Sow Meconopsis seeds from February to June on the surface of free-draining, loam-based compost such as John Innes No.1, and cover with a fine sprinkling of vermiculite. Place pots or trays outdoors in a cold frame or seal the container inside a polythene bag and place in the refrigerator (not freezer) for five weeks. Keep the compost moist and protect outdoor sowings from heavy rain but not frost, which is often beneficial to germination. After five weeks or when seedlings start to germinate, move containers to a warm position under cover, at 10-15C (50-59F). Germination can be erratic and may take 1-3 months.
When seedlings have two true leaves, transplant them into 7.5cm (3") pots or module trays. Grow on in cool, well lit conditions and keep Meconopsis plants shaded from strong sunlight. When plants are well grown, gradually acclimatise them to outdoor conditions for 7-10 days before planting outdoors. Plant Himalayan poppies at a distance of 45cm (18") apart in a sheltered spot in semi or dappled shade – a cool, moist woodland situation is ideal, but the Himalayan poppy will also thrive in a moist, shaded border. Meconopsis baileyi prefers a rich, moist, neutral to acid, well drained soil that remains moist throughout summer, but does not sit wet in winter.
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