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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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