Northwest Ohio is celebrating Blue Week, May 16 - 23, 2017. A symbol of the Oak Openings Region, the wild blue lupine is a native plant that can be found not only growing, but thriving in sandy soils including at the sand dunes in Oak Openings Metropark and Kitty Todd Nature Preserve - both in Lucas County. This brilliant blue flowering plant had been lost in this natural landscape in the 1980s as a result of mowing the prairie-type habitat, the use of broad spectrum weed control, and fire suppression. However, it has recently made a come-back in natural areas and gardeners are planting it in landscapes where site conditions are favored too.
Lupine likes a dry and sandy soil. It prefers open areas where it gets full sun, but it will also grow in part shade. It will grow in an open wooded area, but does take longer for it to become established. For this perennial plant to thrive, a good deal of sun is preferred.
Wild lupine begins to grow in the early spring and flowers in May. Blooms typically last for a few weeks. Flowers are usually blue, but can also be shades of pinks, purples and white. The flower spikes can stand up to 7" standing above the leaves. The flowers turn to peapod-like seed pods as the season progresses. The outer shell is fuzzy in appearance and is about 2" long. Each pod contains between 10 - 20 seeds.
In addition to its pure beauty that we enjoy, the karner blue butterfly (Lycaeides melissais) is reliant on lupine as the caterpillar will only feed on the lupine plant.