Growing the Blue Himalayan Poppy

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    It took two years to grow the Blue Himalayan Poppy

    Blue Himalayan Poppies are best grown from divisions – small plants that are divided off the parent plant. Last year I was given two such divisions and I couldn’t wait to see them bloom. Sadly all they did in the first year was grow long hairy leaves and I was sure that I’d done something wrong. Fast forward a year and suddenly I notice a flower bud. A big one. I’m rarely this excited about a flower.

    Growing the Blue Himalayan Poppy
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    Growing the Blue Himalayan Poppy

    I’d nearly given up

    I’d nearly given up on Blue Poppies. They’re a notoriously difficult-to-grow plant that will only thrive in the most particular of situations. They’re especially treasured in botanical gardens and when the public are permitted in they are sometimes even stolen. To successfully grow them would be an accomplishment to be proud of.

    Growing the Blue Himalayan Poppy

    My plants were grown from divisions

    I started with two small pots of baby plants that were given to me last March. They were recent divisions and didn’t look that exciting at the time but that’s usually the case with plants. They shut down for the winter, pull in their leafy banners, and hide under the soil until spring arrives. Okay to be honest they looked like tatty dead old things and I wasn’t especially hopeful that they’d grow.

    Growing the Blue Himalayan Poppy

    Blue Poppies like partial shade and cold winters

    These flowers grow in conditions similar to their homeland: partial shady, cold winters, warm summers, and acidic soil. They like the same type of soil that azaleas and rhododendrons grow in so I planted them in this type of compost and then covered the soil with a light sprinkling of gravel.

    I find that spreading grit or gravel over the soil in pot plants helps stop weeds from growing and keeps the compost moister for longer. This is especially important for Blue Poppies since they love moist ground.

    Growing the Blue Himalayan Poppy

    These flowers are perennial so come back year after year

    The leaves on both plants grew well the first year but it seems that new plants might only bloom in their second. If that is the case I’ve not read it anywhere but wish I did last year while I was impatiently waiting for the party to start. In any case, Blue Himalayan Poppies are perennial so I should expect to have this plant, and hopefully its sister and babies, blooming for years.

    Growing the Blue Himalayan Poppy

    This variety can probably be grown from seed

    I’m not 100% sure that the variety that was given to me is Meconopsis ‘Lingholm’ but judging from photos online I’m fairly certain. This is a modern variety that is fertile – meaning that new plants can be grown from the seeds. Interestingly, it wasn’t always able to propagate this way and it seems that a sterile hybrid decided to grow another set of Chromosomes and have babies. Life always finds a way.

    Growing the Blue Himalayan Poppy

    Watching for seed heads

    One thing that is not clear to me is whether or not the seeds from this flower will be viable. There’s a second flower forming on the plant but the second plant I have is not nearly as far along as this one. It could be that I’ll need to rely on divisions to propagate more of these flowers. I’d like to try growing them from seed too but imagine it might take a couple of years to get seeds that will grow.

    Growing the Blue Himalayan Poppy

    Expanding the collection

    The wait and surprise blossom was worth it and I’m so pleased to have these beautiful blue flowers in my collection. I think the next step will be to plant them out in the garden and to create a larger group of them over time. Wouldn’t it be beautiful to see dozens of these poppies swaying in the spring breeze?

    Growing the Blue Himalayan Poppy

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  1. Hi! Did you ever transplant your poppies to the garden? I have 3 little plants I purchased from our wonderful Rhododendron Botanical garden here in the PNW and want to plant directly in the garden. Now, I’m wondering if I should put in pots first, transplanting next year or the year after? Lovely page, thank you!

    1. Hi Mary and yes, I did! They grew beautifully for some years but I left them in the garden when I moved.

  2. Lorraine Lee says:

    I have my first blue poppy. Nothing happening yet been in ground since june

  3. Lorraine Lee says:

    I have my first blue poppy. It’s got fuzzy leaves no buds.
    Planted in the ground in June nothin just fuzzy green leaves so far.

  4. My blue poppy, has many leaves but at this time of year looks like it’s been sat on. Something is munching on it, even tho I’ve pellets in too. How do I maintain this plant now at this time. I live in Belfast

    1. It’s likely that something is sitting on it — do you have a cat that likes to hang out in the border? Or a fox?

  5. I purchased the blue poppy from the Chelsea flower show on order, I waited 6 months for its delivery,
    planted it as suggested & waited….
    OMG it has 3 huge buds on it, now I’m not a gardener, but I am so excited awaiting the arrival of the blooms, I hope slugs don’t get to it first?

    1. How exciting! I’ve not noticed slugs giving mine much hassle. Might be worth laying some pelleted wool around the base of the plant though. It deters slugs and is completely natural.

  6. I’ve tried to grow blue poppies several times after I saw them at Buchart gardens in Canada. No luck from seeds or plants that I ordered, everything died. They are so magical, I can imagine how excited you were when you saw that bloom!

  7. The blue poppy is beautiful! I bet you were jumping up and down with joy! I know I would! :-D Looove the blue color!!♡

    1. I think my jaw dropped when I first spotted the flower bud! The original flower is still in blossom and I’ve moved it to just right by the door :)

  8. Tanya Walton says:

    A truly beautiful flower Tanya, I’m glad your hard work and patience has paid off.

    1. Me too! Now that I know I can do it I might just create a larger bed of them – wouldn’t that be a blue-tiful sight?

      1. dennis warrington says:

        I bought some blue seeds. They have just bloomed. What a shock they are red. Contacted the seller and they are sending some more

  9. I’ve never seen these before! Beautiful @

    1. It’s so much more stunning in real life…who knew that a flower could be that blue?