Meconopsis grandis
Common Name: Asiatic poppy 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Papaveraceae
Native Range: Western Europe
Zone: 5 to 7
Height: 2.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Bloom Description: Sky blue
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: High
Flower: Showy

Culture

Grow in loose, peaty, moderately rich, slightly acidic, very well-drained but evenly moist soils in part shade. Plants will not survive unless properly sited in a suitable climate. Plants prefer cool humid shade in woodland-like conditions, with summer temperatures typically occurring below 80 degrees F. and with winter temperatures remaining mild. Part shade helps insulate plants from the heat of the sun. During the growing season, soils must not be allowed to dry out. Mulch will prevent some loss of moisture. However, soils must have superior drainage and some soil dryness in winter to prevent the onset of root rot. Plants can be grown from seed, but seeds are usually very difficult to germinate. Snip off flowering stems to prevent bloom in the first year (plants need to concentrate energies in establishing good root systems). This poppy will not thrive in the St. Louis climate and is not recommended for growing here.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Meconopsis grandis, commonly called Himalayan blue poppy or Tibetan poppy, is a stunning pure blue poppy. It is native to the western Himalayas, northern Burma, Tibet and Yunnan Province in China where it is typically found in shady mountain areas, mountain meadows, slopes and woodlands. It is noted for producing large, deep sky blue flowers (to 4-5" across) in late spring. Flowers are shallowly cup-shaped usually with 4 petals. Plants were observed in 1922 in the East Rongbuk Valley in Tibet growing at an elevation of 16,000 feet by members of a British mountaineering expedition led by George Leigh Mallory. Established plants typically grow 18-40" tall on stems rising from a basal rosette of bristly, entire or coarsely toothed, cuneate, narrow-oblanceolate, medium green leaves (to 12" long). Spent flowers give way to narrow seed pods. Flowers bloom in spring. This species is the National Flower of Bhutan. Menocopsis comes from the Greek words mekon (poppy) and opsis (appearance) in reference to the similarity of plants in this genus to true poppies (Papaver). The difficulty (some gardeners say impossibility) of growing this plant has risen to the level of legend.

Genus name comes from the Greek words mekon meaning a poppy and opsis meaning likeness or appearance.

Specific epithet means big or showy.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Downy mildew. Slugs and snails. Root rot often develops in poorly drained soils. Very difficult to grow.

Garden Uses

Impressive flowering poppy for part shade areas of the landscape.