Very nearly the Holy Grail of gardening, the growing of Himalayan Blue Poppies is an endeavor that many gardeners will eventually undertake in their horticultural lives. I'm no exception.
Last year, I tried to grow them from seed started inside and while I did get teeny tiny sprouts, that's as far as it went. What caused their demise is a mystery to me, but my best guess would be damping off, a fungal disease common to early seedlings.
I briefly considered buying them from an online nursery, but the price stopped me. Sometimes I'm willing to pay a little more for something if I feel like it has a good chance of survival in my garden or in my house. Blue poppies probably don't fall into that category.
My friend Jodi in Nova Scotia, grows beautiful blue poppies in her garden, and while she's in the same zone I am, her growing conditions are a little different. She lives on a hill above Scots Bay and gets damp breezes off the water, giving the cool, moist growing conditions that these poppies love. While envious, I'm glad that someone is able to grow these beauties!
But I'm not giving up. This year, I pretty much covered all bases in my quest to have my own blue poppies. In January, I winter sowed both Meconopsis betonicifolia and Meconopsis x sheldonii 'Lingholm' and so far, all I see are some really tiny pinpoints of green, and I can't yet be sure that they aren't weed seedlings.
Several months ago, Michigan Bulb had an offer of buying three Meconopsis betonicifolia and they'll give you three more for free. Plus, there was a $20 off a $40 purchase. I'd only purchased from Michigan Bulb once before and had a pretty good experience with them. They'd sent nice-sized plants that were packed well for transport and they did well in my garden, especially the helenium. They have a lifetime guarantee on their plants, too. How could I go wrong?
About three weeks ago, the Meconopsis arrived, too early for planting here, but that would be my only complaint. Once again, I was pleased with the size and condition of the plants and a couple of them even had flower buds on them. I put them in the basement greenhouse until a week ago, when I potted them up and started getting them used to outdoors. They've been there ever since and are doing just fine. I'll wait a little bit longer before planting them in the ground.
This determined effort to have me some blue poppies is under Jodi's guidance and I'm hopeful that one way or another, it will be a success. If not, I'll probably try again. Before I die, I will have blue poppies in my garden, even if only for one season.