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Growing Matilija Poppies

Growing Matilija Poppies
Matilija poppies, or Romneya coulteri for my purest friends, has the largest flower of any poppy. It’s native to dry, sunny areas from California to Baja. The flower petals are bright with yellow-orange stemains in the center that look just like a golf ball. The flowers also measure 6+ inches across and usually begin in late March and can continue until August, given a bit of water. So, how do you get them started, and how do you take care of them? They have a bad reputation of being both difficult to start and invasive. The latter can actually be true.

To start them growing properly there are just 4 rules to follow:
1. Take them out of the nursery container and place them in the hole without breaking the rootball. Breaking the rootball is pretty much instant death.
2. Plant them in fall or winter- you’ll have much better luck getting them established. This is true of most natives, too.
3. Plant them in a sunny spot at or above the level of the surrounding soil, and water.
4. Water them 1x per week and no more to get them started.
If you can only remember the first two points, you’re 90% on your way!
The rest of the “care” is pretty easy, there isn’t much. There are some “what some people do” sorts of things to note that will make them look better and flower longer. Some people give them a good soaking monthly even after they’re established. That extends the flowering time. Some people cut them back in fall or winter and that makes them look a lot neater. As soon as they are cut back, new clean growth starts quickly.
They indeed can be aggressive, so give them room, especially when planting them in sandy soil.
There, done.

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Featured Plant



Botanical Name

Iris germanica TB 'Cloud Ballet' Re

Common Name

Cloud Ballet


Flower Color

Light Blue / White

Mature Size

2-1/2 tall × 2 wide

Climactic Requirements


Full Sun / Filtered Sun


Profile Availability

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