Welsh poppy – planting, care and tips

Welsh poppy (Officinale)
Welsh poppy (Officinale)

The Welsh poppy is a permanent flowering plant that is very self-sowing. This is how to plant and care for Meconopsis cambrica.

Profile of Welsh poppy:

Scientific name: Meconopsis cambrica, synonym Papaver cambricum

Plant family: poppy family(Papaveraceae)

Other names: Cambrian poppy

Sowing time: spring

Planting time: spring to autumn

Flowering period: June to September

Location: part time sunny to partially shaded

Soil quality: sandy to loamy, humus rich

These information are for temperate climate!

Use in: flower beds, overgrowth, borders, flower garden, herb garden, natural garden, rock garden

Winter hardiness: hardy, USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 6 (-23 °C / -5 °F)

Bee and insect friendly: Yes

Plant characteristics and classification of Welsh poppy

Plant order, origin and occurrence of Welsh poppy

The Welsh poppy (Meconopsis cambrica) is a pretty wild perennial from the west and southwest of Europe. Because of its origin – it is also known as the Pyrenean poppy – the Basque people speak of the “gold of the mountains”. In the mountain meadows of the Pyrenees, with its yellow flowers it covers the stony mats (a vegetation in high mountains) all summer. A similar picture can be seen in Wales and Western Ireland, where Meconopsis cambrica, the Cambrian poppy, is also native. “Cambria” is an old name for Wales. On the British Isles, the strikingly luminous perennial was the first to be brought into the garden.

Characteristics of Welsh poppy

Plant

The fast growing Welsh poppy is similar in structure to corn poppy. Finely hairy flower stems rise from a rosette-like leaf cluster. Depending on the location, they reach heights of 30 to 60 centimeters (12 to 24 in).

Leaves

The pinnate leaves in a pleasant green grow bushy. They are finely hairy on the petiole.

Blossoms

The bright yellow flowers are reminiscent of poppies in their appearance and touch. Translucent like silk, they unfold over a long period of time. If you cut them constantly, the flower can extend from June to September. This pleases insects that like to visit the flowers.

Fruit

Meconopsis cambrica forms decorative, elongated seed pods. If you enjoy dry floral arrangements, the artful seed pods are ideal. If you want to provide birds with natural food, leave the seed pods as a natural food for winter.

Welsh poppy – cultivation and care

Location

There are few perennials that make as few demands on location and soil as the Welsh poppy. Its ideal garden spot is in partial shade. The uncomplicated perennials also arrange themselves in sunnier places and even thrive on the north side. In the garden they can cope even in the dry shade.

Soil

The natural site of the Welsh poppy in sparse mountain forests and on the edges of the bushes lies on partly stony ground. Its attractive tufts of leaves thrive best on humus-rich, deep soils.

Planting

You can plant Welsh poppy all season. However, keep in mind that grown specimens are very difficult to transplant due to their deep taproot. If Meconopsis cambrica has gotten into places where you don’t want it, you have to remove the seedlings very early. Even weeding dispensable plants should happen as early as possible. The deeper the seedlings are rooted, the more difficult it is to remove them.

Flower of Welsh poppy
Flower of Welsh poppy

Care

So that the permanent bloomer really blooms from June to September, you have to keep up. Regularly cut off faded flowers. Another possibility is pruning after the first blooming. As soon as the flower subsides and the first seed pods form, cut off the entire plant including the leaves close to the ground. Welsh poppy sprout quickly afterwards and produce a second bloom. A pruning before the capsules are ripe is also a must if you don’t want the Welsh poppy to self-seed.

Propagation

Meconopsis cambrica is propagated by sowing. You can sow the seeds on the spot as soon as they are ripe, or you can selectively plant them. To do this, sow in seed trays in spring. You only have to press the fine seeds lightly. Sufficiently moist and shady, the seedlings can be pricked into boxes or into individual plant pots. At the end of July, they are planted in the field.

Cambrian poppy is one of the less long-lived plants that renew themselves by self-sowing. Division is neither possible nor necessary.

Diseases and pests

Welsh poppy has no problems with plant diseases and pests. Not even slugs like it because of the milky juice in his stems.

Wintering

Welsh poppy is hardy down to -23 °C / -5 °F.

Use in the garden

The indestructible flower is just right for everyone who is looking for a colorful perennial for naturally designed areas. The uncomplicated permanent bloomers are particularly popular as a splash of color in shady garden areas. Place an initial planting of a few plants between ferns, hostas and grasses and let yourself be surprised off the gaps that the self-seeded plants will close in the following years. Even under rhododendrons and on the edge of shrubs, even evergreen plants like cherry laurel, Welsh poppy dabs bright spots. You can work magic meadow-like combinations with columbines, masterwort and lily of the valley. Here you can mix Cambrian poppy seeds in yellow and orange. Such color miracles also look good in the herb garden, for example between olive herb, and rue. Or you can let it stroll around in the natural rock garden.

Varieties

The variety ‘Aurantiaca’ blooms in shades of orange. There is also the double flower variety ‘Plena’.

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