- Author: Maureen Clark
Oriental Poppies (Papaver orientale)
Now is the time to start your Oriental poppy plants. Oriental Poppies come in a variety of colors. The paper-like petals are almost translucent and are very soft to the touch. The blooms only last a day or two. Be sure to deadhead the flowers. They look best when they are planted in large quantities.
The Oriental Poppy flowers last for a few months and the plants are perennials. They prefer morning sun and afternoon shade unless you live near the coast. They are very easy to grow. Poppies like average - low water. They do not like wet feet or soggy soil. They are deer resistant and can handle winter temperatures as low as USDA zone 5. They grow to 3-4' tall and 1-2' wide. They will spread by seed and create new growth in clumps. They have white taproots that can be divided carefully in the fall.
How to start your own Oriental Poppies.
Mix one part humus-rich potting soil with two parts vermiculite. Moisten the soil mixture and put it in 4-inch pots. Mix 1 part poppy seed with 3 parts fine sand. This prevents you from overseeding the 4” pots. Sprinkle the seeds into the pots. Top them with a little vermiculite. Spray the soil lightly with water. Cover the seeds in plastic until they sprout. Then remove the plastic. Water the seedling from the bottom using a soaking tray. Keep them evenly moist. Thin the seeds by cutting the ones you don't want using small scissors. Plant them when there is no danger of frost.
Here are some of my favorite Papaver hybridum varieties.
Danebrog Poppy, Lavender Feathers, and Swansdown Poppy