Plume poppy, Macleaya cordata

Macleaya cordata

Plume poppy

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flowers
Flowers

Plant does not flower in January

Plant does not flower in February

Plant does not flower in March

Plant does not flower in April

Plant does not flower in May

Plant does not flower in June

Plant does flower in July

Plant does flower in August

Plant does not flower in September

Plant does not flower in October

Plant does not flower in November

Plant does not flower in December

  • Botanical name: Macleaya cordata
  • Common name: Plume poppy
  • Family: Papaveraceae
  • Plant Type: Perennial
Flower colour:

White

Foliage colour:

Blue​/​Green

Plume poppies, Macleaya, are vigorous herbaceous perennials primarily grown for their bold and beautiful foliage. Like opium poppies, to which they’re related, plume poppies have glaucous grey-green leaves that stand out all the more when it rains and the foliage sparkles with moisture.

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Most commonly grown are Macleaya cordata and Macleaya microcarpa. Both are very similar in appearance to each other, but Macleaya cordata spreads less than the former and has paler flower plumes, compared to the pinker flowers of Macleaya microcarpa. It’s a fantastic addition to a herbaceous border where the beautifully structured leaves can be admired, while pollinators love the small but numerous flowers.

For best results grow Macleaya cordata in full sun or light shade in a deep, moist and well-drained soil, with plenty of organic matter added to boost soil fertility. Plume poppies are known for being vigorous spreaders, to be prepared to limit this by going around the clump with a spade to sever adventitious roots. Macleaya cordata holds the Royal Horticultural Society’s prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

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Propagation can be carried out by dividing clumps in spring or autumn, or by taking root cuttings in winter.

How to grow Macleaya cordata

  • Plant size

    2m height

    1.2m spread

  • Aspect

    South facing, west facing

  • Position in border

    Middle, back

  • Sun exposure: Full shade, partial shade
  • Hardiness: Hardy
  • Soil type: Acidic / chalky / alkaline / clay / heavy / moist / well drained / light / sandy

Plant calendar

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Plant
Plant

Do not Plant in January

Do not Plant in February

Do Plant in March

Do Plant in April

Do Plant in May

Do not Plant in June

Do not Plant in July

Do not Plant in August

Do Plant in September

Do Plant in October

Do Plant in November

Do not Plant in December

Flowers
Flowers

Plant does not flower in January

Plant does not flower in February

Plant does not flower in March

Plant does not flower in April

Plant does not flower in May

Plant does not flower in June

Plant does flower in July

Plant does flower in August

Plant does not flower in September

Plant does not flower in October

Plant does not flower in November

Plant does not flower in December

Divide
Divide

Do not Divide in January

Do not Divide in February

Do Divide in March

Do Divide in April

Do not Divide in May

Do not Divide in June

Do not Divide in July

Do not Divide in August

Do not Divide in September

Do Divide in October

Do Divide in November

Do not Divide in December

Take cuttings
Take cuttings

Do Take cuttings in January

Do Take cuttings in February

Do not Take cuttings in March

Do not Take cuttings in April

Do not Take cuttings in May

Do not Take cuttings in June

Do not Take cuttings in July

Do not Take cuttings in August

Do not Take cuttings in September

Do not Take cuttings in October

Do not Take cuttings in November

Do Take cuttings in December

Cut back
Cut back

Do not Cut back in January

Do not Cut back in February

Do not Cut back in March

Do not Cut back in April

Do not Cut back in May

Do not Cut back in June

Do not Cut back in July

Do not Cut back in August

Do not Cut back in September

Do Cut back in October

Do Cut back in November

Do not Cut back in December

Macleaya cordata and wildlife

Macleaya cordata is known for attracting bees and other pollinators. It has nectar/pollen rich flowers.

Attractive to Bees

Does not attract Beneficial insects

Does not attract Birds

Does not attract Butterflies​/​Moths

Attractive to Other pollinators

Is Macleaya cordata poisonous?

Macleaya cordata is harmful if ingested and causes an upset stomach.

Toxic to:

Toxic to Cats

Toxic to Dogs

Toxic to Horses

Toxic to Livestock

Toxic to People

No reported toxicity to:

No reported toxicity to Birds

Plants that go well with Macleaya cordata