Pictured above: Skyblue lupine (Lupinus diffusus) by Mary Keim. Click on terms for botanical definitions. View post as a PDF.
Skyblue lupine is a lovely herbaceous perennial that occurs primarily in scrubby habitats. Its flowers are born on dense spikes. They have a broad upper petal and two lower petals that are fused. Flowers are bluish to lavender, with a white spot on the upper petal. Leaves are elliptical to lanceolate, alternately arranged, and covered in many fine, silvery white hairs, giving them a metallic look. They are soft to the touch. Fruits are elongated, flattened pods that are also covered in fine, silvery white hairs.
Skyblue lupine flowers in spring. It occurs naturally in sand and oak scrub, sandhills, pine flatwoods and coastal strands.
Family: Fabaceae (Pea family)
Native range: Peninsula (except Miami-Dade and Monroe counties) and western Panhandle
To see where natural populations of skyblue lupine have been vouchered, visit florida.plantatlas.usf.edu.
Soil: Well-drained, sandy soil
Exposure: Full sun
Growth habit: 2–3’ tall and equally wide
Propagation: Division, seed
Garden tips: Skyblue lupine is not easy to propagate. Seeds can be collected and sown in late spring or early summer, but they must be sown where the plant will live as they do not transplant well. Plants have a taproot so deep soil is required.