With large colourful flowers Oriental Poppies (Papavear orientale) are one of the most extravagant of all of the perennial plants. You can grow them from seed, or find an interersting selection of potted varieties at many plant fairs.
Although the flowers seem to appear at a moments notice they can also disappear just as quickly, especially if the rains come just as they open.
So if you garden border need a little lift, and you want an easy care solution, Oriental poppies may be the answer.
Oriental Poppy Varieties
With many named cultivars in what is now termed the 'Goliath group' look for the well known brilliant red, 'Beauty of Livermere' and the wonderful white 'Royal wedding', however you can also find pink flowering cultivars as well as some with ruffled flowers.
As for the best varieties, its is really a matter of personal choice, its the colors that make some a real standout. We do like the white flowering types, and one of the first wat back in the early 1900s, 'Mrs Perry's White' was a chance seedling of the pink flowering 'Mrs Perry'.
Growing and dividing Oriental Poppies
The easiest way to grow oriental poppies is to buy small plants and get them into the ground before winter.
Yes you can grow them from seed, however it does take longer. As for dividing clumps. you really need to be careful here as they have long tap roots and do not like to be disturbed.
You need to dig deep and lift the whole plant and tap root without breaking it.
You will also need to replant immediately so have the planting area ready with a hole deep enough to take the roots.
Water in immediately with a liquid seaweed fertiliser and with a little luck they will survive.
Oriental poppies are from the mountain areas of Turkey and nearby areas, this gives us a clue as to the growing conditions. Good drainage, cold winters and warm spring to summer.
Oriental Poppy Care
- Prepare a deep, well drained loamy soil and do not add fertiliser
- Make sure the position is sunny
- Water Oriental Poppy plants in well with a liquid seaweed fertiliser
- After flowering you can cut back the foliage the the basal rosette to encourage a second flush of flowers.
- Mulch around the plants in autumn to win ter, but keep the mulch away from the plant itself
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