Lupinus polyphyllus | Big-leaf Lupine ‘Willamette Valley’
Big-leaf Lupines, also known as Large-leaf Lupine, Big-leaved Lupine, Many-leaved Lupine, Western-Lupine, Washington Lupine, Garden Lupine, Marsh Lupine, or Blue-pod Lupine, is typically an extremely common, west coast native perennial flower, ranging from southern California up to British Columbia. Big-leaf Lupine, or Lupinus polyphyllus is the same Lupine species that Russell Lupines were made from. However, unlike most Lupinus polyphyllus, the seeds for sale on this page are different in appearance than all the others sub-species, as well as only being found in a small range.
There are a few Big-leaf Lupine sub-species listed out there, however after we were done growing these plants out, it was obvious they were unlike any Lupinus polyphyllus we’d ever seen, and they seem to match any known sub-species. This unknown, unique, Big-Leaf Lupine is distinguished from the other 200 species in North America by its hairless or sparsely hairy banner and keel, and has flower spikes that reach up to 5 ft in height, making it one the tallest western lupines. The flowers are more narrow as they bloom and have a tighter appearance towards the top, giving it a noticeably unique appearance. The flower petals are a reddish-purple on the outer tips and a beautiful yellow-green towards the middle. The leaves are large and bold and sometimes form a perfect circle with the leaflets.
Because this Lupine variety was so beautiful and unique we couldn’t bring ourselves to list it as “Lupinus polyphllus Big-leaf Lupine” and just leave it at that. Oh no, this was worthy of it’s own distinguishing name, so after a discussion with the original source of these seeds and some research on our own, we discovered that all references and photos of this particular plant (there weren’t many) originated in the Silver Falls/Marian County/Willamette Valley area, so we decided to name this Lupinus polyphyllus sub-species ‘Willamette Valley’ to honor it’s origins.
‘Willamette Valley’ Big Leaf Lupine commonly grows along streams and creeks, preferring moist habitats. Can be grown in full to partial sun. Bumblebees and hummingbirds are attracted to the towering flowers.
Like many pea-family plants, Large-leaf Lupine has a symbiotic relationship with specific soil bacteria. These bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant itself, but some can also be used by other plants that are growing nearby. When removing the plant at the end of the growing season, it is best to only remove the aerial parts of the plant, leaving the roots in the ground to decay and release their nitrogen.
Excellent for naturalizing. The seeds will self-sow and will grow true-to-type.
Its alkaloid content is a natural defense mechanism, so is not bothered by deer or rabbits, while hummingbirds love it.
Sun exposure: Full sun
Mature height: 3-5 ft
Mature width: 2 ft
Hardiness zones: 4-10