With blue as vivid as a kingfisher's wings, Meconopsis 'Lingholm' is of the most exquisitely beautiful of all flowering plants. This superb hybrid Meconopsis is thought to have bred by chance in a Cumbrian garden in the late 1970’s, the resulting plants underwent a doubling of the chromosome number and became fertile.
From the winter buds at ground level emerge hairy leaves, longer and more pointed than in M. betonicifolia. The tall stems, each carrying many large, single flowers, grow rapidly, to start blooming usually in early June, with the show lasting well over a month.
With a love of a cool, sheltered position together with free-draining, deep, rich and fertile soil, Lingholm are reliably perennial, so long as they are not allowed to flower in their first year, slowly increasing to form clumps. With stunningly piercing blue 10cm (4 inch) flowers, these plants are exceptional.
Meconopsis sheldonii 'Lingholm' has been awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit (AGM)
Sowing: Sow February to June or September to October.
The type of compost used for seed germination is not too critical. An important feature is for it to have high air porosity. The incorporation of grit enabling minimum root damage when pricking out is also preferable.
Place seed on the surface of the compost and cover with a very fine sprinkling of sieved compost or vermiculite. Water the pots from below (to avoid seed disturbance), or from above with a fine spray.
Seal the container inside a polythene bag or cover with glass or plastic to protect from heavy rain but not frost. Place outdoors in a cool greenhouse, coldframe or sheltered corner.
Keep the compost moist, never allow surface to dry out, especially after germination has taken place.
Germination can take two weeks to several months, sometimes occurring in the second year. Once germinated, place at 10 to 15°C (50 to 59°F) and water carefully from the base of the container to avoid damping off problems. Very dilute fungicide applied on first observing the problem can help.
Prick out seedlings at the two or three leaf-stage. Avoid damaging the stem, by handling the leaves only. Transfer gently to the same light compost, avoiding compaction. Place in a cooler place with shade from strong sunlight until growth has resumed.
Keep the plants growing actively, and repot before the pots become root-bound. It is important not to let the plants suffer a check in growth. Transfer into the garden when well grown, plant 45cm (18in) apart in deep, moist loam in a sheltered, partially shaded position. Remove spent flowers to encourage prolific blooming. At the end of the season, leave a few plants to die down and self seed. Others can be pulled up and composted.
Cottage/Informal Garden, Flower Borders and Beds, Woodland Garden
Meconopsis is a genus of about 45 species of annuals, biennials, and deciduous or evergreen, often short lived or monocarpic perennials. They occur in moist, shady, mountainous areas, alpine meadows, woodland, scrub, scree, and rocky slopes in the Himalayas, Burma, and China, with one species from W. Europe.
The species has been introduced into cultivation during the past 150 years from their mountainous Asian habitats. In recent years a lot of focus has shifted onto the nomenclature and identification of many plants due to hybridisation in gardens.
The genus name is from the Greek mekon meaning 'poppy', and opsis which indicates a resemblance, so meaning 'resembling a poppy'.
M. x sheldonii is the hybrid created when M. baileyi is crossed with M. grandis, either species being the pollen or seed parent. The name M. x sheldonii is well known to Meconopsis enthusiasts and is often encountered in books, articles, nursery catalogues and seed-lists.
There is evidence that this hybrid occurred independently in the early 1930s in several gardens as widely separated as in the south of England and in Scotland. The first instance recorded was by William George Sheldon in 1934. It arose spontaneously in his garden at Oxted in Surrey, where the Nepal form of M. grandis (the seed parent) was growing near M. baileyi (the pollen parent).
It was described and named by George Taylor in 1936, and given an Award of Merit in 1937 by the Royal Horticultural Society.
Plants are often found with the synonym Meconopsis grandis.
- Additional Information
Average Seed Count 25 seeds Family Papaveraceae Genus Meconopsis Species sheldonii Cultivar Lingholm (Fertile Blue Group) Synonym Meconopsis grandis Common Name Himalayan or Tibetan Blue Poppy Hardiness Hardy Perennial Flowers Late spring to early summer Height 60-90cm (24-36in) Spread 45-60cm (18-24in) Position Partial Shade Soil Deep, moist, loamy, well drained, acidic, Time to Sow Sow February to June or September to October.