Saturday, October 2, 2010


When I was growing up, I remember my Grandma Holland's beautiful deep orange poppies.  In fact, I thought they only came in orange because that's all I saw.   Well, when I became familiar with these lovely, crepe paper-like blooms, I was pleasantly surprised to find that they come in white, light and dark pink, deep red, coral, raspberry, salmon, mauve, plum, and maroon.  They also come in a blend of colors, and some with fine, frilled petals.    They should be planted in late summer or early fall, or in the early spring before growth starts. (Spring planted poppies won't bloom unless you get big, established container plants).   Oriental poppies don't like being moved--they have a deep tap root that is hard to transplant and is easily broken off, so make sure that when you plant yours, you are careful to make a hole deep enough so that the fleshy roots are not broken or twisted upward.  And when transplanting, they need to be replanted as soon as possible, as they wilt quickly.  Water in well and keep moist until established.  You'll find that the leaves that were there when you transplanted will most likely yellow.  Just pull them off the plant when they do.  But, a few weeks after being planted, a new crown of leaves will appear.   What I really like about Oriental poppies is that they are semi-evergreen.  After they bloom in the spring, the leaves will start to turn yellow, and then die.  New growth appears in the fall and pretty much stays through the winter.    Mine are beautiful green plants right now.  But, in the spring after they bloom, it's best to have something that can fill in their space, like daylilies or dahlias, because they will lose their leaves.  If they aren't blooming well for you, you should carefully move them and plant in a sunnier spot.  They love full sun and moist, but not wet, soil.  If you plant now, you'll have beautiful blooms in the spring.    Over the years, the frilled ones have really been developed; they are my favorites.  I love Miss Piggy and Ruffled Patty.  This fall I'll be planting a new, beautiful raspberry-colored one--Raspberry Queen.  After they bloom, the seed heads are also quite beautiful if you don't deadhead.  Once established, poppies need minimal attention.  They can also spread by sending up new crowns.  These are easy to dig and replant in other areas or give to gardening friends.  They can actually grow into large clumps.  I like to keep mine a little smaller, so I keep those new crowns to a minimum.  I also need to ring mine in order to keep them upright, as they can sprawl in winds or heavy blooming.   They are wonderful perennials--easy to grow, hardy, don't need dividing often, and are also great in arrangements, with very few, if any, pest problems--all ingredients to be one of my top 10 favorite perennials!
Susanne Holland Spicker Mother, Grandmother, Homemaker, Gardener, Teacher, Photographer

Passion is defined as the love of, or the object(s) of affection and emotion. I am passionate about family, friends, flowers, food, photography and fabulous music! This blog is dedicated to those loves.

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