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Why Are My Lupins Wilting And Dying?

Lupins are traditional garden plants that feature attractive, densely packed flower spikes that come in different vibrant colors. Known for its various uses, the plant requires proper care and maintenance to thrive. We have researched every relevant information that you need to know about lupins.

The main reason lupins wilt and die is root rot caused by overwatering. Diseases and infestation can also affect the plant which lead to the same result.

Lupins are a popular choice for garden plants due mainly to their attractive and colorful flowers. They are however susceptible to certain factors and conditions that result in wilting and death. This article will help you identify the early symptoms, causes and ways to save your plant.

A small plantation of Lupin flowers, Why Are My Lupins Wilting And Dying?

Lupins: An Overview

Lupins, also referred to as Lupine or Bluebonnet, are perennials that come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and flower colors. Their flower spikes are a cluster of individual pea-shaped buds with pronounced hues of various shades such as pink, red, blue, purple, and white.

The plant is widely cultivated because of its culinary, agricultural, and ornamental uses. It also serves as natural food for various pollinators such as bees and butterflies. Growing one can surely provide support for our pollinating insects.

There are two types of lupins - Border and Tree lupins. The former generally consists of vibrant flower colors with various shades and is a perennial that dies during winter but grows back in spring. A few varieties are annual plants that only last for a year.

Tree lupins are considered as evergreen shrubs that have deep green foliage and yellow flowers. It reaches a height of 2 meters, but it usually only grows up to 1.5 meters tall.

Why Are My Lupins Wilting And Dying?

Root Rot

Root rot refers to a critical condition that involves the root system and prevents it from supporting the entire plant. The main reason it occurs is due to overwatering, the roots literally drown and die. Densely packed soil and poor drainage also lead to root rot since water is retained for prolonged periods. Excessive moisture also creates soil conditions that encourage fungal infection and disease.

Wilting and yellowing leaves are usually the first sign of root rot. They initially appear as random spots along the surface and develop into brown, more pronounced discoloration. Eventually the leaves wither and fall off.

If an otherwise healthy plant stops growing, produces less or no flowers and exhibits thinning foliage, root rot is also the most probable cause.

Rooting root from a potted plant

If you haven't watered your plant in a while but the soil remains wet or damp, poor drainage will result in the above mentioned conditions.

To address the problem and prevent it from worsening, carefully remove the plant from the soil and inspect the root system to assess its condition. Take off the affected portions and replant your lupin in fresh, properly draining and nutrient rich soil.

To prevent root rot, water your plant as only as needed, a clear indicator of which is, the top inch and a half of your soil is dry.

Do not attempt to compensate the recovery of the plant by applying too much fertilizer. New root growth is sensitive to excess minerals, so fertilize sparingly.

Brown Spot Disease

A leaf with brown spot disease

Brown spot disease is a fungal infection in plants caused by excessive moisture and poor circulation. Overwatering may lead to the said conditions that proliferate the presence of parasites. Soil moisture, humid weather and constantly wet plant foliage attract fungi and can spread rapidly.

Sporulation, the fungal method of reproduction, cause the brown spots that form on the leaf surfaces, stems and pods. Eventually, they develop into blotches that infect the neighboring leaves that wilt and fall over time. If the disease remains unchecked, adjacent growths may be contaminated and the whole plant may die.

Isolate affected plants and prune the discolored leaves as soon as you notice the spots. Spraying a mild solution of baking soda provides a safe, traditional remedy.

To prevent fungal infestation, water the soil but not the flowers and foliage. Hydrate early in the morning so the moisture evaporates later in the day.


Anthracnose disease on the rose leaf

Anthracnose is another type of fungal disease that infect shoots and developing structures. Small black or brown spots appear on the leaves and cause them to curl and distort. Infected leaves fall prematurely, and in advanced cases, the plant may be totally defoliated. If detected early in its onset, cut off the infected leaves and either burn or bury them away from the plants.

The fungi produces large amounts of spores which spread by water splashing during rain or irrigation. If moist conditions prevail, adjoining plants may be contaminated and diseased. For emphasis, water the soil and not the flowers and foliage.

Copper-based fungicides are available to prevent infection of susceptible plants, and is best applied right before the rainy season.


Aphids, black fly (black bean aphids, blackfly) on leaves of a broad bean plant

Aphids are small insects that feed on plant sap and are among the most destructive pests of plants, trees and crops.

They cling to the stems and leaves and damage your lupins when they suck out the plant sap. Worse, they excrete honeydew which attract fungi and other pests.

The first sign and indication of aphid infestation is leaf curling, while severe cases cause poor production or total loss of flowers.

Spray off all plant parts to eliminate the aphids and follow up with neem oil treatment weekly until the infestation is controlled. Oils kill primarily by drowning and smothering the aphids so thorough application of the infested foliage as well as nearby plants is needed.


Spraying fungicide onto a leaf

Mildew is a fungus that affects a wide variety of plant species. It appears as light grey or white powdery spots usually found underneath leaves, flowers, and stems.

They basically thrive in warm and dry environments along with climates that have high levels of humidity. Lack of sunlight exposure and poor air circulation also cause mildew. Infections result to discoloration and wilting of leaves, slow growth, and bloom less plants. It spreads through water splashes.

In advanced cases, immediately prune the infected leaves, then disposed them properly. Spray a solution of baking soda or milk mixed with water on the remaining foliage affected with mildew.

General Care Tips For Lupins

Gorgeous blooming purple lupin flowers at the garden


Newly planted lupins are required to be watered regularly, particularly amidst dry spells. Once mature, established, and fully grown, they can withstand drought, unless exposed to intense summer heat.

If grown in a pot, water the plant often provided that you are using well-draining soil. Do not let your lupin sit in damp and soggy potting mix, however, they do not thrive well in completely parched soil. Ideally, water them every three to four days or once a week depending on the climate and moisture content of the mix.


Since lupin is a flowering plant, it requires ample sunlight exposure. In warmer regions, partial shade or filtered light is recommended, especially because full sun can scorch or burn the foliage.

In colder climates, place your lupin in areas where it can be exposed to natural light for a few hours a day.


Lupins generally need well-draining and slightly acidic to neutral soil. It does not do well in areas where the pH level is alkaline. Do not place them in loamy and clay ground because these types of soil are not that porous, meaning they do not drain properly.


Lupins are natural nitrogen-fixing plants, and can generally survive in soils with low nitrogen. They do not necessarily require organic materials since they prefer to be planted in soils with low nutrient contents.

An exception is when flowering is generally poor and slow. If this happens, invest in a potassium rich fertilizer with low nitrogen and phosphorus such as Vitax Q4 or Phostrogen.


Lupins originated in the Mediterranean, and as such, they prefer temperatures ranging between 68 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. While this is the case, most perennial species can withstand overwintering not below negative 4 degrees Fahrenheit.

Does Lupin Do Well In Pots?

A kitchen counter with kitchen utensils and a small stainless pot with lupin flowers

Lupins can be planted in pots, however, they do actually grow larger and healthier when directly placed in the ground. Some species such as dwarf or annual lupins are better suited in pots.

Container gardening is an option as long as the dimensions are large enough to accommodate a fully grown or mature plant, and the potting mix is porous and well-draining.

In Closing

A small plantation of Lupin flowers


Lupins are sensitive to overwatering because they may develop root decay and fungal diseases. With this being said, proper care and maintenance is essential to growth and development. We hope you have found this article insightful, and that it answered all your questions.

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