Himalayan Poppy

A Closer Look at the Himalayan Poppy

The Himalayan poppy, or meconopsis grandis as it is known in the botanical world, is a beautiful flower belonging to the family papaveraceae. It didn’t gain its nickname “blue poppy” without reason! This flower sports vibrant blue petals that make it a gorgeous accent or featured plant in any garden; however it also means that this plant is not a true poppy. That is, because poppies cannot produce flowers that are actually blue. Other than that small trait, the meconopsis grandis and the poppy flower are very much alike.

History

The history of the Himalayan poppy is fairly short, as this plant was only recently discovered in comparison to plants of similar characteristics. This species of flower was actually discovered in 1922 when a British mountaineer named George Mallory noticed the plant during a climbing expedition on Mount Everest. Although he did not manage to reach the top of Mount Everest, he was able to bring the plant back to Britain in 1926 where it was welcomed quite warmly and featured in the Royal Horticultural Society’s spring do. Over the years, this particular species of flower has gained somewhat of a bittersweet reputation among gardening enthusiasts because it is absolutely beautiful yet a bit tricky to grow from seeds.

Physical Characteristics

As mentioned earlier, this flower has beautiful blue coloring that really makes it stand out among other flowers. In terms of vibrancy and eye-catching factor, this plant could be compared to hydrangeas or similar dainty but bold flowers. The Himalayan poppy averages around three to four feet in height and spreads about two feet in width. The stalks of this plant are quite woody and contain fawn-colored hairs. The coarse, deciduous leaves vary in shades of green, although most tend to be of the darker shades. The physical characteristics of this plant make it a very versatile addition to any garden, doing well as a border, accent, or featured plant.

Climate

Although this flower hails from the Himalayas, it can row in a variety of climates. People have successfully grown this flower in USDA zones 3 through 9, which means that this plant can theoretically be grown almost anywhere in the continental United States. Bear in mind that while this plant has been grown in these zones in the past, that does not mean that anyone can successfully grow Himalayan poppies anywhere in zones 3 to 9. If you browse around a few gardening websites, most recommend this plant for zones 5 – 8.

Sunlight and Water Requirements

As with any plant some of the most important factors to consider before planting the flower or seeds are sunlight and watering. The Himalayan poppy really needs partial shade, as prolonged exposure to full sunlight can be too harsh yet full shade can result in malnourishment. Partial shade means that the plant receives filtered sunlight or receives less than five hours of direct sunlight in a 24-hour period. This plant also needs normal to moist soil meaning that it should not be allowed to dry out completely between watering. If you are attempting to grow a Himalayan poppy plant in an environment that often becomes very dry and hot in the summer, then you may want to consider the fact that this plant will require regular watering during the periods without regular rainfall.

Choosing a Location to Grow the Himalayan Poppy

The location that you choose to grow your poppy in should be able to accommodate the sunlight and watering requirements, but you must also take into consideration the size of the plant at maturity. Remember, it can grow as high as four feet and as wide as two feet, which means you will need a decent amount of space. This plant will do best if you can provide an area where the soil contains partial sand or is a clay loam. Implementing these tips will give you the best chance of successfully growing your Himalayan poppy.