Alberta Native Plant Spotlight: Silvery Lupine (Lupinus argenteus)

Close up of silvery lupine (Lupinus argenteus) bloom in a native wildflower garden in southern Alberta

A gorgeous plant to consider adding to your native wildflower garden, the silvery lupine is easy to care for once it’s established. Although toxic if ingested by humans or animals (especially the seeds), this native lupine is an important food source for various insects and would make a fabulous addition to your yard!

Blooming silvery lupine (Lupinus argenteus) in a native wildflower garden in Southern Alberta in June.

Growth Habits

Silvery lupine can grow up to 30 inches tall and 24 inches wide when in ideal conditions. The plant prefers full sun and dry soil. It will spread quickly by seed to form colonies.

Only one of my six (?) silvery lupine plant plugs survived. To be fair, the folks at the native plant nursery were unsure whether they would make it, seeing as they were so tiny and fragile yet when I picked them up. Last year it was just a very small plant, but the growth has really exploded this year (two years after planting). I really hope this one will spread fast. Check out the gorgeous palm-like leaves!

A member of the pea family, silvery lupine is nitrogen fixing. In the most simplistic of explanations, this means that it basically is able to fertilize itself, which helps it to grow in poor soil that other plants cannot.

Blooming silvery lupine (Lupinus argenteus) in a native wildflower garden in Southern Alberta in June.


A lovely soft blue-purple, the blooms begin in June and continue into July. Notice how, in the photo below with better lighting, the flowers appear more purple.

Silvery Lupine (Lupinus argenteus) blooms in a native wildflower garden in southern Alberta in June 2024.

Plant With…

Silverly lupine is stunning next to grasses (in above photo, it’s next to Little Bluestem, wild strawberry, and sticky purple geranium). It also looks great when paired with yarrow.

The blossoms are followed by hairy legume pods with bean-like seeds; I’ll update this post with a photo once my plant has reached that stage.

Palm-like leaves of the native Silvery Lupine (Lupinus argenteus) growing in a native wildflower garden in Southern Alberta.

Insects and Wildlife

Bumblebees and other native bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds adore this plant.

In Conclusion

Unless you have a child or a pet that insists on taste testing all of your garden plants, I highly recommend utilizing silvery lupine in your native wildflower garden. It’s beautiful, highly valuable to native bees and other insects, and is adaptable to different growing conditions. Give it a try!

Happy Gardening!