Bush Poppy Care: Learn Tips On Growing Dendromecon Rigida

Dendromecon Rigida [den-droh-MEE-kon] [RIG-ih-duh] is an evergreen shrub requiring plenty of space.

Rigida produces large blooms of yellow flowers in the spring and summer.

Yellow native Dendromecon rigida poppy

You’ll probably see Rigida labeled as the common names:

  • Bush poppy
  • Tree poppy
  • Island bush poppy

It’s one of the larger species in the Papaveraceae family, better known as the poppy family.

Other poppies include:

This flowering California native shrub comes from the drier regions of California and craves warmth and sunlight.

With proper care, it’s an easy plant to keep, providing a splash of color for many years.

Dendromecon Bush Poppy Care

Size and Growth

The bush poppy can reach eight to nine feet when given enough space and produces long, thin evergreen leaves.

The leaves have a leathery texture. As an evergreen, they also remain in place throughout the year.

It grows at a moderate rate, making it easy to keep the growth in check with regular pruning.

Flowering and Fragrance

The bush poppy is known for its large, lovely yellow flowers.

The plant is an early bloomer with the first flowers appearing in late March or the beginning of April.

The flowers have a light scent, but it’s not very noticeable.

They typically reach about one to three inches with four satiny petals and many stamens.

Light and Temperature

This shrub is native to California and grows in USDA hardiness zones 7 and 8. It doesn’t tolerate freezing temperatures.

In much of the US, the plant grows best in a warm, enclosed place such as a porch or conservatory.

The ideal summer temperatures are between 70° and 75° degrees Fahrenheit.

In the winter, it should never get below 45° degrees Fahrenheit.

The Californian shrub needs lots of sunlight. Full sun is preferred, but direct sunlight should be avoided when kept indoors.

Watering and Feeding

Water the soil evenly throughout the active growing seasons, waiting for the plant to dry between watering.

Don’t pour water over the plants. Pour directly on the soil.

Soil and Transplanting

The bush poppy thrives in rich soil. Use regular potting soil combined with some coarse sand to improve the drainage and create the right environment.

If the plant is grown in a container, repotting is recommended each spring.

Wait until it gets warm in the spring and then move the plant outdoors for the season while repotting with fresh soil.

Maintenance and Grooming

The plant can be trimmed back or pruned at any time, but it’s best during the warmer months, giving the stems time to heal before winter.

Keep it trimmed back as needed to manage growth, mainly when grown in tubs or containers.

The bush poppy can reach up to eight or nine feet with a spread of several feet.

Luckily, it doesn’t grow too quickly, so keeping up with the trimming isn’t hard.

How To Propagate Dendromecon Rigida

Propagation is possible with seeds or cuttings.

Save the cuttings when grooming and then try growing them into their own plants.

Cuttings with heels work best.

  • Propagate in the late summer when the temperatures are warmest.
  • Dip the cuttings in rooting hormone powder.
  • Place in regular potting soil combined with sandy humus.
  • Cover the container with plastic and place it a warm, sunny spot.
  • The cuttings require regular watering and shouldn’t dry out.
  • Check every other day and add water as needed.
  • The plants should take a couple of months to take root, at which point you can remove the cover and transplant the plants to their own containers.

Propagating with seed is also possible.

Collect seeds from the dried flowers after they bloom or bought in a store.

Sow the seeds in early spring, and you may get a bloom in later summer.

Tree Poppy Dendromecon Pests or Diseases

Most signs of pests or diseases are detected by looking at the leaves.

If the leaves develop brown patches, they may be getting too much direct sunlight through the window.

To prevent scorching, move the plant to a spot with a little more shade.

Yellow leaves indicate that the plant doesn’t have the best soil.

It could also be the result of overwatering or poor drainage.

Dry the plant and then transplant in rich soil with proper drainage, adding coarse sand if needed.

Pale patches may be a sign of aphids or red spider mites.

Pale batches of the leaves are due to sucking insects while pale spots with webbing indicate mites.

Treat minor infestations with insecticide or miticide. With a severe infestation, the plant may need to be tossed.

Suggested Uses For Dendromecon Poppy

The colorful bush poppy is best when grown in large spaces with lots of sunlight, such as a conservatory.

The Dendromecon poppy grows well when moved outdoors in the summer and brought in over winter.

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