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Meconopsis punicea

Meconopsis punicea

Meconopsis come from the Himalayas, China and Tibet where they have monsoons in the growing season and temperatures which rarely exceed 20oC.

In gardens they require adequate moisture and moderate temperatures, so areas of the world where they thrive are becoming less and less due to global warming.

Meconopsis also prefer growing mediums which have a high humus content and are rich in nutrients. In very heavy soils, which are prone to water-logging, plants will benefit from a raised bed culture with drainage material such as grit and garden compost added.

While Meconopsis will tolerate alkaline conditions the presence of lime will cause colour deterioration in the big blue poppy hybrids changing them from “electric blue” to muddy purple.

M. punicea
Meconopsis punicea This blood-red poppy from China is much sought after by growers. In my early days of growing Meconopsis this plant had been lost to cultivation for over 30 years.

However, in 1986 a seed collecting expedition to china reintroduced this elegant plant and along with several other introductions which were successful, it is now well established in cultivation, appearing on several seed exchange lists. M.Punicea will often flower in its first or second year after sowing, most plants are monocarpic so seed must be collected annually.


Harold McBride