Further to my recent post about deadheading Lupins, here are a couple of photos to explain more clearly how to deadhead them "properly". They do say that a picture is worth a thousand words, so instead of me waffling on for a thousand words. here's how to do it:
Firstly, take your Lupin: here's a good example,
See that one in the middle?
The flowers have all gone, and instead there are lots of nice fat green seed pods.
PLEASE NOTE don't eat them! They are poisonous!
So it's time to deadhead it: mostly because those plump seed pods are going to go brown any day now, and they will spoil the appearance of the plant.
Also, if you bought your Lupins ("Hand over your Lupins!" "NO! STOPPIT! We are not doing Monty Python sketches again!") then you will have chosen the colour: and if you let them drop seed everywhere, you will get lots of small Lupins which will not be the same as the one you bought: open pollinated plants (ie pollinated naturally, outdoors, in your garden) don't come "true" from seed.
OK, sometimes you can get a lovely variety of mix and match plants that way, but unless you like the fruit-salad look, it's best to avoid too many seedlings.
How to dead-head? Take your secateurs (or scissors, if you are a non-gardener) ("Go out and buy some secateurs!!") and place them on the stem, below those nice fat seed pods. Slide them down until you meet the first batch of leaves on the stem.
Don't cut immediately below the seed pods - below:
If you cut here, you will end up with an annoying bit of bare stalk sticking up.
Instead, slide the secateurs a bit further down the stem.
Can you see in this photo - left - that I am holding the leaves in my (bare) hand? I'm doing this to keep them out of the way, so that you can see clearly what my Trainee is demonstrating, ie where not to cut.
So don't cut there - slide a bit further down the stem, and cut just above those new leaves which I am holding.
Here - right - is my Trainee about to snip off that same stem.
I have released the leaves which I was holding, and you can see that the secateurs are just above the place where the leaves join the stem.
By cutting here, you avoid having the bare stem sticking up above the leaves.
There you go, much less than a thousand words, hooray for the power of the photo!