How to Grow Oriental Poppies

Oriental poppies, Papaver orientale, are exotic little flowers of Turkish origins. The bloom of this plant is shaped like a minute coffee pot filter and its petals are papery thin and feel like silk to the touch. They generally bloom at the beginning of summer with some variation. Scarlet, pink, and purple are just a few of the colors this plant comes in depending on the species grown and most grow between two and four feet high.

When adding Oriental poppies to your garden, choose a sunny spot where the soil is well drained. Surprisingly, these delicate little plants do not require very much maintenance; simply plant them about fifteen inches apart, use an organic fertilizer at the time of planting, mulch around the plant, be sure to compost from time to time and water so that the soil remains moist. Taller plants may need to be staked so they don’t droop over. The best time to plant Oriental poppies is in the early fall or spring, fall being the most preferred time.

Also, when considering plant placement, choose a permanent spot in the garden, as they dislike to be moved; plants have thick roots that once established prove difficult to reestablish in a new location. If you are taking root cuttings, the roots should be cut in 3 ½ inch pieces and covered with about an inch of soil. If planting from seeds, sow them in a well-raked sandy soil, but keep in mind, most will bloom red. Root cuttings are the only way to remain to the features of a specific species.

Aftercare of these hardy perennials is also simple. They can be deadheaded or left to self-seed. Once the petals fail, the seedpods add plenty of visual interest. Even as fall temperatures visit the garden, the foliage of the Oriental poppies continues to grow and may last through winter. Many gardeners pair these plants with something like baby’s breath because they leave a gap during the heat of mid to late summer.

When choosing a species of Oriental poppies for your garden, there are many excellent choices in a variety of colors and features. P. orientale `Allegro’ boasts showy red blooms that may even bloom twice in the same growing season. P. orientale `Curlilocks’ has red petals with a fringe. P. orientale `Turkish Delight’ is a lovely clear shade of pink. P. Orientale `Gold of Ophir’ is a golden orange. P. orientale `Perry’s White’ is an elegant shade of white with deep purple blotches making for a very unusual variety.

These beautiful flowers add interest to the garden throughout the year. They make excellent focal points for any style of garden and because there are a variety of species, finding the right color to suit your taste should be no problem. Adding several different varieties will also ensure your garden poppy blossoms throughout the growing season from early summer to late fall. These gorgeous flowers with their Oriental flair will at an exotic touch to any garden or landscape.

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