A potpourri (below) of poppy/Papaver species
information as a supplement to other articles.
A plant-based page rather than our usual topic-based page. It's
a pivot point, one list of links to ours and
others' articles that involve Papaver species.
We're just introducing this set of perennial info pages. This
page is in process but Aster's
page is complete. We hope you'll take a look there and comment. Let
us know if the format was useful, share your suggestions, tell us
we shouldn't have this page at all... anything helps.
There are so many poppies worth growing that whole books have
been written to describe the cultivated species. If plants outside
the Papaver genus that bear a common name "poppy" are
included (California "poppy" is an Eschscholzia, horned
"poppy" is a Glacium, etc.) it's a totally unwieldy bunch.
So we'll start this page with a few of the common
Papavers, see how far we get before it becomes cluttered,
and decide then how we'll divide them!
Oriental poppy (Papaver orientale) may be the easiest,
showiest, but also the most frustrating poppy to grow. It will grow
almost anywhere in the sun that drainage is good and it's hardy
almost to the Arctic Circle. In bloom it is spectacular but the
season is very short and is followed immediately by a deterioration
of the foliage that creates a large heap of fading, tattered
greenery. Eventually, there's a big gap as the plant takes the
summer off. New foliage emerges and may persist through winter in
warm climates but it's not especially attractive.
Right: Oriental poppy
Our answer has been to double-up every oriental poppy with a
late emerging perennial such as a hardy Hibiscus
moscheutos hybrid, and cut or snap off the poppy foliage right
after the flower petals fall. We do not see any ill effects to
established plants and the companion plant can generally plug the
Iceland poppies (Papaver nudicaule) can contribute big
bright flowers to a sunny garden in a wide range of colors without
putting you through oriental poppy-type aggravation. Sow the seed,
allow mature plants to set seed, don't mulch heavily where that
seed falls, and you will probably enjoy successive generations of
these short-lived perennials.
Colonizing perennial field poppies are not a good idea in a
conventional perennial bed. We learned this, as many lessons, by
personal mistake -- we took a division of the Papaver
xx we saw at a friend's home, added it to our garden and
have it still, 40 years later despite having tried to subtact it
every year since. (The "x" meaning we've spent as much time
unsuccessfully trying to identify its species as we have trying to
dig it out.) If you think you want a mass of poppies and know where
some are growing, investigate first and accept a piece only once if
you are sure it's an annual.
Even though the foliage of the perennial poppies does die back
and during the second half of each growing season you may forget
they're there, the dying leaves can drive a tidy gardener mad. The
greenery can be clipped or pulled, a la oriental poppy but it's a
tedious job to neaten the plants' ever-expanding area each year
The quasi-legal opium poppy/bread poppy (Papaver
somniferum the ancient pain remedy is illegal to own as a
plant, pod or straw but is legal as seed for baking) is an annual
plant and so should not qualify on this page. However, it can be a
reliable garden resident as a self-sower and so showy that it
garners a lot of attention. Collect seed from plants with the color
and doubleness of your choosing from some other innocent gardener
and be aware that you're a law breaker in growing it on. Enough
Read more about poppies
subtopic: Article name/link