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Papaver orientale
Papaver orientale

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Zone
Zones A1-A3, 1-11, 14-21, 30-45
Full Sun
Full
Regular Water
Moderate

Papaver orientale

Oriental Poppy
Papaveraceae
Perennials

PAPAVER

Poppies provide gay spring and summer color for borders, containers, and bouquets. Give ordinary, well-drained soil, and feed lightly until established. Perennial species tend to be short-lived. When using poppies as cut flowers, sear cut stem ends in a flame before placing them in water.

Papaver orientale
Papaver orientale

Click to Enlarge

Papaver orientale

Native to the Caucasus, northeastern Turkey, and northern Iran. Needs winter chill for best performance. In mild-winter areas, flowers tend to form without stalks, so they are partly or completely hidden among the leaves. Height is variable; some types are just 16 in. tall, others reach 4 ft. Plants spread by offsets to 2 ft. or more. These are among the leafiest poppies, forming bushy clumps of hairy, medium green, coarsely cut leaves to 1 ft. long. Blooms are 4-6 in. across; deeply crinkled petals often have a black blotch at the base.

Plants bloom from late spring to early summer, then die back (sometimes not completely) later in summer. In all types, new leafy growth appears in fall, lasts over winter, and develops rapidly in spring. Set sprawling plants such as baby’s breath (Gypsophila) nearby to cover the bare areas left after poppies die down. Plant dormant crowns in fall with tops 3 in. deep; or set out container-grown plants. Provide good drainage and room for air circulation. Divide every 3 to 5 years in mid- to late summer, after foliage has died back.

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