VIU Milner Gardens and Woodland

Plant Pick: Plume Poppy

Latin name:  Macleaya cordata

by Vancouver Island Master Gardeners Association

A tall graceful grass like perennial with a heart shaped and lobed leaf of olive green to blue, that once mature will reach about 25cm, shows off a plume of many floretted panicle of buff coloured flowers that gives movement and height to any garden.  Erect stems can reach up to eight feet are a blend of orange/red. The leaves are further enhanced with prominent reddish veins giving more texture and colour interest.   This plant can be used a s a screen, a specimen plant or as a grouping among shrubs.  It will drop seed and some will say it’s invasive spreading by underground suckers.  Very tolerant of most soils it will do best in moist , well drained soil in full sun, but perhaps with less favourable conditions it may not be quite so vigorous (as in less vigorous to spread)  It can be divided in late autumn.

Plume Poppy         Plume Poppy         Plume Poppy

Photos courtesy of:  Kim Hammond.




Rhizomatous perennial

Foliage type:

Heart shaped lobes  


2.5 m x 1 m

Hardiness Zone:

Hardiness zones 4-9. 


Full sun but will tolerate part shade

Flower colour:

Buff/beige (leaves are the show)

Leaf colour:

Blue to olive green

Flower time:

Mid summer but persists to the fall

Preferred soil

and Watering:

Tolerant but needs well drained


A plant with a very striking appearance that lasts long into the fall season.  A large container may be a good option to prevent any fear of it being over vigorous.