A rarely seen plant from Asia, Thermopsis Chinensis will enliven proceedings in spring and into early summer when it throws up racemes of bright yellow lupin-like flowers over mid to grey-green three-fingered foliage. We particularly like the charcoal grey colour of the stems. Something just that little bit different. Sun or semi-shade. Any reasonable soil. 18-24 in. 2 litre pot.


Thermopsis are native to North America and Asia and are legumes, hence the pea-like flowers. They are also known, particularly in America, as golden banner or false lupin (we can see why in both cases), and indeed the genus name does in fact mean lupin-like. Thermopsis Chinensis is of course native to China, but all species enjoy a native habitat of grassy slopes, light woodland and stream banks. In the garden they are pretty tolerant of where they are planted, but will enjoy sun or light shade and most soils, provided they are not too wet.

This video (Russian, but don’t worry, there is no spoken audio) has some nice views of Thermopsis Lanceolata, which is a similar plant to T. Chinensis. In fact we used to grow that one.

Thermopsis Chinensis is a hardy perennial plant with grey green leaves and yellow lupin like flowers in spring and early summer suitable for sun or semi-shade.

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