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Blue Poppies

We’ve been selling Blue Poppies (Meconopsis betonicifolia) for years now. However, we’ve heard that they are difficult to grow. It’s not that they die from our cold winters — no. It’s that it’s too hot here in the summer.

Despite this difficulty, several Plant Sale shoppers have sent us photos of their blooming Blue Poppies. What we’ve learned from this is that, like some hydrangeas, they are only truly-blue in more acidic soil than you naturally find in the Twin Cities. Gardeners near the shores of Lake Superior have an easier time with the plants, both because of their moderate summer temperatures and their more acidic soil.

Here are some of the photos we’ve received.

Maggie in Minneapolis wrote to us this spring,

I bought 4 of the small plants. I have 3 different zones in my yard. I live on a northwest corner lot in Mpls and have a neighbor’s privacy fence on the south side. After reading up on the poppies I decided to place them in the shaded section of my yard that runs zone 4a/3. Normally I still have snow there, this year being an exception. The space receives a little early moring sun, no daytime sun, and about 3 hours of afternoon/evening sun.

Of the 4 I planted, one received too much sun (almost all day) and I moved it but I don’t think that one will make it. The other three did great and bloomed. One as you can see from the picture bloomed 3 times. I did not expect to see growth this early in the season but the plant that did the best has already come up about (2″) out of the ground. The other 3 have not made an appearance. I’m excited to see what happens this year. I do plan on buying a few more to add to the bed, if available.

Another gardener, Keith, picked up two of our $1.50 blue poppies last spring. He planted them on the east side of his house, in the shade of the entryway just south of the planting site. It gets good morning sun, but is shaded from late morning. He has an automatic sprinkling system, so they are watered three mornings per week.

No blooms the first year, but two of them survived the summer and are back this spring. One has a foot-tall stem with a fat bud at the top.

Barbara in Cloquet sent us these photos of her blue poppies from the sale:

blue poppy 2

She wrote,

I know these aren’t very good pictures, but the plant’s location in my garden is good for growing…. not for photographing! This plant is from last year and is the first one I finally got to grow and it sure grew. It is about 3 feet high and will have multiple blooms. The location was on the north side of the house and in shade, but bright shade. It probably has only minutes of direct sun per day, if at all.

blue poppy 3

Plant Sale shopper Krista from Stevens Point, Wis., tells us:

blue poppy 4

I bought 3 of these at the 2008 sale. They didn’t seem to do much where I put them originally so I moved them in the fall. This spring all 3 plants initially looked good but 2 petered out. This one ended up with 3 buds! I was so excited. The first bud never opened for some reason but the second one blossomed today. It is gorgeous! Hopefully bud #3 will open too.

The plant is on the north side of my house with early morning and late day sun.

36″ tall, part shade or shade. Well mulched! Find it in Perennials, $1.50 in a 2.5″ pot.

Here are a couple of helpful links if you’re interested in growing blue poppies:

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