Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Plume Poppy, Bocconia
Macleaya cordata

Family: Papaveraceae (pa-pav-er-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Macleaya (ma-KLAY-uh) (Info)
Species: cordata (kor-DAY-tuh) (Info)

Synonym:Bocconia cordata
Synonym:Bocconia japonica

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

13 members have or want this plant for trade.


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:
Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry
Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible

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There are a total of 20 photos.
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7 positives
5 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive jrtinker On Jun 27, 2014, jrtinker from Palmer, AK (Zone 3b) wrote:

This is a wonderful architectural plant but seems to only survive in Alaska when planted against the foundation of a building where it gets some protection from wind and drying out too much. It does spread quickly along the foundation, but is easy enough to dig out every year to manage the size of the patch. Where happy it gets six to ten feet tall and wide here, so it needs some space and staking.

Neutral coriaceous On Feb 25, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

A very beautiful plant, grown mainly for its bold and beautiful foliage, blue-green on top and silver below. I've seen this grow to 7-8' tall. The pale apricot colored flowers are attractive but very transient.

BE FOREWARNED: it sends out long underground runners at lightning speed. I have friends who're willing to dig them out as the price to be paid for the glorious foliage. (At least the runners are fairly shallow.) I've decided that this plant isn't worth the effort.

It doesn't like being confined to a big sunken bottomless pot. I don't know how it knows, but it stayed short when I confined it to a 10 gallon pot.

I find self-sown seedlings a hundred feet or more from the parent, not in great numbers but often in places where they may not be spotted till they're well established.

This has naturalized in much of eastern North America. It's considered invasive of natural habitat in Tennessee.

Positive jbeau47 On Jul 27, 2011, jbeau47 from VERO BEACH, FL wrote:

Attracts HONEYBEES! Since they are on the decline, this is a very important plant.

Positive akcrafter On Oct 10, 2008, akcrafter from Philadelphia, PA wrote:

I planted three small plants in a moderately sunny, well drained bed. I thought two died, but they just had done their work underground, making inroads into the back of the bed, eventually popping up in six spots. One year old now they are healthy and about three feet tall. I like their erect, free-standing manner at the back of the bed. They look nice with spirea, salvia, astilbe, daisies, penstemmon and bee balm. My border contains dianthus, hakone grass, small hosta, and variegated ajuga. The combination is really complemented by the grayish green of the plume poppy. I can see that the poppies will need to be controlled as they are a bit invasive.

Positive echinops On Jul 28, 2008, echinops from Logansport, IN (Zone 5b) wrote:

Yes, it can be invasive, but if you're careful, it's controllable.
It grows FAST. My clump came from a single sliced shovelfull of roots and within three years is probably 3' in circumference. I have mine in a small corner of the yard between our driveway and where the neighbors park and give it no special attention. Watered it a few times in the first year to get it established, but that's it. Chose the location partly because the plant is agressive and partly so that the plumes would catch the evening sun. Am very pleased with the effect.

Neutral Lizziewriter On Apr 30, 2008, Lizziewriter from Holmes, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:

Don't be fooled by the "poppy" name. We picked up three wee plants at a spring sale, and they grew huge and shot out the long tubers and runners and are spreading all over the place! I'm digging them out but a friend has some in a more appropriate spot and they are lovely -- tall and feathery and the birds like them. Exercise caution and enjoy.

Positive WUVIE On Sep 26, 2007, WUVIE from Hulbert, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Plume Poppy grows well in our area next to a shaded gate
next to a giant Black Walnut tree.

The foliage is simpy adorable, the leaf shapes render
material for many craft projects.

It appears to enjoy frequent watering, but in our gardens,
tolerates drought well. It is adored in our gardens and I
cannot wait until it begins to multiply.


Positive saskboy On Mar 4, 2007, saskboy from Regina, SK (Zone 3b) wrote:

mine grow about 7 feet tall. They get sun for only about 4 hours per day (N.E. exposure). The leaves are spectacular and it forms a great backdrop. everyone comments on the tropical looking gigantic foilage, not realizing its a very easily grown and completely trouble-free plant. Very hardy here in my zone 3 garden. Self seeds with abandon, but seedlings are not difficult to pull out. I cut back the main stems in late spring to create a more compact and full shrub. Flowers are somewhat attractive but insignificant, they are a light tan color. I water this plant deeply, but only every 2 weeks.

Neutral Starzz On Jun 12, 2003, Starzz from Newcastle, ON (Zone 5a) wrote:

The flowers on mine are a washed out pink\peach colour and mine gets taller than 6ft. Needs to be kept in check if you don't want it wandering into your other plants close by.

Positive kmnice On May 23, 2003, kmnice from Minneapolis, MN wrote:

Although a bit invasive (I took out about 8 new ones this year for each of my 3 locations!) - I like this plant. The flowers are very fragrant and when dried are quite an interesting addition to a dried arrangement.

Neutral lupinelover On Feb 1, 2003, lupinelover from Grove City, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

Heavy alkaline clay soil seems to kill this one.

Seed has very low fertility rates: sow as soon as possible for best results, no cold-stratification required.

Neutral smiln32 On Aug 26, 2002, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

There is 19 genera in Papaveraceae, 1 species in Macleaya. This plant does not originate in the US, but is found in nearly 20 states at this time.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Palmer, Alaska
, British Columbia
Denver, Colorado
Bourbon, Indiana
Logansport, Indiana
Louisville, Kentucky
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Reading, Massachusetts
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Wellfleet, Massachusetts
Scottville, Michigan
Minneapolis, Minnesota (2 reports)
Norfolk, Nebraska
Andover, New Hampshire
Dover, New Hampshire
Holmes, New York
Patterson, New York
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Greensboro, North Carolina
Cincinnati, Ohio (2 reports)
Dover, Ohio
Hulbert, Oklahoma
Portland, Oregon
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Spring Grove, Pennsylvania
, Saskatchewan
Austin, Texas
San Antonio, Texas (2 reports)
Salt Lake City, Utah
Seattle, Washington
Spokane, Washington

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