HOW TO GROW THE HIMALAYAN BLUE POPPY - Meconopsis betonicifolia - FROM SEED




The Himalayan Blue Poppy - Meconopsis betonicifolia is one of those plants that captures the imagination, but will usually let you down once you start trying to grow it yourself. The problem with the Himalayan Blue Poppy is that most people try and raise it under normal garden conditions making no allowances to adjust its local environment so that it mimics its native conditions.

The same is true when it come to growing it from seed. Originating from the lush, mountainous regions of south-eastern Tibet, this almost magical plant requires a cool, sheltered position in order to perform. However, the trick with this particular plant is to prepare its seed prior to sowing.

The best time of year to start propagation is from early Feb to the end of March, however many growers will prefer to start in the autumn. So long as you can provide cool bright conditions during germination and somewhere to grow on that isn't subject to extremes of temperature then it is actually possible to germinate Meconopsis seeds at any time of year.

Strange as it may seem, the seeds need to first be ‘sown’ onto damp kitchen (paper) towel. Use a good quality towel as it needs to be properly soaked first and then wrung out without destroying it before placing the seeds on it evenly. Carefully role up the damp towel and place it inside a plastic bag sealing the end, then put the whole thing into the salad compartment of a fridge for four weeks in order to break the seeds dormancy.

Image credit - http://www.srgc.org.uk/
After this cold treatment period, prepare a seed or plug tray using a good quality ericaceous seed compost. If this is unavailable make up your own seed compost mix using equal parts of horticultural grit/perlite: John Innes Seed compost: and Ericaceous compost. Once done, thoroughly water and allow to drain.

Remove the seed from the paper towel and gently press it into the surface of wet seed compost, but unlike most other seeds – do not cover with an additional layer of compost or grit. Meconopsis seed require light to initiate germination but do not place the tray in direct sun light as bright conditions are more than enough. Place the tray into a cool room with temperatures of no more than 18 degrees Celsius. Maintaining a level of constant dampness is very important and at no point should your growing medium dry out.

You may wish to cover your tray with a sheet of clear plastic to help maintain humidity but this must be removed at the first signs of germination to prevent the incidence of fungal rots. When it comes to watering, water the tray either from the base or by gently misting from the top, but remember; DON'T LET THE COMPOST DRY OUT!


Image credit - http://www.leadupthegardenpath.com/
Germination should occur between 2 and 4 weeks and as soon as the plants develop their second set of ‘true’ leavers they will be ready for transplanting - even though they may be no more than ½ inch across.

Holding the plants by a single leaf, gently tease the seedlings apart causing as little disturbance to the root system as possible. Plant the seedlings into individual pots containing a good quality ericaceous compost. You may wish to mix in some horticultural grit or perlite at this time to help improve the drainage.

Meconopsis plants are strong feeders and even at this stage they can begin feeding with a half dose of general liquid fertiliser. If conditions are suitable the young seedlings can now be transferred outside but make sure that they are protected from heavy rain, direct sunlight and slugs.

Once they get to about about 6 inches in height they can be planted outside into their permanent positions, but remember, throughout this entire growth period – DO NOT LET THEM DRY OUT!

The soil should be dug over deeply adding plenty of humus rich and ericaceous (lime-free) compost. As mentioned before, Meconopsis also have high nutrient requirements so it’s worth mixing in some well-rotted farm manure as well as periodically feeding with a dose of balanced fertilizer as the plant becomes established.

Try and avoid any competition from tree roots, and the area should be partially shaded – preferably from deciduous plants - so as to protect the plants from mid-day summer heat, but also allowing plenty of winter light.

For more information click onto:
Agapanthus
Agapanthus africanus
Agapanthus 'Headbourne Hybrids' seeds
All About Peonies
Allium giganteum
Allium giganteum
Aloe vera seeds
Aquilegia 'Chocolate Soldier'
Aquilegia 'Firecracker'seeds
Aristolochia chilensis
Bamboo
Baobab
Beaumontia grandiflora
Bomarea caldasii
Buy Allium giganteum Seed
Buy Agapanthus 'Headbourne Hybrid' seed
Buy Himalayan Blue Poppy - Meconopsis betonicifolia seed
Buy Giant Ornamental Onion Seed
Camellia japonica 'Black Lace'
Camellia japonica 'Desire'
Camellia japonica 'Mrs. Tingley'
Camellia 'Royalty'
Campsis radicans
CEROPEGIA AMPLIATA - The Bushman's Pipe
Clematis montana 'Grandiflora'
Clematis 'Nelly Moser'
Coleus
Do Black Tulips really exist?
Echiums
Fuchsia Cuttings
Fuchsia thalia
Gardenofeaden
Graebner's Abelia - Abelia graebneriana
Growing Geraniums from Seed
Hellebores
How to Compost
How to Grow Agapanthus
How to Grow Agapanthus from Seed
How to Grow Beaumontia grandiflora
How to Grow Bougainvillea?
How to Grow Broad Beans
How to Grow Camellias
How to Grow Campsis radicans
How to grow Cauliflower from Seed
How to grow Cyclamen from Seed
How to Grow Dahlias from Seed
How to Grow Gladioli
How to Grow Gladioli from Seed
How to Grow Hellebores from Seed
How to grow Heliconia rostrata
How to Grow Hollyhocks
How to Grow Hollyhocks from Seed
How to Grow Impatiens from Seed?
How to Grow Iris reticulata
How to Grow the Jade Vine
How to Grow Lavender from Seed
How to Grow Lobelia from Seed?
How to Grow Lobelia cardinalis 'Queen Victoria' from Seed
How to Grow Lychnis Coronaria from Seed
How to Grow Marigolds from Seed
How to Grow Mina lobata - the Spanish Flag
How to Grow Pansies from Seed
How to Grow Petunias from Seed
How to Grow Peanuts
How to Grow Protea
How to Grow Rosemary
How to Grow Rosemary from Seed
How to Grow Rudbekia
How to Grow the Sago Palm from Seed
How to Grow Salvia discolor
How to Grow the Sea Daffodil
How to Grow Schitzostylis
How to Grow Sweet Pea
How to Grow Sweet Peas from Seed
How to Grow Thunbergia mysorensis - The Indian Clock vine
How to Grow Trilliums
How to Grow Witch-hazel - Hamamelis
How to Plant Bamboo
How to Plant and Grow the Himalayan Poppy - Meconopsis betonicifolia
How to Propagate Bamboo?
How to Take Cuttings from Bamboo
How to Take Cuttings from Bougainvillea
Lobelia cardinalis 'Queen Victoria'
Lotus berthelotii
Magnolia x soulangeana
Mexican Orange Blossom  - Choisya ternata
Osmanthus yunnanensis
Rafflesia arnoldii
Salvia discolor
Salvia patens
Sophora microphylla 'Sun King'
Star Jasmine
Symplocarpus renifolius
Tetrapanax papyrifera 'Rex'
THE AFRICAN TULIP TREE - Spathodea campanulata
The Arum Lily - Zantedeschia aethiopica
The Blue Poppy
The Busy Lizzie
The Coco de Mer - Lodoicea maldivica
THE DOG TOOTHED VIOLET - Erythronium 'pagoda'
The Dragon Blood Tree 
The Dragon Lily
The Dragons Skull Seed Pod
THE FIREWHEEL TREE - Stenocarpus sinuatus
The Giant Amazon Water Lily
The Giant Horsetail - Equisetum giganteum
THE GOLDEN CHALICE VINE - Solandra maxima
The Jade Vine
The Japanese Anemone
THE HEAVEN LOTUS TREE - Gustavia superba
The Himalayan Blue Poppy - Meconopsis betonicifolia
The Maypop - Passiflora incarnata
THE MIMOSA TREE - Acacia dealbata
The Monkey Puzzle Tree - Araucaria araucana
THE ORANGE PEEL CLEMATIS - Clematis tangutica
The Oriental Poppy
The Peanut
The Pelican Flower - Aristolochia grandiflora
THE PIG FACE FRUIT - Solanum mammosum
The Pineapple Lily
The Persian Lily - Fritillaria persica
The Peony
The Red Jade vine - Mucuna benetii
The Sago Palm
The Secrets to Growing Bonsai
The Silver Birch - Betula pendula
The Snapdragon - Antirrhinum majus
The Titan Arum
The Turk's Cap Lily - Lilium martagon
The Windflower - Anemone blanda
The Witch-Hazel - Hamamelis species
Trachelospermum jasminoides
Verbena bonariensis
What is Bamboo?
What is Composting?
WINTER ACONITE - Eranthus hyemalis
THE WORLD'S UGLIEST FLOWER - Aristolochia cymbifera 'Domingos Martins'
What is a Rainbow Rose?
What is a Yucca?
When to Plant Lavender?
Why are my Camellia Flowers going Brown?
Why has my Lavender Died?
Why has my Lavender turned Woody?

4 comments:

melva said...

This poppy grows very well in Ketchikan, Alaska where it rains over 13ft./ yr. and temps rarely go over 65F. Is this condition a necessity. I am now in upstate NY and want to grow this poppy again. I have a nice creek going through my farm that has damp soil around it.

Clay Merrithew said...

I live on the east coast of Canada where winter time temperatures dip to -30C. I received a package of Meconopsis betonicifolia at Christmas. From the internet I learned that it was a "hard to start" perennial. As with other plants of this ilk, I put it outside for the winter on the east side of my house. Yesterday I checked and I have twenty or more seedlings in my pots. I have a half hectare property which has many of the attributes you claim are good for it. Acidic sandy soil, shade and an area near the ocean which receives plentiful rain. I will post in the fall to let you know how it all works.

Petra Mudie said...

Clay,

Did your seedling survive? I live in Halifax, E. canada and I planted my seeds indoors under a gro-lite. 20 germinated and produced first leaves, but most have now died...just 4 left!

Any suggestions as to how to do better?

Steve Leptick said...

I live in Vancouver Canada. After 6 years working to find a place in our garden that would allow the blue poppy to thrive, I finally got a single bloom last year. This year the plants came back strong. We have one plant already at three feet as of mid May, however, the first bloom came out snow white, no blue at all. I cannot find anything across the internet referring to this. Any feedback on what has happened would be appreciated.