How to Grow Meconopsis Plants

Guide to Growing Himalayan Blue Poppy, Welsh Poppy

The Meconopsis genus contains short lived hardy perennials that reach a height of 30 cm to 1.5 m.

They carry poppy like flowers that can bloom in spring, summer or the start of autumn (species dependent).

Many Meconopsis species are known for their blue poppy like flowers but they can also carry flowers of many other colors including white, orange, pink and yellow.

Some of the common names for Meconopsis include Welsh poppy, Asiatic poppy, Blue Poppy and Harebell poppy.

Be sure to check out my plant specific Meconopsis grandis growing guide.

Photographs of Meconopsis lingholm, M. cambrica, and M. grandis

Meconopsis cambrica
Meconopsis cambrica - Welsh poppies by Wallygrom.

Meconopsis grandis
Meconopsis grandis by titanium22.

Meconopsis lingholm
Meconopsis lingholm (blue poppy plants) by brewbooks.

Meconopsis Plant Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Poppy: Welsh; Blue; Himalayan; Asiatic; Harebell. Himalayan Blue Poppy.
Scientific names: Meconopsis lingholm, M. betonicifolia, M. cambrica, M. grandis, M. sheldonii.
Life Cycle: Hardy perennial.
Height: 12 to 60 inches (30 to 150 cm).
Native: Europe. Asia.
Growing Region: Zones 6 to 9.

Flowers: Species dependent: Spring and/or summer and/or autumn.
Flower Details: Blue, white, red, pink, yellow, orange, purple. Poppy-like. Single.
Foliage: Decideous. Lanceolate.

Sow Outside: Surface. Start of spring - before the last frost, or towards the end of autumn. Spacing 12 to 36 inches (30 to 90 cm). Himalayan poppies will require fresh seed.
Sow Inside: Germination time: two weeks to one month. Seeds should be sown in vermiculite and watered from below. Temperature: 55 to 65°F (13 to 18°C). Six or seven weeks before expected last frost. Transplant outdoors following the last frost.

Requirements and care: Full sunlight (cool areas only); full or partial shade. Acidic soil. Add grit to heavy soils. Nutrient-rich soil, add manure, leaf matter or compost if necessary. Moist soil. Supply mulch of manure of bark chippings when planting to help maintain moisture; do not cover the crowns. Regular watering during dry periods in summer to keep the soil moist. No need to water in the winter as the plant prefers a dry soil whilst resting. Cut back to the ground in autumn. Replace regularly as Meconopsis do not live for long time. Propagate: by dividing at the start of spring.
Miscellaneous: The Blue poppy is the national flower of Bhutan. Welsh poppies can be invasive.

How to Grow Blue poppy from meconopsis seeds

The seeds of the meconopsis blue poppy should be sown on the surface; this can wither be done just before the last frost of spring or towards the end of autumn.

Blue poppies prefer to grow in a shady or partially shady part of the gardens but can tolerate sunny areas in milder climates.

They like a rich acidic soil, ideally the soil should be kept moist in the summer, but allowed to dry in the winter.

When starting Blue poppy off indoors do so about two months in advance. The meconopsis seeds should be sown in vermiculite.

It should take about two to four weeks for blue poppy to germinate at 12 to 18 degrees Celsius (54 to 64°F). Once growing the seedlings should be watered from beneath.

Once ready, transplant the young Meconopsis plants at a spacing of 30 cm (12 inches; small), to 75 to 90 cm (30 to 36 inches; large) apart. This should be done following the last frost of spring.

Caring for Meconopsis Plants, Such as the Blue Poppy and Welsh Poppy in the Garden

When growing Meconopsis blue poppy plants in the garden it is very important to keep the soil moist in the summer.

Once the growing period has finished, cut back Meconopsis plant to ground level (autumn). If you require more plants then they can be propagated by division at the start of spring.

I hope that you found this guide on how to grow Meconopsis plants in your garden. You may also enjoy my gardening guides on how to grow poppies, Mexican poppy plant, and Macleaya plants.