Along with Primulas my favourite plants. A member of the Papaveraceae from the Greek: mekon & opsis - poppy like,  the meconopsis, in particular Meconopsis betonicifolia, is the iconic Himalayan flower used as a symbol by many nurseries and institutions, the blue colour is matched by very few in the plant kingdom. Meconopsis as a genus, other than the grow anywhere Welsh Mountain Poppy (Meconopsis cambrica), are notoriously difficult and do better in the North of England and Scotland in the cooler conditions. They like moist but well drained soil, and as  many of them have hairy leaves which hold moisture they often succumb to our wet dreary winters which is a problem common to many alpines. On another point the nomenclature is driving me round the bend.

Meconopsis 'Lingholm'

Because many species are monocarpic it essential to have an easy means of propagation, with a few exceptions, like most "poppies" Meconopsis tend to set copious amounts of seed which can be cold sown fresh in the autumn or in the spring. Perennial clump formers like 'Lingholm' can be divided after flowering.

Meconopsis cambrica flore-plena
Probably aurantiaca although the seed was supplied as from the red form 'rubra'.

The Welsh Mountain Poppy, the common form of which grows like a hated weed in many gardens, is the only member of the genus to originate from outside the Himalayan region. I believe that it is shortly to be dropped from the genus Meconopsis and transferred to a new one.
Local form, Meconopsis 'Crarae' (Crarae Gardens)

I referred earlier to the nomenclature of these plants, the fact is that species have been introduced over the years from all over the Himalayas and even in the wild there is tremendous local variation, many have been absorbed into horticulture in the UK under false identities and have often become almost locally named which has added to the confusion. I am not a botanist so I have avoided precise descriptions as much as possible so all I can say of the next set of pictures of the "spiny" group is the name was on the packet.

Clockwise from top left: Meconopsis prattii, Meconopsis racemosa, Meconopsis horridula, Meconopsis aculeata.

 Meconopsis baileyi 'Hensol Violet'


 Meconopsis grandis

 Meconopsis integrifolia

Meconopsis 'Kingsbarns'

Meconopsis paniculata 'Ghunsa Group'

Meconopsis X Beamishii?

Group of Meconopsis baileyi (betonicifolia)

 Meconopsis napaulensis

Meconopsis regia

This is an introduction to these wonderful plants and I will add to this page as and when I have any kind of success with their cultivation. The only plant not grown by me is Meconopsis 'Crarae'


  1. Hi Rick,
    Just found your blog, thanks to your putting me in your blogroll..
    I'm really jealous that you are managing to grow the dwarf spiny blues (let's not get into the detailed names - it's a nightmare).
    Have you tried 'punicea' (red) or 'xcookei' (pinkish purple)? both of which you can source from Kevock - at a price. Would love to hear about your successes/failures.

  2. Hi,
    I was very taken with your blog as we obviously have similar interests, and dare I say it, you should have better conditions than I for both the primulas and meconopsis up in Scotland. Nearly all my plants are now grown from seed which, as you will appreciate, with both genera does not make life easy when it comes to identification, unfortunately I seem to be cursed with a mind which likes to compartmentalise things so it drives me to insanity at times. I am shortly going to upgrade both my Primula Page and Meconopsis Page so please watch out for that as I have a lot of stuff to go on. I have never had any success trying to germinate 'punicea', I sow all my seeds cold but have recently read that it benefits from heat, maybe I will have another go. 'xcookei' I have never grown and I am reluctant to splash out £10.00 for a specimen, I have more than enough trouble trying to grow those that I do!