Ladyslippers from the wild?
6/1/03 Is it illegal to dig ladyslippers from the wild? or just frowned upon? Laura...A (perhaps excessively) scrupulous lover of native ladyslippers.
Greetings, Laura! Thanks for your question. I can only speak for Maine.....It is not, strictly speaking, illegal to dig LadySlippers from the wild. Unwise? Yes, because they're where they are because they like it there. They will not tolerate garden conditions...and it's very difficult to duplicate their preferred environment. Unfair? Yes, because when they're removed from the wild, the pleasure and benefit derived by others who might like to view them in their natural habitat is removed as well.
An alternative: purchase one from a wildflower nursery....or make an effort to pollinate several flowers in the wild then harvest the "seeds" for germinating and growing in woods near your home. I've attached an Adobe Acrobat file (.pdf) of an outstanding article that'll help you accomplish that.
5/25/03 Two quick questions—I've heard lupines need sweet as opposed to acid soil—is this true? And I have also read that they are legumes—is this true? Around here the road crews mow as soon as the flowers are gone so collecting mature seed is just about impossible. I have three plants struggling on my gravel mound south facing slope—one huge, one medium sized and one very tiny right on the driveway roadbed that of course is the one the aphids decided to attack. So out I went with my soap spray and daily check ups to keep those babies at bay. An ongoing battle I am determined to win! Thanks, Katherine.
Greetings, Katherine! Thanks for your question and comments.
Lupines, a legume, prefer slightly-acid-to-neutral soil (6.5 to 7), that's deep and well-drained, and full, nearly-all-day sun (a little shade late in the afternoon will keep flowers nicer looking longer). They usually like roadside conditions...where it's sandy, gravelly, and not a lot of food.
The small one in the driveway is probably stressed. Think of aphids as predators for a minute. Predators always seek out weak, injured, or stressed-out prey. I'd drive a stake next to it...and give it a short-shot of something granular like 5-10-10 (for foliage, flowers, and enhanced immune function) scratched in a couple of inches, then watered-in. That should give it the strength to fight off the bug bites. Don't feed after July 4th.
Oddly enough, the best looking lupine in our gardens is smack in the middle of a gravel parking and working area. Says something about their need for drainage and the Spartan life!More on Lupines.
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