California Gardens - The Year Round Gardening Site

Romneya coulteri - Matilija Poppy

The Matilija Poppy is a garden favorite for many people. Romneya coulteri is often difficult to get started though. And even more difficult to keep going in a container, hence the seemingly exorbitant prices nurseries charge. I usually plant 3 or more Matilija Poppies just to get one growing. While establishing Romneya coulteri there is a fine line between watering enough to keep them alive and watering so much that they rot. Once they are established they do great. Romneya coulteri can even become something of a pest due to the running roots. Although I have a hard time calling anything this beautiful a pest. The Matilija Poppy can be found in the wild in conditions as diverse as a sunny stream bank and a dry scree slope. The type specimen, the first to be described for science was taken from the Los Padres Forest above Ojai. Romneya coulteri has an interesting seed pod that can dry out to make a miniature bird cage. I usually prune Matilija Poppies back severely each winter to remove the dead material. Without this winter pruning they can be a little ragged for a kept garden. Romneya coulteri is noted for having the largest blossom of any of the California native plants.

High resolution photos of Romneya coulteri are part of our garden image collection.

Romneya coulteri, Matilija Poppy

Romneya coulteri, Bird Cage Seed Pod