Himalayan blue poppies at Rowallane

Blue poppies in the walled garden at Rowallane

Himalayan blue poppies don't have the reputation for being the easiest of plants to grow, but we all enjoy a challenge. They love moist acid soils, so if you can grow Rhododendrons or Camellias in your soil or your neighbours can – then it’s worth a try.

The popular name ‘Himalayan blue poppy’ is usually applied to the blue form which grows quite tall (3-5ft, 1-1.5m) and most have beautiful blue flowers.

How to get started

You can grow from seed in early spring - indoors to get an early start. They love a rich moist acid soil, so dig in leaf mould or compost which has no lime added before planting out.
They enjoy an area away from hot sunshine, so look for a quietly lit corner which avoids the hot midday sun and if you hit a dry spell you can give a little water to keep them going. Then cross your fingers and hope that they will flower for you (usually in mid May) but seed grown plants may flower a little later.

Keeping going

When given the right conditions blue poppies over winter and reappear the following spring.
Averil Milligan, Head Gardener at Rowallane Garden says: "I always likes to give Mother Nature a helping hand, so I divide mine up when they are coming through in the spring and the leaves are still small (less than 10cms). Division of the crown is one simple way - just dig carefully round the plant and lift it out, look at the crown and where there are cluster of leaves is one plant, usually there will be a second or third that you can split away from the others with a sharp spade or knife. This is very satisfying to do as these will multiply when you replant them again."
In the autumn they will disappear, don’t panic this is natural, as they are herbaceous plants.


Don’t forget to enjoy Himalayan blue poppies at all their stages of growth as they have a strange colour of green hairy like leaves and buds which open overnight to blue flowers. If you can grow these plants then you will have lots of fun with others of the same family, or plants which like similar conditions. Be warned growing them is very addictive.