Meconopsis or Himalayan poppy is a beautiful azure, blue, purple flower. Attractive due to its large size. It takes root well in any region in Russia, but requires regular moisture. It is used in single plantings and in compositions, it looks especially beautiful on the shore of a country pond.
Description and characteristics of the plant
Meconopsis, also called the blue Himalayan poppy, is a perennial plant in the Papaveraceae family. A distinctive feature is beautiful and large flowers, reaching a diameter of 10-12 cm, and in some varieties up to 25 cm.
Stems are thin, depending on the species, their height ranges from 10 to 100 cm. Leaves are green, petiolar. Grow with rosettes. The foliage and stem of meconopsis are often covered with white or yellow fluff. The root system can be either pivotal or fibrous, sufficiently developed, with several points of growth.
The petals of the Himalayan poppy are of a pleasant azure color, although there are other shades: blue, purple, blue, lavender, yellow, white
The flowers are six-petaled. The stamens are light orange in color, they contrast well with the petals. Meconopsis bloom lasts 3-4 weeks (from mid-June to mid-July). By the end of summer, the Himalayan poppy bears fruit - dry capsules with small oily seeds.
In nature, the plant is found in the highlands of India, Nepal, Bhutan, China. It also grows in the Alps at an altitude of 3-5.5 km. Often the Himalayan poppy is found in other parts of the world: Alaska, Canada, Scandinavia, Japan, New Zealand, Australia.
In Russia, there are also wild Himalayan poppies - they all belong only to the species Meconopsis drop-leaf.
Important! The stems and leaves of the culture contain toxic substances.
There are 45 species in the genus Meconopsis. The most famous of them are cultivated: drop-leaf, Sheldon and Cambrian.
Meconopsis betonicifolia is a beautiful species of Himalayan poppy with blue flowers, the diameter of which reaches 9–10 cm. The first inflorescences appear in June, and they last 5–7 days, after which they wither. The duration of the flowering culture is up to one month. When caring for this plant in the first year, all the buds are removed before opening. Otherwise, meconopsis droplet (betonitsifolia) will die in the same season, i.e. will behave like an annual plant.
Peduncles of the betonicifolia cultivar reach a height of 80–90 cm
In the description of Meconopsis Sheldon (Meconopsis x sheldonii) it is indicated that this is a hybrid variety with flowers of pale blue color. Feels great in partial shade, on wet and loose soils. The Himalayan poppy tolerates drought well. The culture does not withstand prolonged stagnation of moisture.
Sheldon's variety has large flowers up to 10 cm in diameter
Meconopsis cambric (cambrica) is a beautiful variety of the Himalayan poppy with yellow flowers. Grows in height up to 30-40 cm. 4
Mekonopsis cambrian is characterized by high winter hardiness - it can withstand frosts down to -34 ° C
Himalayan poppy can be grown from self-harvested seeds. Other breeding methods are available: dividing the bush and grafting.
Growing from seeds
Meconopsis seeds are harvested in the fall when the pods are completely dry. They are then stored in the refrigerator to simulate winter sowing conditions (a procedure called stratification). Then sowing meconopsis on seedlings is carried out. Grown at home at temperatures below room temperature (up to +15 ° C). Seedlings are transferred to open ground closer to mid-May, when the threat of return frosts will be minimized.
Important! Only varietal varieties of the Himalayan poppy can be grown from seeds.
For hybrids, this method of propagation is not used, since the flowers may not retain the characteristics of the parent plant. Therefore, it is better to breed them by dividing the bush.
Dividing the bush
It is best to carry out the procedure in early spring, when the meconopsis has not yet begun to grow (end of March). If the deadline is missed, you can do it in August, and if the month is hot, then in September.
You can divide adult bushes of the Himalayan poppy, which are 2-3 years old. They are dug up, shaken off the ground and the roots are spread. Then the bush is divided into several plants so that each part has 1-2 buds or forming rosettes. Delenki are planted in a new place, watered abundantly and mulched. When planting in autumn, they must be covered with a layer of litter, peat, sawdust.
Himalayan poppy can be grafted. To do this, in late spring or early summer, cut green shoots 10-15 cm long. They are immersed for several hours in a solution that improves root formation ("Epin", "Zircon").
Then they are planted in moist fertile soil in a flower bed. Immediately cover with a jar, which is periodically removed for airing. Moisturize regularly. You also need to create some light shading. By autumn, cuttings of the Himalayan poppy will give roots. At this point, they can be transplanted to a new place (or set aside at the same place) and mulched for the winter.
Conditions for growing meconopsis
Himalayan poppies tolerate short-term shade well. For planting, it is not recommended to choose open areas with direct sunlight, since the heat has a bad effect on the flower. Also, the place should be well moisturized. It is advisable to plant the culture on the coast of the reservoir.
The optimal soil for growing Himalayan poppy is fertile loamy or sandy loam
If the soil is depleted, then during the digging of flower beds in the fall, 30–40 g of complex mineral fertilizer or 3–7 kg of humus per 1 m2 are introduced into the ground. After planting, they provide moist conditions, preventing the soil from drying out and cracking. Top dressing is carried out periodically.
Himalayan poppy seedlings can be grown in a mixture of peat and perlite (1: 1). You can also make a mixture of turf soil with peat and humus (2: 1: 1) or purchase a universal soil for the crop.
When to sow seeds for seedlings and outdoors
Himalayan poppy seeds are sown for seedlings in late February or early March. In the south, you can start a week earlier, and in regions with cool summers (Ural, Siberia) - a few days later.
The seedlings are transferred to open ground 2.5 months after sowing, that is, approximately in mid-May. At this point, the daytime temperature should not be lower than +17 ° C. It is necessary to follow the weather forecast. The threat of recurrent frosts must be avoided, otherwise the plants will die.
Planting and caring for meconopsis
They begin to prepare for planting the Himalayan poppy already at the end of winter. The seeds are soaked, then planted on seedlings and grown at home until early May. After that, they are transferred to a flower bed.
How to sow and grow meconopsis from seeds
The cultivation of the Himalayan meconopsis poppy from seeds begins at the end of January. The seeds are placed on a damp paper towel, covered with the same layer on top and put into a plastic bag. They are sent to the refrigerator (where they were stored after the autumn harvest or purchase) and kept at temperatures up to +4 ° C for 5-6 weeks, ie. until mid-February.
At this time, they begin to prepare containers for seedlings of the Himalayan poppy. These can be plastic containers or wooden crates. For disinfection, they are rinsed with boiling water, and the soil is watered with a 1% solution of potassium permanganate or placed in a freezer for several days.
Himalayan poppy seedlings can be grown in cassettes
A layer of small stones is poured at the bottom of the planting container, then the soil mixture is added. Seeds are sown to a depth of 1–1.5 cm, watered with a spray bottle and placed in a cool place with a temperature of + 10–12 ° C. Cover with a foil with holes, which is periodically removed for ventilation. Provide diffused light. After the appearance of two leaves, the seedlings of the Himalayan poppy dive into peat pots or other containers. During this time, the temperature in the greenhouse should not rise above + 15 ° C.
Planting seedlings and subsequent care
Seedlings are transplanted into the ground in May, although some gardeners practice growing at home until early August, after which they transfer the seedlings to a permanent place. The planting algorithm for the Himalayan poppy is standard:
- On a previously prepared (dug and fertilized) flower bed, several shallow holes are formed at a distance of 30-50 cm. Planting density depends on the variety, as well as on the design of the future flower garden.
- Seedlings are planted along with an earthen clod.
- They fall asleep with sod earth with humus, tamp it a little.
- Water and mulch with peat, sawdust, straw or wood chips.
After planting meconopsis in open ground, you must follow several rules and care tips:
- It is very important to ensure abundant watering of the Himalayan poppy - at least once a week, and in drought - 2-3 times.
- In order for the soil to retain moisture longer, there must always be a layer of mulch made from peat, sawdust or other materials on it.
- The next day after watering or heavy rain, it is advisable to loosen the ground, otherwise it will become crusty over time.
- Top dressing is applied in May and June - it can be organic matter or a complex mineral composition. But if the mulch contains peat or humus, you can skip the first application.
Diseases and pests
Meconopsis has good immunity. Poisonous substances are present in plant tissues that repel many pests. But sometimes poppy can suffer from powdery mildew (a grayish bloom forms on the leaves, after which they curl). For treatment and prevention, the bushes are treated with fungicides: Bordeaux liquid, Fitosporin, Tattu, Maxim, Fundazol.
Of insects, only aphids can harm crops. It is quite easy to deal with it by spraying the bushes with insecticides: Biotlin, Green Soap, Confidor, Decis, Fufanon.
You can also use home remedies: a solution of soap with ash, an infusion of tobacco dust, a decoction of marigold flowers, an infusion of onion husks, cloves of garlic, and many others.
The processing of the Himalayan poppy is carried out in the evening in calm and dry weather.
Pruning and preparing for winter
The Himalayan poppy is a winter-hardy plant. In autumn, it is enough to simply cut it under a stump, leaving stems 3-4 cm high. This can be done in early October, that is, on the eve of the first frost. Then the seedlings are mulched with leaves, straw, sawdust. In the southern regions, you can leave without shelter.
Advice! At the end of September, it is advisable to give the Himalayan poppy a lot of water. Moisture-charging irrigation allows you to comfortably survive the winter.
Meconopsis in landscape design
The Himalayan poppy looks great near bodies of water. If there is no small pond in the country, the flower can be planted in a flower bed, in rockeries, rock gardens, on a rocky hill.
Himalayan poppy is used both in single plantings and in combination with various meadow grasses.
The culture looks good with ferns, hosts, and hydrangeas. Options for using meconopsis with a photo will help when planning a garden design:
- Himalayan poppy on a rocky flower bed.
- Composition with hosts.
- Single landing.
Meconopsis or Himalayan poppy is one of the unassuming flowers used to decorate the garden. In nature, the plant is found in the mountains, so it is well adapted to the climatic conditions of Russia.
Reviews of meconopsis or Himalayan poppy
Elizaveta, 56 years old, Samara
The Himalayan poppy is a flower for lovers of azure and blue shades. Creates a great blue background, which harmonizes with hydrangeas, peonies and plants with decorative foliage. In leaving, the flower is not capricious. Growing meconopsis is easy.
Irina Petrovna, 48 years old, Izhevsk
The Himalayan poppy can be easily diluted with seeds, only it must be grown in a cool, somewhere at +14 ° C. If planted in early March, then by mid-May it can be taken out to a flower bed. Be sure to create a slight shadow. Delicate flowers can not stand the scorching sun. Periodically, meconopsis seedlings must be watered at the root. Can be fed in spring and summer.