Singing the Blues

Meconopsis betonicifolia

For the past several years leaves of my Himalayan blue poppy (Meconopsis betonicifolia) have shown up on schedule, but without any flowers. Mind you, when I first planted this stunning perennial, I did what I was told. I snipped off any flower buds. The second & third year it flowered beautifully. Then no flowers for about 4 years! Last year I noticed the plant was putting on another rosette or two of new leaves. This happened after I eliminated some of the encroaching Astilbe chinensis ‘Pumila’. This year – ta da! – a glorious blue flower appeared with more buds to follow along its tall stem.

This is not a plant for non-gardeners and people who just like to look at their gardens while someone else cares for it. This plant doesn’t grow everywhere either. In the United States, the Pacific NW (where I live) is one of the few locations where it can be grown. Then you have to site it just right. It prefers mostly shade, but it likes a little morning sun. Acid, moist, well-drained, humusy soil, and cool temperatures are additional aspects to consider. If you have the patience, these flowers are well worth the wait.