Romneya coulteri

nada1712August 1, 2011

I planted a small Romneya in May. I have kept it watered in our hot dry clmate. It grew in the first weeks a little (no flowers) and has now stopped. There have been some yellow leaves at the base of the plant for the last few weeks. It looks OK to me in that the stems leaves are fine. Is this normal?. Does it lose its leaves in the winter? We probably won't have rain for another 4 weeks. I know they are difficult to get going as they don't like root disturbance......am I past the danger period? (early August)

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bahia(SF Bay Area)

Whether it remains evergreen or goes dormant mostly depends on how warm or cold you get in winter. Here in northern California most people cut them back to the ground in late fall because the old stems tend to look a bit tattered by then. It is normal for oldest foliage to yellow by late summer. I'd continue to keep it moist until it cools down in fall. It is probably well enough established after 4months that it will make it long term. In early spring, give it rich compost and/or time release fertilizer to encourage strong new growth, and watered at least every few weeks in winter if you don't get regular winter rainfall. By the third summer it should be able to grow without much hand watering at all, but will bloom and grow more vigorously with moister conditions in the dry summer months.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 8:53PM
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calistoga_al

They seldom do well in heavy clay soil, preferring a sand based soil that drains well. Al

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 11:30PM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

Al, they seem to do just fine in flat clay loam soil here in Berkeley. _?

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 2:34AM
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slogal(CA z10a/Sunset 16)

I got a 1-gallon container a few years ago and kept it watered, thinking I didn't want to let it dry out. The plant died (I thought) so I stopped watering but didn't get around to composting it -- just left it alone. After some time of ignoring it, I noticed new green growth. I planted it right away and it has flourished ever since. So I'm wondering if you might be overwatering? They are very drought-tolerant.

I agree with both calistoga & bahia. Mine are doing well in clay loam (not a heavy clay) too.

I think Matilijas *prefer* sand (ie, they run rampant!). They are better behaved and spread more slowly for me here than a few miles away in the coastal sand. It helps if I prune heavily in the fall; then my patch tends to spend its energy growing UP instead of OUT.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 10:24PM
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calistoga_al

slogal, I like your user name. I married a slogal back in 1947, a good move. Al

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 9:19AM
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kelpmermaid(10S24)

Nada, I volunteer in a garden with a whole hillside of them. Here they bloom in May and June, but after that, the do look rather tattered. We usually cut them back at some point towards fall. As they spread by rhizome, you may not really know how well your plant has "taken" until next spring. It is often said that CA natives sleep the first year, creep the second year, and leap the third year. Good luck with your Matilija poppies! How did you find them there?

    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 1:04AM
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slogal(CA z10a/Sunset 16)

Al, many folks are loath to leave this area so it must have been a good move for your slogal, too!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 7:37PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

I married a slogal back in 1947, a good move. Al

How do you know it's going to last? ;^)

I love those Romneyas. One of the most photogenic plants ever. Not something I would have in my garden, but they are wow flowers.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 2:13PM
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calistoga_al

Hoovb that is the best closeup of a Romneya bloom I have ever seen. I would love to have one in my garden here in the hills of the coast range, but have not been able to get one to live here for more than a few months. The next one I will plant in a large container, where I can choose the mix. My slogal is holding up, but slowing down. Al

    Bookmark   August 13, 2011 at 8:34AM
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nada1712

Thanks everyone for the very informed views. It is great to hear about what happens to them in California. It is doing fine and a couple of tiny new leaves are showing. It is in sandy/clay soil. Very well draining. I bought it in the UK and brought it back here. I have never seen them in Spain. I am nervous to prune it. By the way we have no rain for 5 months. It is however on a dripper system at the moment.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 1:41PM
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socal23(USDA10/Sunset23)

Nada,

In their native range, rain is rare from May to November so I don't anticipate that your summer drought will faze them in the least once they are established. We are fairly similar to the Mediterranean basin climatologically speaking.

Ryan

    Bookmark   September 20, 2011 at 12:22PM
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nada1712

Absolutely, Southern California is considered a mediterranean climate zone. Your map shows exactly how it is. I have many californian natives, the best performer is Heteromeles arbutifolia (Toyon) I love it...and which does so well here. Don't have luck with Ceanothus though..3 have died on me. You should belong to the Mediterranean Garden Society,Google it...a world wide association with branches in So Cal.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2011 at 1:46PM
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socal23(USDA10/Sunset23)

I have been a member in the past, and I still receive invitations to many events (and have gone to several) I allowed my membership to expire because they were reluctant to join the 21st century (I see that you can now pay online - it used to be snail mail by check or money order only).

Unfortunately for you, Ceanothus species and cultivars from the north coast of the state are over-represented in the trade and this is probably exacerbated by the fact that I imagine most distribution to your neck of the woods is via Britain.

Ryan

    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 12:35AM
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nada1712

Well, in 2014 I still haven't had a flower.What am I doing wrong????

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 12:28PM
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terrestrial_man(9)

nada, they say a picture is worth a thousand words. How about uploading a photo of your plant. Otherwise
give a detailed description of it, of the frequency of watering, of how much sun it gets during the day-should be in full sun, the nature of your soil bed. That would be a good start.

Here is a link that might be useful: Check this link for great info

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 8:48PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

I was up in the Portland Oregon area a few weeks ago and was surprised at how well they do there. I saw them in several different places and they looked great. Surprised they looked so happy.

nada, yes, can you post a photo?

it should have bloomed by now. does it get winter rain? if so, how much? It's in full sun, right? I think they need sufficient water to bloom. My neighbor has some on a rocky slope that gets no irrigation, and with the past two years of only 5" of rain per year, they have not bloomed and look quite stressed.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 9:34PM
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nada1712

Hello, thanks so much for your response to my question. The Romneya is in sandy/ chalky dry soil with a lot of dropped leaves which turn into mulch in time. We have had no rain here on the Costa Blanca in Spain since September 2103 (Its been really bad as we normally have some good rain in Feb and May to tide us over the summer.It is on a drip watering system. Other plants around it which do well are Hibiscus, Feijoa. Lentisk, Agave, Lonicera, It gets about 3-4 hours of direct sun a day but the area is well lit and light. I have not pruned it yet and I am wondering if I should do this (but when?) I would love to have this beautiful flower from Southern California blooming in my garden!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 5:36AM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

It gets about 3-4 hours of direct sun a day

I think that's your problem: not enough sun. 6 hrs + should get it growing more strongly and blooming.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 2:29PM
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nada1712

When and how should I prune it??

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 7:58AM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

When they look really ratty, cut to the ground. Usually late summer/early fall, right before new stems emerge in the rainy season. Once they are established you can't get rid of them.

I would not do the cutting until you are sure the plants are established, but since your plants have been in the spot for several years now, they are likely pretty established.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 11:10AM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

What hoovb said, sun, sun, sun. This plant will take harsh conditions and love it. Given full sun it would quickly quintuple in size, then send out underground runners to expand its territory.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 2:09PM
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nada1712

Thanks everyone. This is all very helpful. I will give it much more sun by clearing some Pistacia lentiscus which overhangs it then prune it and see what happens!.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 10:03AM
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