The Q&A Archives: Tips on Himalayan Blue Poppies

Question: Although I am aware of the difficulties associated with the successful propagation of himalayan blue poppies (Meconopsis betonicifolia or grandis) from seed, I am attempting to grow at least a few to maturity. Seeds have germinated plentifully under fluorescent lighting, but I am somewhat confused about the degree of light/dark and temperature required as seedlings develop. I would also appreciate any guidance you could offer about whether feedings should be slightly acidified to counteract the minute quantity of lime used in standard germinating mixes. Randy Olthof Elmira, NY

Answer: Meconopsis betonicifolia grows in the cool moist sections of zones 6-8, particularly the Pacific Northwest. They do best in light shade and need an acid soil (pH5.5-6.5). Good drainage is vital. Plants grown from seeds should not be allowed to flower until their third remove any buds. If plants are allowed to blossom when young, they die. The above information suggests that the seedlings be kept cool....maybe 55-65 degrees F. They normally bloom in early to mid-summer so light exposure can be kept on the longer length (12-16 hours).

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