Californian Tree Poppy

Certainly, one of the most talked about plants this month is the Californian Tree Poppy also known as Romneya coulteri. As the name suggests it is native to California and northern Mexico, preferring a warm, sunny spot soil with good drainage. Its distinguishing features include Big white flowers with a bright yellow middle (some might say it Looks like a huge fried egg, so it’s fittingly placed right next to our tearoom!).

It is a semi-evergreen suckering herbaceous perennial, which grows to 2m in height and spreads to 2m in width. It has divided, grey-green leaves. The flowers are large (approx. 15cm in across) and it has crinkled, pure white petals and a boss of deep yellow stamens. The plant flowers from June till August.

Marwood’s tree poppy was planted 5 years ago by our previous head gardener. It has grown slowly and steadily since, flowering each year but not impressively so. This year it has grown a tremendous amount and become smothered in flowers. Planted very close to a large tearoom window, it can be viewed from two sides and has drawn interest from dinners and garden visitors.

In spring the area around the plant was weeded and cleared, in preparation for the development of the Mediterranean planting scheme in the surrounding bed. We have had some incredibly warm and dry weather. These have combined to form some ideal growing conditions for our tree poppy.

Romneya resents disturbance, however after several years the plant can become Invasive. Its spreading tubers can undermine nearby slabs or patios, possibly a worry for our nearby tearoom. It can be kept under control by pruning to the ground every two or three years. Vigorous new shoots are more floriferous and more manageable as a result.

Naturally, garden visitors have been asking us whether it would be possible to buy this plant from us and the answer is unfortunately, not yet. First, we need to propagate from it. Romneya coulteri Is famously hard to propagate and expensive to buy as the plant won’t root from cuttings. Instead, a novel technique of encouraging the root suckers to grow then exposing to light, causes it to produce new shoots. These shoots can then be removed from the parent plant and grown on. This is exactly what we intend to do! Hopefully many plants should be available to buy from us in 2023 so keep a look out on our online sales and plant sales shop…