Blue Poppy Care


Himalayan Blue Poppy Photo: John Forbes

Himalayan Blue Poppy Photo: John Forbes


Blue Poppy Alert!

If you bought some of those expensive Himalayan blue poppies in the springtime, now’s the time to put slug bait around them and cover them with upturned terra cotta pots. It helps keep the crowns dry and viable. The temperamental blue poppy doesn’t mind our cold (they ARE from the Himalayas) but they do hate our rain. In the Himalayas, they are covered with snow while they are dormant, so they stay dry….cold but dry.

Naked Spruces

The South Sound is loaded with big spruce trees with no inside needles. If you have a spruce in your yard… now is the time to check it for spruce aphids and avoid the problem.

Even if your spruce looks solid and full, check anyway because there is a nasty little bug out there called the spruce aphid that feasts on spruce needles in cooler weather. You won’t see damage until June but now is when they’re in their nasty cycle of sucking plant juices, squirting honeydew, giving birth, dropping eggs, sucking plant juices, squirting honeydew and on and on. It’s as bad as it sounds. Once the inside of the spruce is “de-needled”, new needles do NOT grow back.

To find out if you have a party going on in your spruce tree take a piece of dark paper and shake some of the branches onto the paper. Look for tiny aphids “salted” on the paper with a magnifying glass. If you see evidence of aphids (lots of dots)…use your higher-pressure sweeper hose to knock the aphids down from the tree. Make this a weekly habit until you see new growth. By then the aphids should be either dead or full. There are a few species of spruce that thrive in our area without this problem. They are: Serbian spruce (Picea omorika), Oriental spruce (P. orientalis), and Japanese/tiger tail spruce (P. polita).

Needled evergreens are often thought of as the “bones” of a landscape. Avoid the spruce aphid problem and plant something besides a spruce.

Reprinted with permission, Premier Media Group, South Sound Magazine