Meconopsis aculeata (Blue Poppy)

Scientific Name

Meconopsis horridula Hook. f. & Thomson

Common Names

Blue Poppy


Meconopsis bikramii, Meconopsis guilelmi-waldemarii

Scientific Classification

Family: Papaveraceae
Subfamily: Papaveroideae
Tribe: Papavereae
Genus: Meconopsis


Color: Sky blue
Bloom Time: Summer


Meconopsis aculeata is a biennial or monocarpic plant with a prickly stem that grows up to 2 feet (60 cm) tall. Basal leaves are up to 10 inches (25 cm) long and up to 2 inches (5 cm) wide, irregularly pinnatifid, bearing straw-colored spines. Flowers appear 4-, sometimes 6-petalled, up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) in diamater, sky blue, often overlaid with iridescent purple.

Meconopsis aculeata - Blue Poppy
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USDA hardiness zone 6a to 9b: from −10 °F (−23.3 °C) to 30 °F (−1.1 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Full sunlight (cool areas only); full or partial shade. Acidic soil. Add grit to heavy soils. Nutrient-rich soil, add manure, leaf matter, or compost if necessary. Moist soil. Supply mulch of manure of bark chippings when planting to help maintain moisture; do not cover the crowns. Regular watering during dry periods in summer to keep the soil moist. No need to water in the winter as the plant prefers dry soil while resting. Cut back to the ground in autumn. Replace regularly as Meconopsis plants do not live for a long time.

When growing Meconopsis plants in the garden, it is very important to keep the soil moist in the summer. Once the growing period has finished, cut back Meconopsis plant to ground level (autumn). If you require more plants, then they can be propagated by division at the start of spring.

The seeds of the Meconopsis should be sown on the surface; this can wither be done just before the last frost of spring or towards the end of fall. Blue Poppies prefer to grow in a shady or partially shady part of the gardens but can tolerate sunny areas in milder climates. They like rich, acidic soil. Ideally, the soil should be kept moist in the summer but allowed to dry in the winter. See more at How to Grow and Care for Meconopsis.


Native to specific areas of Pakistan and India in the western Himalayas.


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