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The silver bush lupine grows into a rounded shrub growing 3-5 ft. tall with silky gray-green leaves. Blue to purple flowers grow on 8-12 in. long spikes from early to late spring. This highly adaptable California native lupine occurs across much of our state in grassland, foothill, valley and desert habitats where it is appreciated as part of the spring wildflower display. It has yet to become popular in residential gardens except by native plant enthusiasts. Its best performance occurs when planted in sunny locations on well drained soils and provided with periodic deep summer water. It grows well with other California native species in mixed shrub and wildflower plantings that endure summer heat, sun and extended periods of moisture stress.

Water Needs

The silver bush lupine is highly adapted to sunny garden locations on well drained soils and with low amounts of supplemental water. The chart shown below provides a recommended baseline guide to the monthly irrigation schedule and volume of supplemental water needed to maintain healthy growth throughout the average year. It should be noted there are several months indicated by an asterisk (*) when winter rains can provide sufficient moisture and irrigation is not needed. The high and low range of moisture indicates it can grow with varying amounts of water; more water in the spring will result in a longer flowering season.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Low Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 1

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
Inches per Month 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 0" to 2" 0" to 2"

Range of supplemental summer water: 7"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-10"

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, follow this link.

For information how to calculate your irrigation system’s schedule and precipitation rate, please follow this link.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Shrub, Native
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Upright, Mounding
Growth Rate: Fast
Height: 3 ft. - 5 ft.
Width: 4 ft. - 6 ft.
Water Needs: Low 1
Foliage Color: Pale green
Flower Color: Purple, Blue
Flower Season: Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil
Exposure Adaptations: Coastal salt air, All day sun
Function: Wildlife value, Flowering accent plant, Borders, Banks, Attracts butterflies


Tends to be short lived in most gardens (S). Dead head after blooms fade and lightly prune to clean up form. Do not cut into old wood, it will not regrow (3).



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