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Monday, April 2, 2012

Contained

macleaya cordata leaf  1388
Macleaya cordata (Plume Poppy)
Two years ago I found a few Macleaya plants at a local nursery. I'd wanted some for years, and had never actually seen them for sale before...so I grabbed them without a second thought. I love their big, powdery-blue leaves. Unfortunately, I didn't have anywhere to put them. Everything I'd read about them mentioned how the could spread aggressively, and were best planted within some sort of barrier.

I'll admit, I often ignore such warnings, but this time decided to heed the warnings. Also, it was fall, and I wasn't in the mood to dig up any more of the yard at that point. So...I decided to get a stock tank for the Macleaya, which seemed a great solution...it was large enough to give the Macleaya room to spread out, but could fit in our driveway and "hide" our garbage and recycling bins.

macleaya cordata  1397
After it emerged last spring, I was expecting a huge amount of growth...after all it's not rare for them to be 8' tall. For some reason, they kind of struggled along last year, barely topping 3' tall by the end of summer.

stock tank  1396
Here they are this weekend, on the right side of the stock tank. This weekend, as I was cleaning out leaves from the tank, I found a surprise...

macleaya sprout 1  1394
Just to the side of the original plant were a few new shoots! I was surprised...after their lackluster performance last year, I wasn't expecting them to have spread at all. I continued cleaning out the stock tank and guess what...

macleaya sprout 2  1387
Clear on the other end of the tank were more Macleaya shoots! Strangely, they seem to have grown under the patch of Monarda in the middle of the tank and sprung up on the far side. As excited as I am at the prospect of a lush patch of these in the coming year, I'm certainly glad that for once I was actually smart enough to heed others' warnings and contain this plant!

47 comments:

  1. It's easy for me to ignore such warnings, too. But once in a while I'm smart enough to remember the state of the rhode beds at a house we once bought in Oregon. The previous owners, bless them, had allowed spearmint to colonize to the extent I feared the venerable old bushes might be choked. I try to keep that image in mind whenever I'm tempted to plant "just a dab" of a thug!

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    1. OMG...yes...those are the sort of things that we all inherit with our houses, aren't they! We got a lovely patch of English Ivy along our driveway...took us 2 summers to fully eradicate it!

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  2. Hi Scott,

    I've never heard of this plant, but I think I'll have to go have a look on the good old internet now :)

    Looking forward to seeing photos of it later in the year, and it sure has put on some impressive shoots.... I think it won't be long before the entire thing is stuffed full of it!

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    1. I sure hope so...a mature clump is a thing of beauty! I'll be sure to post updates :-)

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  3. No matter how beautiful its flower, the aggressiveness of this plant has kept it out of my garden and off my wish list.

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    1. I don't blame you...I'm hoping I can keep it under control!

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  4. Ooh, where did you buy your stock tank? I have a thuggish stand of bamboo that's going to get the same treatment.

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    1. IMHO the best place to get a stock tank 'round here is Burns Feed Store out in Gresham. No granted it's been a couple of years since we've been out there but we have bought all 11 (yes ELEVEN) of ours from them.

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    2. Oh yeah...we just got a bamboo and it WILL go in a stock tank as well...I;m taking NO chances! I wish I could remember where we got it...I remember it was waaaaayyyy out on 26...at a farm supply store on the way to Mt. Hood. That place in Gresham is probably closer...I'll have to check it out...we need to get that bamboo a home before too long ;-)

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  5. How exciting. I can't wait to see them later this season!

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  6. Me again, Scott. I just googled this plant to see how big it gets. Take a look at this:

    http://www.gardeninggonewild.com/?p=2894

    it's a gorgeous plant. You were VERY wise to contain it!

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    1. OMG...that's amazing! I can't even imagine it being so big at this point...it's still so tiny!

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  7. Great container!! From the above comments I think it is good to have inside a container!!

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  8. Yeah they are sort of evil. I'm not a huge fan of crazy spreaders anymore. Bad experience with goose-neck loosestrife and Physalis.

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    1. OMG...you just gave me a shudder...my aunt had the Loosestrife...what a thug! I'm generally pretty cautious as well...especially since I just don't have room for anything that wants to take over the world!

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  9. I guess it was busy working on all its roots last year. Sounds like you were wise to put it in that awesome container!

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  10. Haha...the joke is on me as I thought they had a bad reputation of spreading because of all the seeds they produce. I had no idea they are rhizomatous spreaders...I've been out there cheering on what few are poking out of the ground. Maybe I need to rethink that.

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    1. OMG...you just never know...and it's probably like everything else...for some people it won't be as thuggish...I'd keep an eye out, just in case.

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  11. I have out of control oenethera which I'm sure would have made a lovely potted plant two years ago... :( good for you.

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    1. OMG...thanks for the reminder...I've ALMOST bought some Oenothera several times...but always put it back...remembering the words of others who've lamented planting it!

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  12. It's great when a plan actually works! I'm glad you listened to the warnings. It does have beautiful leaves. I am wondering what I will find next year in my stock tanks, planted with bamboo and Tetrapanx.

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    1. Hahaha...I know...especially since it seems like they so rarely do! Sounds like your stock tank is the plant world equivalent to Clash of the Titans!

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  13. You know what they say: The first year they sleep. The second year they creep. The third year they leap. I'm looking forward to photos later in the season. They're going to look wonderful.

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    1. You said it! Can't wait to see what they do this year!

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  14. When a few days ago you posted about your macleaya for the first time I then went and checked for mine. It was sprouting nicely. Now again I have to go and check again on that because it may suffer of drought. A big container is a big solution for your medium sized garden but I wanted mine to spread freely instead. Guess what? The little b***rd is (are, because they are 2) stuck in there with loads of space around and they kind of ask for water every week. So my 'container' is actually the drought. Did you know they are of the poppies family? It sounds kind of weird to me. They seem to have only that yellow sticky milk in common...

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    1. Hahahahahahaha...omg...you are so right, sometimes just the conditions of the garden are enough to keep a plant in check! I checked the sap last year, after I heard that from someone else...so weird, isn't it?

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  15. Hi Scott, first I love the container your choose to house the Macleaya cordata. It's amazing to me how prolific some plants can be. I tend not to heed the warnings about aggressive growers and you've just reminded me about the need to. I think your Macleaya will fill up the container and provide just the screen you desired. Cheers, Jenni

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    1. I hope so, Jenni! I've ignored warnings in the past, and have lived to regret it...so I'm trying to be more mindful, going forward...well, trying ;-)

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  16. Yes, thanks for the reminder. I'm having some issues with Purple Wintercreeper now. It's not native here, either. Most years it would be held in check by a subzero winter, but this year we barely had winter and moved to summer in March. The Plume Poppies are beautiful, though, and should be fine in your containers. Great post!

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    1. Oh yeah...I'm a little worried about what this year holds in store for us, with the winter as mild as it was...things could get out of hand VERY quickly!

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  17. I was given some of this years ago after admiring its bold foliage and cool color. I was reluctant to plant it in my small garden, but it pulls up easily enough, and it is worth pulling a few just to see the orange color of the roots.

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    1. Wow...I'll have to pull up a few to see that!

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  18. I'd heard of Plume Poppy but have never seen one. I love the leaves. I think it looks great in that container (which I also love). Can't wait to see it in bloom.

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    1. Me too...I think they're really lovely...hoping for flowers this year!

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  19. I wonder if you heard my gasp 3500 miles away when I read "I grabbed them (plural)." When one elephant just won't do, plant two or perhaps three. Warm years they can grow to about 10 feet here. Your containment plan should make for a very cool looking tropical explosion.

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    1. Hahahahaha...I guess I mean "them" as in a pot of "them"...not multiple pots!!! Hahahahaha. I'm hoping for something close to that height...fingers crossed ;-)

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  20. I didn't realize Plume Poppy could get so tall! Glad you decided to contain it. I have some plants in my garden that I wish were only in containers!

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    1. Oh yeah...there are some large clumps in another part of town that are easily 8-9' tall...and they are just amazing!

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  21. I did the same thing with my Petasites japanicus and Chinese lanterns ...phew . I've learned my lesson . Perhaps will see some Plume poppies at the exchange ???

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    1. OMG...I think you were wise there...I've seen those swallow entire gardens! I'll try to dig up a few of the little sprouts...they should transplant well, don't you think?

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  22. I have Plume Poppy planted in submerged pots in the garden and they still pop up all over the place. They are easy to pull out though and they are so unique that I'm not getting rid of them. They are very striking in the garden and add great texture.

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    1. Nice to know! I thought about planting them like that too...so I would get to enjoy their texture in the garden...not just near it...maybe I'll pot up some of these sprouts and see what happens :-)

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