Alphabetical Plant Listing

Thermopsis villosa (Carolina Lupine)

Carolina Bushpea, Aaron's Rod, Bush Pea, Carolina Lupin, Carolina Lupine, Thermopsis caroliniana


Thermopsis villosa (Carolina Lupine) is an upright, clump-forming perennial boasting dense, terminal racemes, up to 12 in. long (30 cm), of lemon-yellow, lupine-like flowers in late spring to early summer. The striking floral spikes rise above the thick foliage of bright green, trifoliate leaves. The blossoms are followed by flat oblong hairy pods. Flowers and seeds attract pollinating insects and birds. Carolina Lupine is native only to forest openings in the Appalachians, but it is adaptable to rich garden soils throughout the eastern United States. Heat and drought, Carolina Lupine is a good choice for the wildlife garden, cottage garden or prairies and meadows. It provides materials for cut-flower bouquets too!

  • Recipient of the GreatPlants award of the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum.
  • Grows up to 3-5 ft. tall (90-150 cm) and 2-3 ft. wide (60-90 cm).
  • Thrives in full sun in rich, moist, well-drained soils. Drought and dry soil tolerant.
  • An excellent choice for beds and borders, wildflower gardens, cottage gardens, prairies and meadows.
  • Carolina Lupine has a long taproot that makes it resistant to transplanting. Site your plant carefully to avoid moving it later.
  • No serious pest or disease issues.
  • Propagate by seed or root division. Seeds can be sown outdoors upon collection or stored, treated and sown later. Mature plants may be divided in the fall but new divisions recover slowly.
  • Native to the southeastern United States.

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Requirements

Hardiness 4 – 8
Heat Zones 1 – 9
Plant Type Perennials
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Late)
Summer (Early)
Height 3' – 5' (90cm – 150cm)
Spread 2' – 3' (60cm – 90cm)
Spacing 24" – 36" (60cm – 90cm)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Cut Flowers, Plant of Merit, Showy
Native Plants United States, Northeast, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Southeast, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia
Tolerance Drought, Dry Soil
Attracts Birds
Garden Uses Beds and Borders
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow

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Images: JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University, Missouri Botanical Garden

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.


Requirements

Hardiness 4 – 8
Heat Zones 1 – 9
Plant Type Perennials
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Late)
Summer (Early)
Height 3' – 5' (90cm – 150cm)
Spread 2' – 3' (60cm – 90cm)
Spacing 24" – 36" (60cm – 90cm)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Cut Flowers, Plant of Merit, Showy
Native Plants United States, Northeast, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Southeast, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia
Tolerance Drought, Dry Soil
Attracts Birds
Garden Uses Beds and Borders
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow

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