How to Grow Romneya Plants

Guide to Growing Matilija Poppy and Tree Poppy

Romneya species are half hardy perennials that range from 90 cm to 1.8 m in height.

They have a woody nature, and bloom with flowers reminiscent of poppies in the summer and early autumn.

Some of the common names for Romneya include Matilija poppy and California Tree poppy.

Romneya coulteri
Romneya coulteri by scott.zona.

Romneya Growing and Care Guide

  • Common Names: Matilija poppy (Coulter's; Bristly), Tree poppy, Fried egg plant.
  • Life Cycle: Half-hardy perennial.
  • Height: 36 to 96 inches (90—240 cm).
  • Native: Northern and central America.
  • Growing Region: Zones 7 to 10.
  • Flowers: Summer through early autumn.
  • Flower Details: Poppy-like. Large. White with yellow centers.
  • Foliage: Subshrub. Silvery green. Deeply cut. Hairy margins.
  • Sow Outside: 1/4 inch (6 mm) Spring - after the last frost.
  • Sow Inside: Germination time: one month. Temperature: 60°F (15°C). Use peat pots. Mix seeds in a moist growing medium, place in a freezer bag, then stratify for a couple of days by refrigeration. Seven or eight weeks in advance. Transplant outdoors following the last frost. Spacing 24 inches (60 cm) for smaller species, up to six feet (180 cm) for larger plants.
  • Requirements and care: Full sunlight. Good drainage. Average soil. Light watering during prolonged dry spells. Drought tolerant. Propagate: by planting 2.5 inch (6 cm) root suckers.
  • Family: Papaveraceae
  • Closely Related Species: Poppies and Lamprocapnos.
  • Miscellaneous: This genus is named after the celebrated Irish astronomer John Thomas Romney Robinson. May become invasive, if so prune the roots to prevent spreading. Often found in burnt out areas following a forest fire. Romneya coulteri has the largest flowers of any native Californian plant.

How to Grow Matilija Poppy and OtherRomneya Species

Matilija poppy and other Romneya plants prefer to grow in warm climates. The poppy seeds should be sown at a depth of 6 mm following the last spring frost. They like to grow in sunny areas and likes an average dry soil.

If starting off indoors then sow seeds in peat pots about two months before the last spring frost is expected. They should take about a month to germinate at 12 to 15 degrees centigrade.
Once growing, transfer the poppies outdoors at a spacing of 60 to 90 cm (smaller species) to 1.5 M apart (larger varieties).

Caring for Romneya in the Garden

Once growing it takes a bit of work to look after Romneya plants. They are very easy to grow but difficult to control. It is necessary to prune at the roots to stop Romneya members from spreading. If you require more plants then propagate from the root suckers.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Romneya. You may also enjoy the following growing guides: How to grow Dicentra spectabili and Meconopsis grandis.