Why Are My Lupins Drooping? (5 Reasons And How To Fix Them)

Lupins are wonderful plants to have in the garden as once established they regrow beautiful tall blooms every year in a range of stunning colours.

Sometimes however, even after years of performing well they can falter and droop.

So if you have asked the question “Why Are My Lupins Drooping?” then read on for answers and solutions.

1. Stress Due to Being Moved or Hot Weather
2. Overwatering Causing Phytophthora Root Rot
3. Underwatering
4. Pests – Aphids
5. Fungus – Mildew

Stress Due to Being Moved or Hot Weather

Lupins are quite fragile in nature and can easily become stressed by a change in conditions.

If you have recently moved a Lupin you may notice that the leaves and stems have wilted and curled.

This can be especially true when in flower as the plant is expending a lot of energy producing flowers and may go into shock if it’s roots are suddenly disturbed.

Another possible cause for stress in Lupins is very hot weather.

Lupins are used to fairly mild conditions, which is why they usually do well in the UK.

Recent changes to the climate however are causing prolonged heatwaves and plants that are unused to high temperatures may suffer.

Why Are My Lupins Drooping? (5 Reasons And How To Fix Them) - Curled Lupin Leaves

How to fix:

  • If you are thinking of moving your Lupin plant then try to do it in spring while the leaves are growing but before the flowers develop.
  • Move Lupins (or indeed any plant) on a cool day and as early in the morning as possible. This is the time the plant will have the maximum water stored and enable it to withstand the move better.
  • Try to take a large amount of soil with the root ball to help the plant maintain the plant soil microbiome and minimise transference stress.
  • Have your new hole ready and slosh a bit of water in the bottom – this minimises the time the Lupin is out of the ground and ensures that there will definitely water available for the roots.
  • After replanting, water in well and keep checking on it. I find Lupins need a bit extra water over the next couple of days to help them acclimatise and recover.
  • If the weather is very hot and dry, again keep an eye on your Lupin and it looks like it is suffering then water more regularly until it improves.
  • Consider erecting a screen to provide some shade.

Overwatering Causing Phytophthora Root Rot

Lupins fare best in a well draining soil and do not like to sit in water as this can cause Phytophthora Root Rot.

This is a fungus that can decompose the root system if allowed to take hold in water saturated soil.

Spores of fungus can be carried on the air as well as transferred by insects and invertebrate animals that move through the soil.

The Lupin will droop suddenly and can die if the situation is not rectified quickly.

How to fix:

  • Once Lupins are established in the ground they have quite a long middle tap root so can usually find their own water reasonably well. Only provide extra water for them if you have recently planted or moved them, or if the weather is very hot and dry and they look like they need it.
  • They do better in the ground than in pots so once purchased or grown on, plant them in their final position as soon as you can. Pots with poor drainage can increase the chances of becoming waterlogged.
  • If you have very heavy soil that is prone to water logging then work in some grit to improve drainage.
  • Lupins like a fairly sunny position. This will help dry the surrounding soil rather then deep shade which stays moist.
  • If your Lupin does droop suddenly and you believe Phytophthora Root Rot is the cause, act quickly and check the roots. If they are rotting then wash them with clean water, cut out the affected parts and replant in a different area. Dispose of infected material (not in the compost heap).

Why Are My Lupins Drooping? (5 Reasons And How To Fix Them) Purple Lupins


Like all plants Lupins do need some hydration to thrive and will not survive or perform well if they do not have enough water.

If a Lupin plant receives insufficient water the leaves will turn yellow/brown and dry, and the plant will droop.

As mentioned above Lupins prefer to be in the ground.

If you have one in a pot and the plant looks stunted and yellow, and perhaps the soil is coming away at the edges of the pot, then it likely does not have enough water.

How to fix:

  • If you have very poor and crumbly soil then add some compost to aid water retention and improve the nutrient value.
  • Plant Lupins in the ground rather than pots so they can extend their root system and find their own water.
  • If the weather is very warm and dry for extended periods of time then keep checking on your plants. Feel the soil and if it is very dry for the top 10cm then provide some additional water.

Why Are My Lupins Drooping? (5 Reasons And How To Fix Them) - Browned Lupin Leaves

Pests – Aphids

Unfortunately Lupins are very popular with aphids and can often become covered in them, along with ants who farm the aphids for their sugary excretions.

The aphids are quite large and feed on the sap that runs through the plant.

They then produce a sticky sweet liquid that can further damage the Lupin by sticking to the leaves and encouraging fungi and insects.

They will usually target a plant that is already suffering in some way.

Lupins that are affected can be eaten to the point that they droop and collapse.

How to fix:

  • If you see a plant that is becoming infested with aphids then you can remove them manually by knocking them off or squashing them, being careful not to damage the flower buds.
  • Once you have removed the majority you can spray the Lupin with a weak soap solution and use a cloth to rub in.
  • Some homemade sprays can also be made to include garlic juice which aphids do not like.
  • Keep the surrounding area clear of debris and decaying plant matter as this will improve the air circulation around the Lupin which promotes a healthy plant. Remember insects will target a plant that is already compromised.
  • Try to promote natural predators in the garden such as Ladybirds, spiders and wasps.

Fungus – Mildew

Often after the first flush of flowers, Lupins can become affected by mildew which looks like a white powdery substance on the leaves.

This is a fungus and can sit on the leaves when there is moisture in the air, or if plants are watered from a height allowing water to settle on the leaves.

It is common in a number of plants and can affect the vitality of plants if left untreated.

Why Are My Lupins Drooping? (5 Reasons And How To Fix Them) Lupin Leaf With Mildew

How to fix:

  • Prune the Lupin plant as it starts to produce seeds by cutting back the spent spires. This will promote new growth throughout the season and also will clear the crown and improve air circulation.
  • Clear the base of the plant of any debris to promote airflow.
  • Avoid using tap water to water Lupins, they much prefer rainwater.
  • Water at the base of the plant rather than from overhead in order to minimise water hitting the leaves.
  • A weak milk and water solution can be used to wipe away the mildew from the leaves.
  • In the autumn cut the Lupins fight back to ground level. This will promote healthy growth for the following year.

Final Thoughts

I really love the Lupins in our garden as they come up reliably every spring and look absolutely beautiful.

Sometimes however, they can look a little past their best as we move into the summer so I try everything I can to extend their flowering season for as long as possible.

Hopefully the information above will help you keep your Lupins happy and healthy for a wonderful display.

Why Are My Lupins Drooping? (5 Reasons And How To Fix Them) - Pink Lupins

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