Family: Papaveraceae
Common Name: Asiatic Poppy

This genus from the Himalayas, western China and Europe produces brightly coloured, poppy flowers. Most species are quite challenging to grow and need a cool, moist climate to succeed. They are generally grown in woodland gardens or in shrub borders.


M. aculeata, zone 7, from the Himalayas, grows to 60 cm (24 in), with lovely blue or sometimes mauve, summer flowers.

M. betonicifolia, blue poppy, zone 7, can grow to nearly 2 m (6 ft) tall. It is one of the most exquisite of the species, with satiny, pure sky blue flowers with yellow stamens in summer. The oblong, hairy, mid-green leaves form basal rosettes.

M. cambrica, Welsh poppy, zone 6, from western Europe, has cheerful, yellow or orange flowers that often pop up in unlikely places, such as between bricks. It grows from seed to 45 cm (18 in) high. Var. aurantiaca has orange flowers; 'Fiore Pleno' has double orange and yellow flowers.

M. delavayi, zone 8, from China, grows to 25 cm (10 in), with deep purple flowers. It is a good choice for rockeries.

M. grandis, zone 5, to about 1 m (3 ft), has deep blue flowers in midsummer.

M. quintuplinervia, harebell poppy, zone 8, from Tibet and western China, is a perennial, to 45 cm (18 in), with pale purple flowers. It can be propagated by division.


Grow in a slightly acid to neutral, moisture-retentive yet well-drained soil, with plenty of organic matter such as leaf mould. Choose a sheltered position with partial shade, and plant in bold groups or drifts. Mulch with organic matter. Propagate from seed sown as soon as ripe in a garden frame.


There are species suited to various climatic zones, but all need cool, moist climates.

Click to view map of zones
Climate zone map
Mazus      Medinilla