Meconopsis horridula (Prickly Blue Poppy)

Scientific Name

Meconopsis horridula Hook. f. & Thomson

Common Names

Prickly Blue Poppy, Tibetan Poppy

Scientific Classification

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


Color: Blue or reddish-blue
Bloom Time: Late spring to early summer


Meconopsis horridula is a flowering plant with basal leaves, up to 10 inches (25 cm) long, arranged in a rosette. The stem and pedicels have straw-colored spines on their surface. The leaves are elliptical or narrow-oblong shaped, tapering into the petiole. The leaf margin is entire or slightly lobed or toothed. The surface of the leaf is covered with yellowish or purplish spines that grow from purple wart-like structures. In some cases, they are covered with bristles. The upper leaves are smaller and bract-like. The open-faced flowers are usually in shades of blue or reddish blue, but rarely white. The flowers are up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) in size. The stalk is up to 9 inches (22.5 cm) long. The stalk that bears the flower is bent, so the flower is not held upright and is droopy.

Meconopsis horridula - Prickly Blue Poppy
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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 autumn. 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 China (Tibet).


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