Georgia O’Keefee painted some brilliant portraits of red Poppies some times upto 3 feet wide and high, even bigger than the real thing in my garden.The last photo shows how Red and Green work well together on a canvas or in a garden setting.
Oriental poppies are perennial and most Poppy species are easy to grow from seed of which 50 varieties are available from Thompson & Morgan
Poppy seedheads form in the capsules and when the seed is ripe the lid of the capsule opens to allow seeds to be shaken out. They are not all sown at once by this method so if conditions are not right some seed remains in the pod.
Seed is hard black and long lived.
The Poppy petals are sumptuous is texture and colour and can be very showy through-out summer if you select a range of varieties.
The buds can have a charm of their own when inspected closely as shown below. This is a pink Oriental Poppy with the familiar dark black eyes at the base of the petals. The Caylix will fall away and the petals will emerge into a blousy display. My preference is to leave the Iceland, Shirley and annual poppies varieties alone although California Poppies (Eschscholtzia are a different proposition and well worth growing).
Tips Some poppies are strong self sowers and a bit thuggish. Oriental Poppies can be grown from root cuttings or clump splitting.
A delightful pink poppy.
There are a variety of garden poppies, which are generally quite easy to cultivate. They are annual plants offering an easy growing season from March/ April to flower in June and July. Poppies are generally quite easy to maintain and resistant to most kinds of pest and disease.
Some of the more common poppy varieties (Papaver somniferum) Papaver rhoeas – (annual corn poppy), P. orientale Oriental poppy can start to become weeds and once they set seed they can be difficult to eradicate.
Sow outside where they are to flower in april / march. Alternatively, they can be sown in Autumn (September) for an earlier flowering the next year
- Do best in full sun
- Well drained soil
- Do Not need feeding or manure
- They are extremely good at self sowing