The “World’s Popular Encyclopedia” referred to Poppy plants as “common cornfield weed”. They were then, and continue to be Wildflowers. The year was 1937. However, today, we think of Poppies as a popular and attractive flower, that is common in home gardens as well as open fields. People like growing poppies for the colorful blooms.
Popular is an understatement, as Poppies come in many, many varieties, and are native to many parts of the world, including Central and Southern Europe, China, India, and other parts of Asia. Its popularity also stems from the diversity of its use. In the garden, Poppies are an attractive, easy-to-grow flower in both annual and perennial varieties. As an added bonus, the home gardener can choose from almost any color in the rainbow, including black. Its flowers are long-lasting.
Poppy seeds and oil are popular for baking and cooking. If you have excess seeds, you can put them in your backyard bird feeder.
In the world of medicine, and drugs, some Poppies are a narcotic. It is used to make Codeine, Morphine, and Opium.
Did you Know? After WWII, Poppies became the symbol of both tragedy and renewal of life. They gained this recognition, as there were many poppies in the battlefields of France. Each year on Memorial Day, Veterans sell them as a memorial for those who have given their lives for their country. The proceeds benefit veterans groups.
Plant Height: from just 12 inches, up to 3 feet, depending upon the variety
Flower Blooms: Spring-Summer
Plant Hardiness Zones: 2 – 6
Popular Varieties: California Mission Bells, California Orange, Oriental Red, Iceland Mix, Shirley Double
Annuals and Perennial
Poppy is grown from seed. Sow seeds directly in the garden.
You can also start seeds indoors. Start Poppy seeds indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost in your area. We recommend planting them in separate pots, allowing ample room for root growth. This will make transplanting easier. For best results, transplant while still small.
Note: We recommend a heated germination mat, to increase the speed of seed germination. Also, the germination rate is higher.
Days to Germination: 10 – 16 days.
Poppy plants are very easy to grow. They prefer full sun to partial shade. They will grow well in many types of soils and tolerate dry spells well.
The final spacing of plants should be 8″ – 18″, depending upon variety. The plants will grow up to 3 feet tall.
Poppies look superb planted together in big beds. The plants grow quickly and will bloom in early to mid-summer. Fertilize them once a month to promote steady growth.
Mulching around the plants helps to keep weeds down and makes the bed more attractive.
Flower Growing Tip: To prolong blooming, grow smaller groups in succession.
Deadhead flowers to prolong blooming.
Ideal Soil pH: 6.0 – 7.5.
Plant Problems – Identify the causes and find the cures.
The plants are fairly resistant to insects and disease. However, if insect or disease problems occur, treat early with organic or chemical insect repellents and fungicide.