Transplanting lupines

We have been trying to grow lupines in our garden for a few years. When we planted some seeds directly on the ground they didn’t work well, but last year we finally managed to have a couple of lupines flowering and collected lots of seeds from them.  We want them to flourish in our garden so I sowed all of the seeds this year.

>>> Sowing Lupines in Japanese Tea Bags

As I wrote before, I sowed lupines using Japanese tea bags which are often sold at 100 yen (nearly US $1) stores. I thought it was a great idea to use Japanese tea bags for gardening, but I discovered that it was a bit inconvenient after I tried.

The seeds grew well in the Japanese tea bags, or maybe too well. No matter whether they are lupines or other flowers, the roots of the plants get entangled in the tea pack material and stick to it. Some of them are so vigorous that they even broke through the tea bags and grew roots on the outside…

Lupines are straight-rooted plants, which means that the roots tend to grow straight into the ground without branching. This is why they do not like to be transplanted.

If the roots are damaged when transplanting, they cannot establish their roots properly in the ground. Even if they manage to do it, they may not have flowers.

Therefore, it’s better not to transplant lupines or if you need to transplant them you should do it as little as possible.

That’s why I didn’t put the lupine sprouts into pots before planting them in the ground. When I grow some plants from seeds, I take 3 steps; sowing, potting the sprouts to grow seedlings, and then transplanting to the ground (or container). However, because lupines don’t like to be transplanted, I wanted to skip “potting” and immediately transplant the sprouts into the garden.

I have to be very careful not to damage the roots. So can I just plant them still in the tea bags? 

I’ve thought about that, but I decided not to do so. There are two reasons why I don’t want to plant the tea bags together;

  1. The fabric of the tea bags may interfere with the future growth of the lupines.
  2. It would take a long time for the tea bags to decompose in the soil.

So I had to do a surgical procedure.

I separated the lupines from tea bags, one by one, using well-cut scissors to avoid damaging their roots.

After a big operation, I collected the graft like this.

In order to avoid damaging their roots, I left little pieces of tea bag’s fabric with them. I don’t think it will be a major issue.

Finally I successfully finished transplanting the lupines. I hope they will bloom this summer.


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