Why Are My Lupines Drooping? [How To Revive Lupines]

Lupines are stunning flowering members of the pea family that come in several shades, such as purple, white, and pink. Though these plants aren’t necessarily the hardest to grow, they tend to be sensitive, and chances are you will notice them drooping occasionally. When that happens, it helps to know what might be behind it so you can work out a solution.

Your lupines are likely drooping due to over watering, pests, or disease. Unfortunately, these plants are highly susceptible to diseases, can easily get root rot if overwatered, and their soil has poor drainage. In addition, pests like aphids and blister beetles tend to target lupins.

In the rest of this article, I will discuss why lupines droop, how to revive them, the best way to care for these plants, and a few commonly asked questions about caring for them. So if you would like to learn more about how to combat drooping lupines, be sure to read on.

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The Most Common Reasons Lupines Droop

While lupins are considered relatively easy to grow, these fun perennials are susceptible to a number of diseases and pests. They’re also highly selective when it comes to growing conditions.

No wonder there’s such a long list of common reasons lupines droop:

  • Overwatering, A significant sign that your lupine has been overwatered is if the plant begins to droop. Overwatering can quickly occur if the plants are grown on poorly drained soil or receive more than their recommended amount of water.
  • Pests. Aphids are the primary pest attracted to lupins, and they quickly demolish these pretty plants if left to their own devices. Pests like aphids tend to lay their eggs underneath the plant’s leaves and can be spotted climbing along the plant’s flowers and stem.
  • Root rot. This is one of the most common diseases for lupines that have been overwatered or planted in an area with stagnant water. Root rot is generally caused by a plant’s roots sitting in pools of stagnant water for long periods.
  • Poor air circulation. These plants enjoy open areas with plenty of fresh air. When lupines are planted somewhere stuffy, it increases their risk of disease and stunts their growth. They do best in open weed-free garden beds, where they can grow unhindered by competition among themselves and other plants.
  • Lack of sunlight: Lupines also need about 6-10 hours of sunlight each day, so they will grow best when planted in full sun. While they can grow in partial shade, they are far less likely to flower as much as they would with adequate sunlight. That said, your lupines might do better in partial shade if you live in a warmer climate like Arizona or Southern Utah.
  • Poor draining soil: As I previously stated, lupines can quickly droop if they are overwatered, and this can easily occur if water is pooling in densely packed soil. This is why it’s essential to plant them in soil that drains well (i.e., soil with a 50/50 mix of loam compost and sand or another draining agent).
  • Overfertilization: Lupines prefer soil without too many nutrients, so it can be easy to over-fertilize them. The best method is to plant them in good soil and only add fertilizer with high nitrogen content in moderation.

As you can see, lupines can begin to droop for several reasons. However, overwatering, pest problems, and diseases are the most common causes. So if you notice your beautiful plants starting to wilt, start by finding out whether one of these culprits is behind it.

How To Revive Lupines

Now that you understand the most common reasons lupines become sad and droopy, it’s time to discuss possible fixes. Lupines are a stunning addition to any garden, so it’s important to know what to do when they are looking less than their best.

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There are several measures you can take to revive a droopy lupine:

  • Use fungicides on your lupines. Since these plants are prone to fungal diseases, it’s always a good idea to get a step ahead when it comes to fungicide application. Lupin anthracnose (the most common fungal disease affecting these plants) is rampant in the rainy season, so be particularly vigilant around that time of the year. Applying fungicides will also help reduce the spread of disease to the other lupine plants.
  • Avoid spraying the plant’s leaves and flowers with water. This can help prevent fungal diseases and root rot. It’s best to water these plants at their base; this gets water directly into the soil instead of all over the plant.
  • Stake them. If your lupines have started drooping, you can use a gardening stake to support them while they recover. This helps keep them off the ground and prevents premature rotting.
  • Add fertilizer. It’s important to note that too much fertilizer can harm these plants. A little, however, can help their growth. The best fertilizer to use is one that is high in potassium.
  • Use pesticides as needed. If you are trying to keep your garden organic, natural pesticides can help eradicate unwanted pests. For example, soapy water or essential oil mixture can be sprayed onto your plants to make bugs like aphids fall off. Planting basil and other plants with strong scents alongside your lupins can also deter aphids, and so can spraying the plants with a mixture of distilled water and tomato leaf. 
  • Make sure they are getting enough sun. As I previously stated, lupines need about 6-10 hours of sunlight each day to grow large and beautiful flowers. So it’s crucial that you position them in a spot in your garden that will receive full sun unless you live somewhere hot and dry.

Ultimately, reviving lupines will take a little time, but it can be done if the problem is caught quickly.

How Much Water Do Lupins Need?

It’s essential to talk about lupines’ watering needs. Though these plants love moist soil, they are susceptible to water building up and damaging their root systems. On the other hand, letting the soil dry too much can cause wilting. So, how much water do lupines actually need?

Lupins need about 1 inch (25mm) of water per week applied intermittently. Even though they enjoy moist soil, these plants will quickly get root rot if they get waterlogged.

So as you can see, lupines’ watering needs are relatively low maintenance. However, you may need less water if the soil is not draining as it should be. If a drainage issue persists, consider replanting your lupines for optimal health plants.

If you are overly worried about overwatering your lupines, I recommend setting up a watering schedule or placing your watering system on a timer. This will ensure that your plants only get the water they need.

If you are looking for a good hose timer, I recommend using Orbit’s Single-Outlet Hose Watering Timer (available on Amazon.com). This timer is great because it can easily be added to your watering system and has an easy-to-use dial. It also has a rain delay setting that will skip watering if it has recently rained to prevent overwatering.

How Often Do Lupines Need To Be Watered?

Next, I want to talk about the frequency at which these plants should be watered. I mentioned that they need to be watered intermittently, but that doesn’t specify the exact watering frequency. So, how often should you water these plants?

Lupins need to be watered every 3-4 days per week. The ideal watering frequency for your plants will depend on what gardening zone you live in. Dry zones will require frequent watering to ensure the soil stays moist, and lupins grown in wet climates need watering less often.

Why Are My Lupines Drooping?
Why Are My Lupines Drooping?

Generally, you shouldn’t have to water your lupines more unless you live somewhere that experiences extreme heat, like Nevada. If you live in such an area and notice your lupines’ soil frequently drying out, slightly increasing your watering frequency is okay. On the other hand, lupins growing in areas like South Florida and Hawaii may need watering less often than every three or four days.

In most cases, these plants don’t need to be watered daily because that can oversaturate them with moisture. The key is to use your best judgment to keep the soil moist without keeping the roots soaked. Balance is the key to happy lupines.


Ultimately lupines can start to droop for several reasons, the most prevalent being overwatering, pest infestations, and disease. As I previously stated, lupines are incredibly susceptible to root rot and therefore require well-draining soil.

The best way to prevent lupines from drooping is:

  • Plant in soil with good drainage.
  • Only water about 1 inch (25 mm) per week.
  • Ensure lupines get 6-10 hours of sun per day.
  • Don’t over-fertilize.
  • Protect from bugs like aphids.

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