Oriental Poppy (Papaver orientalis)


Sun (best) or part sun


Early summer


Well-drained, average fertility


24 to 40 inches


Bright red with black center


Very hardy - zone 3


Borders. wild flower gardens


Easy but transplant with care. Keep leaves dry to prevent mildew. Foliage dies back in summer so take care not to destroy. New foliage appears in fall.




Although they bloom for only a couple of weeks in the early summer, the spectacular show makes poppies well worth having in any garden. Poppies are very hardy and easy and can be used in a mixed border or for naturalizing. They can be used in bouquets if the flowers are cut just as the buds begin to open. Stems must be seared. The mixed form comes in a variety of whites, oranges, yellows, and pinks. "Brilliant" is a deep blood red with a black spot. Both are 30 to 40 inches tall.

Plant poppies where they will receive at least six hours of sunlight a day. Any soil will do as long as it is well-drained. Space them about 2 feet apart being careful not to damage the brittle roots. They prefer to grow undisturbed, but if additional plants are wanted the roots can be divided. This must be done when the plant is dormant in the late summer or early fall when the foliage has died back and all but disappeared.

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