California Gardens - The Year Round Gardening Site

Romneya coulteri - Matilija Poppy

The Matilija Poppy is a garden favorite for many people with its large white flowers. 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 be sure 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.

Romneya coulteri, Matilija Poppy

White flowers with yellow stamens attract bees - Romneya coulteri - Matilija Poppy. High resolution photos are part of our garden image collection.

Romneya coulteri, Bird Cage Seed Pod

Dried seedpods look like miniature bird cages - Romneya coulteri - Matilija Poppy. High resolution photos are part of our garden image collection.

Other plants from the Poppy Family featured on this site:
Argemone munita
Dendromecon harfordii
Dendromecon rigida
Eomecon chionantha
Eschscholzia caespitosa
Eschscholzia californica
Eschscholzia californica Carmine King
Eschscholzia californica White Linen
Eschscholzia minutiflora
Eschscholzia parishii
Glaucium flavum
Hunnemannia fumariifolia
Platystemon californicus
Romneya coulteri