right to the base of your plant. Down to the point where the stem meets the crown and try and take a sliver of root too by pushing the knife down into the soil.

How to take the cuttings from your Lupin

Step 1

You want a clean, sharp knife that has been properly sanitised. The sharper the knife, the better because you’ll be able to make a single, swift cut at the base without causing any unnecessary damage.

When you make the cut you want to make the incision as close to the crown as possible. In doing so you want to search for stems that are newer, without damaging the original stems.

Step 2

After you have your cutting there might be too much plant material, and too many shoots coming out from the side, in which case you’ll have to carefully trim away any excess. The goal is to leave a single leaf or a single leaf group at the top of each cutting you take.

Step 3

Once you have the cuttings it’s time to propagate them by mixing about two parts horticultural grit to improve drainage with two parts seed and cutting compost. If you have multi-purpose compost you can use this but we recommend sieving it through a riddle first to get a finer mix.

Step 4

Fill the containers, ideally 9cm or 1 litre with the compost and grit mixture and set the cuttings around the edge of the container. It’s better to put them around the edge because they will dry out at a slower rate. If you are using, for example, a square container, you can take four cuttings, you can place all four of these in the four respective corners.

Step 5

Water the container and place them somewhere warm with indirect sunlight access. If you don’t put them somewhere warm and humid immediately they will start to wilt. You should spray them with water regularly so they don’t dry out, being careful not to overwater.

You can help cultivate humid conditions when it is otherwise cold in your home or your greenhouse by propping some sort of plastic cover over the cuttings but make sure they don’t come into contact with the plastic.

Wait until they are established and then transplant them into larger pots or plant them in their permanent home.

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