Hardy annuals, biennials and short-lived herbaceous perennials loved for their open, brightly coloured, poppy-like flowers.
Family: Papaveraceae (poppy)
Botanical Name: Meconopsis (may-ko-nop-sis)
Common Names: Himalayan poppy, Welsh poppy.
Foliage: Deciduous, low growing, rosettes of narrow or divided, hairy leaves.
Flowers: Small to medium, brightly coloured, open poppy-like flowers.
Flowering Period: Late spring or summer.
Soil: Moist but well-drained, fertile soil (clay or loam). Acid or neutral pH.
Conditions: Partial shade. Plant in an east or west facing aspect, in a sheltered position.
Habit: Short, clump forming.
Type: Herbaceous perennial.
Origin: Asia and western Europe.
Hardiness: Most varieties are fully hardy in the UK.
Most species thrive in cool dappled shade, in a free draining moisture-retentive, lime-free soil. Enrich the soil with leaf mould or ericaceous compost before planting. Shelter from cold winds.
Provide shade and moisture in summer and protect from cold winter rain.
Divide clumps of perennials every few years to rejuvenate.
Remove old seed-heads and foliage in autumn.
Susceptible to attack by slugs and snails. Can be affected by downy mildew.
Sow seed in trays of seed compost in spring, protecting them under a cold frame. Pot up seedlings individually as soon as they are large enough to handle. Harden off and plant out in late summer.
Meconopsis baileyi (syn. betonicifolia, Himalayan poppy) perennial with low spreading rosettes of green foliage, topped with stout stems of blue or lavender flowers, in May-June. Height to 36in (90cm), spread to 24in (60cm). Can be difficult to grow. For sale at You Garden. Varieties include: 'Alba' (pure white) and 'Blue' (rich blue). For sale at Thompson & Morgan. Cultivar 'Hensol Violet' is a bright violet-purple Himalayan Blue Poppy from Hensol House, Scotland. Height: 36in (90cm). Spread: 12in (30cm). For sale at Suttons.
Meconopsis cambrica (Welsh poppy) stout perennial that produces neat mounds of hairy, green, deeply divided leaves. Bright yellow or orange flowers in June-September. Height to 2ft (60cm), spread 1ft (30cm). Much easier to grow than M. betonicifolia
Meconopsis grandis a perennial with attractive rosettes of narrow green leaves. Large, crinkled, blue or purple flowers in May-June. Height up to 4ft (l.2m), spread 2ft (60cm). Seed available at Thompson & Morgan.
Meconopsis 'Lingholm' bears single clear blue poppy flowers, up to 4in (10cm) across. Height: 30in (75cm), spread: 20in (50cm). For sale at Van Meuwen.
Meconopsis napaulensis (Nepal Poppy) a perennial with attractive rosettes of green foliage. Blue, purple, red, pink or white, papery blossoms, in May-June. Height to 6ft (2m), spread to 2ft (60cm). For sale at Thompson & Morgan.