Growing Himalayan Blue Poppies
Himalayan blue poppies are beautiful rare flowers that are renowned for their unique electric blue blooms. These plants are easily propagated by seed, although they are slow to grow and may only bloom a year after planting. Himalayan blue poppies are quite easy to cultivate and will grow back as perennials if properly maintained.
Step 1 – Choose and Prepare the Planting Spot
Himalayan poppies need a cool, partially shaded spot that is sheltered from strong winds that can dry the soil. Plant in early spring. Use a shovel and garden fork to amend the soil a few weeks before planting. Dig the soil deeply, and add in plenty of mature compost and adequate amounts of an all-purpose fertilizer. Remove any weeds or debris in the soil as well.
Use a pH testing kit to test soil before planting—the soil should be slightly acidic. If the soil is alkaline, the flowers will be more violet in color, and not the vibrant blue these plants are famous for. You can increase the acidity of the soil by adding small amounts of sulfur pellets.
The soil must be moist at all times, without getting waterlogged. Ensure that the drainage is good, or the roots may become susceptible to rot.
Step 2 – Plant the Himalayan Blue Poppy
Choose a healthy plant with a strong root system. When you are ready to plant, use a shovel to dig out a hole in the soil, about double the size of the pot or container. Lay the container on its side on the ground and gently press it on all sides so that the soil becomes loose. Hold a leaf on the plant and very gently try to ease the plant out.
Once you have removed the plant from the container, gently brush off any excess soil from the roots. Put the poppy in the planting spot, and backfill with the soil you dug out. Gently press the plant into place, and water until the soil is moist.
Step 3 – Care and Maintenance
Once the Himalayan blue poppy becomes established, water it regularly, ensuring that the soil does not get dry. Feed with an all-purpose fertilizer every couple of months during the growing season to encourage growth and newer blooms.
You can divide the plant every 2 or 3 years if it is growing as a perennial in your climatic conditions. Dividing the plant will encourage stronger growth and more blooms and also protect the plant from circulation problems and rot. These plants can be affected by powdery mildew, which can be prevented by maintaining good air circulation and avoiding crowding.