Wednesday, July 05, 2006

That Elusive Holy Grail- Blue Poppies

The Himalayan Poppy, a common name encompassing Mecanopsis betonicifolia and Mecanopsis grandis and their hybrids and maybe a few other species... Depending on where you live on this great world, they may be easy for you to grow. In Nova Scotia they are one of those frustrating things that grows well in the odd place but not at all just across the property line.

For years I would diligently acquire seed of the above 2 species and try to start some. Most years the seed germinated and then expired through a bout of cold or hot weather, or sun or cloud, at just the wrong time. If all the stars were in proper alignment and everything was good with them my mind would wander and they would dry out the day before I brought the water to them... The few that made it to a spot in the ground in my great outdoors would be eaten by night critters.

Then, 2 years ago I was given a few small plants and some useful advise which has resulted in flowers last year and this! The trick was, a moist partly shaded location, but not wet; and I had just managed to create one by dumping dead pots of sand/compost mix in a mounded heap over a boggy part of the yard. And then the real advice: weak soluble fertilizer applied every week during the first summer, to encourage the poppies to grow offsets from the single crown of the initial plants. The idea (working so far) is that the oldest crowns will flower and probably die in any given summer and then the secondary crowns will survive into the following year-- and so on.

1 comment:

Denis Wilson said...

Best of luck.
A friend of mine grew some successfully (after years of trying) in a large half Oak Barrel (old wine or whisky barrel). Trick was sandy soil and compost. From memory his were in pretty open sunlight.

My few attempts just shrivelled up and died.