The oriental poppy is a beautiful flower that has been around for centuries. Its history and uses in the world are quite interesting, and you may not know some of these facts! Let’s take a look at how to grow oriental poppies by discussing its origins, how to care for it, where to plant it, etc.
Oriental poppies are stunning perennial flowers that will add a pop of color to your garden. They are also hardy and even pest-resistant, so you won’t have to worry much about them!
History of the Oriental Poppy
Perched on long, fuzzy stalks, the Oriental poppy flower comes in various colors: orange, red, pink, white, purple, and pink. Oriental poppy leaves are a silvery green and grow closer to the ground in bunches.
These poppies are native to Central Asia and prefer high altitude, arid climates to grow. Generally, Zones 3-7 are suitable locations for poppies to thrive and come back each year.
Not a fan of high heat and high humidity, if you live in the Southern United States, you might need to give the Oriental poppy some more attention or replant them every year if you live above Zone 7.
Types of Oriental Poppies
- Maiden’s Blush – This flower is a beautiful blush and white color and originates in Northern Turkey.
- Beauty of Livermere – One of the largest amongst poppies, it can grow to one meter high. It boasts a dark center and bright red petals.
- Patty’s Plum – This poppy features various shades of plum or purple on the petals.
- Turkenlouis – This beautiful flower has a deep purple center with vibrant red petals that bloom in late spring and early summer.
- Garden Glory – Garden Glory is a close relative of Patty’s Plum.
The petals look very similar in shape, but this flower has double-ruffled pink petals.
- Avebury Crimson – These Poppies have bright red petals and are native to Turkey and Iran. They’ll start to bloom as early as May.
- Wisley Beacon – Native to the United Kingdom, the Wisley Beacon Poppy has red/orange petals with a sturdy stem.
- Manhattan – Manhattan Poppies feature deep pink, almost magenta, petals.
How to Care for Oriental Poppies
As mentioned, Oriental poppy plants are hardy but have specific needs climate and soil wise to allow them to succeed.
The high altitude climates the poppy’s originated from mean that the soil was dryer and more sandy. These plants don’t like their bulbs or roots to be wet, and if they receive too much water, it’ll hinder their growth and beauty.
If their soil doesn’t drain, it will cause the bulbs to rot and extend up to the rest of the plant.
- Poppies prefer soil with neutral to slightly more acidic pH balance.
- Loam and sandy soil are great options to add to the poppy’s growing area.
- You can add compost to the soil to really help your plants pop.
These poppies come from Central Asia where they soak up the sun in fields. Because of this, poppies need at least six hours of direct sunlight to grow and maintain their blossoms.
When you’re picking a place for the poppies, keep the sun in mind. They work very well in a front yard garden, where they can rise above other plants and show off their blossoms.
They become more susceptible to fungus and root rot if they aren’t in full sun. The sun keeps water evaporating and their soil at the right consistency.
Oriental poppies grow best in Zones 3-7. High humidity and heat cause them to wilt, and they have a hard time growing back the next year.
The bulbs and seeds need to be cold over the winter and grow back in the spring. Poppies will die back in the late summer after blooming in the spring-summer (which lasts around ten days).
They will often reseed themselves, so you might find some new plants the next spring if you let the blossoms fall naturally.
Diseases and Pests
Oriental poppies have a low level of toxicity throughout every part of the plant. Humans should avoid eating aspects of the plant. Store-bought condiments consisting of Oriental poppy seeds are obviously safe and tasty to eat (make sure to do your research if you want to harvest at home).
This toxicity makes it resilient against most pest bugs, diseases, and mammals. They can be susceptible to pests and fungus, so just keep an eye on them as they grow. They’re hardier and more resistant but not completely immune.
Deer and rabbits avoid poppies because it is poisonous to them. Some pests are even repelled slightly by the poppy’s presence within the garden.
Propagating Oriental Poppies
When you find oriental poppy plants for sale, it’s easy to plant bulbs and oriental poppy seedlings in your garden space. There are a few things to keep in mind as you plan and prepare the plots:
- The bulbs need to be planted in at least a month of cold weather. Planting them in the fall and letting them sit over winter works well too.
- The seeds are similar and don’t require too much attention to start growing.
Keep in mind the sunlight, soil type/quality, and where you’re planting them.
Sowing oriental poppy from seed tends to be the standard way of growing new poppy plants. To do this, you simply need to rake the soil, add compost and any additional soil types, then scatter the seeds. You can cover them with a slight layer of dirt and water!
By spring, a brand new bed of poppies will pop up and be ready to bloom.
After five or so years, groups of bulbs might be crowded and need to be separated and replanted. To do this, dig deep and remove the clump. Gently separate them and replant. The best time to do this is in Autumn.
Where to Plant Oriental Poppies
Growing high on their stems, these plants are ideal for behind other plants or along borders. Since they have such strong stems, poppies are excellent for harvesting for a bouquet.
Oriental Poppies die back and go dormant after their blooming period, so there will be bare spots in the garden once they die back. Plant similar, longer-lasting blooms and pants among the poppies.
So keep in mind:
- Oriental poppies can reach up to three feet tall.
- Their blooms last around ten days.
They attract a lot of pollinators with their bright colors.
- The plants die and go dormant after flowering.
Oriental Poppies for Sale
There are many great places online and in stores where you can purchase oriental poppies and seeds. Do some research to find the best places.
If you’re looking for oriental poppies online, there are many options available that have a wide variety of types and colors. You can select how much you need or what color/type appeals to you most. There are even special species if your climate is right!
Some great sites include:
You can also find oriental poppies in some local stores and at plant shops. Look around or keep an eye out for them! You’ll be pleasantly surprised how many there are available to you.
Interesting Facts About Oriental Poppies
Oriental poppies have been around for us to enjoy for thousands of years. Below are some interesting facts about these beautiful flowers.
- The poppy was named for its resemblance to the Oriental poppy, Papaver orientale.
- They were originally grown in Asia and Europe but are now popular in North America as well.
- There are over 100 species of poppies!
- Poppies come in many different colors including red, orange, yellow, white, pink, and purple.
- One interesting characteristic about oriental poppies is that some flowers have two types of petals – inner and outer petals. The inner petals will be a different color from the outer petals.
Poppies have been around for us humans to enjoy for thousands of years! With their bright colors and interesting characteristics, they make a great addition to any garden. Be sure to check out your local store or online retailer for oriental poppy seeds and plants!
The Best Poppy Care Tips
Oriental poppies are beautiful and sturdy plants that, in the right conditions, require very little care to continue to grow back year after year.
Let me sum up the most important takeaways about Oriental poppies:
- They need full sunlight
- Well-drained soil is best
- Moderate climate with cold winters
- Pest resistant, but keep an eye on them
- Fantastic colors and loved by pollinators
How to Grow Oriental Poppies
I hope this post about how to grow oriental poppies has been useful to you! Let me know of your experiences with Oriental poppies in the comments below!