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Item # Packet size Nett Weight Number Seeds(approx) Price Qty
1171 Small 0.05 g 200 Seeds. $2.50 Sold Out
1172 Medium 0.10 g 400 Seeds. $4.38 Sold Out
1173 Large 0.25 g 1000 Seeds. $7.50 Sold Out

Please note: all seeds are sold by weight and seed count is approximate.

To keep seed prices low much of our seed is semi cleaned. More Info

 

Dramatic display of large red blooms on tall stout stems in early summer. This hardy perennial is a delight to every garden. Planted in full sun it will return year after year with a splendid display of flowers then die down and go dormant during the summer months to return in autumn and produce rosettes of green leaves that persist through winter. Once established Oriental poppies can last for decades and need little or no care except cutting down the foliage and enjoying the flowers. Hardy to zone 3 but does not like hot humid weather so not a plant for southeastern US. Wildlife don't eat it but pollinators and hummingbirds love the flowers.

Description of Oriental Poppy (Papaver orientale).
Foliage forms a low growing clump of leaves that are slightly gray green in color. Leaves are up to 12 inches (30.5cm) long, deeply dissected or irregularly toothed and lobed with a covering of fine hairs making them look slightly bristly or furry. Leaves initially form a low growing mound then as the strong flower stems begin to grow leaves take up position on the stems with larger leaves at the base reducing in size as the progress up the stem. Each stem holds a single blossom that are 4-6 inches (10-15cm) wide when fully open. Each typically has 4 petals but may have up to 6. These are usually red but can be other colors depending on cultivar. Most are dark red or black at the base and converge on large center that is also dark in color and surrounded by a thick fringe of Flower centers are dark red to black stamens. Flower stalks up 16-35 inches (40-85 cm) tall. Flowers are followed by large seed pods up to 1 inch (2.5cm) across. Foliage dies down after flowering and plants go dormant during hot summers to reappear in fall when temperatures reduce, foliage remains all winter. Plants have large fleshy tap root and do not like to be moved. Hardy to zone 3. Wildlife don't eat them.

Growing Oriental Poppy (Papaver orientale) from Seed.
Seeds need light to germinate so do not cover.
Oriental poppies produce tap roots and are extremely fussy about having their roots disturbed so special care must be taken if starting seeds indoors to ensure roots are not disturbed during transplanting.
Poppy seeds are very small so they can become overrun with weeds if direct sown, if you are sure you can recognize the seedlings when the appear and not pull them out then direct seeding is a good option with this plant.

Sowing Indoors.
The most effective way is to use paper or peat pots to sow plants in. If using paper pots which can be created using a pot maker we suggest you place the paper pot inside a plastic outer pot for stability while the plant is growing. It also ensures that roots are not damaged when handling the pot.
Poppy seed is fairly small so the best option is to use small peat or paper pots with a good light germination mix and scatter several seeds on the top of the moistened mixture then place in a light location or under grow lights. Tends to germinate in 21 days at temperatures of about 70 F (20 C). Will take longer at other temperatures.

If growing large numbers its possible to start in small individual cell trays and carefully transplant the small seedlings once roots are large enough to larger peat or paper pots. This ensures that plants have germinated and are doing well before they are placed in larger more space consuming pots. It does however run the risk of root disturbance and may stunt the plants growth to begin with. However since seedlings tend to be quite small when this process occurs seedlings are often resilient enough to overcome any changes at this stage. Do not attempt to do this once seedlings are larger (more than 2 inches (5 cm) tall) with strong root systems as it will stunt growth and set plants back considerably..

Direct sowing.
The most suitable time to so this is during the autumn or in spring once soil temperatures have reached around 65-70 F (18-20 C). Ideally the area should be cleared of any weeds and other debris before seeding. Choose your location as soon as spring thaw begins and place a dark, preferably black, plastic sheet over the area for several weeks before planting is a good way to stunt any growth and destroy weeds. Ensure that the area gets plenty of sunshine this will help to heat up the plastic and destroy plants beneath it, and full sun is required by poppies. Remove any remaining plants once the sheet is taken up and add some compost and work into the top layer of soil. Then seed lightly across the area. Mixing the seed with sand that is a different color to your ground can help to spread out the seeds and act as a visual indicator as to where you have sown seeds. If using a colored sand ensure that the color dye is non toxic. Planting in rows makes it easier to identify the poppy seedlings but gives a more regimented look to the garden.
Keep area clear of weeds until plants begin to grow well. Familiarize yourself with what the seedlings look like so you don't accidently remove the poppy seedlings while weeding.
Once plants have grown they can be thinned to about 12-18 inches (30-46 cm) apart. Sadly the removed plants must be discarded as they wont transplant. Try not to disturb the roots of the remaining plants during this process. If plants are too close together use small scissors and cut those plants selected for removal to the ground. They rarely return if cut early enough. This ensure that the other plants are not disturbed.

Location and Care of Oriental Poppy (Papaver orientale).
Oriental poppies grow prolifically in spring, flower and then go dormant for the hottest part of the year returning in late summer creating foliage that will overwinter. Therefore its very important to choose your location carefully and to plan for summer planting when poppies have finished blooming. These plants are long lived perennials often lasting 30 years or more so planting around them is essential.

Oriental poppies are a cool weather plant, they don't like really hot or humid conditions so they don't do well in zones lower than 7b. Due to their dislike of hot weather they will go dormant during the summer months and loose their foliage which will regrow in autumn once temperatures return so something they like.

They need full sun most of the day if you do grow in warmer zones then ensure they have shade from noon sunshine. While they don't like humid conditions it is possible to grow them in warmer areas that are dry but they will need shade once temperatures become really hot.
Too much shade makes them lanky and the flower stems tend to be too pliable so they bend over from the weight of the heavy flower heads. Thus is such locations they will need either staking or using plant cages of some kind.

Soil needs to be well draining and fairly neutral so if your soil is acidic add some lime to the area before planting and then add a little pelletized lime during the summer months when poppies go dormant. This many not occur in colder zones 3-4. Cannot tolerate wet soils it will rot the roots. Most plants do best with some good organic material in the soil and once established side dressed or mulched with additional material in subsequent years. Do not over feed as too much Nitrogen encourages leaf growth and makes flower stems more pliable so they bend over. Staking or flower cages would be required.

Water plants well in their first year, daily while still small but tapering off to every other day then weekly as they grow, depending on rainfall. Once established they need little extra water unless there is a drought. Then water bi weekly during growth and flowering stages. Once plants have gone dormant for summer no extra water is required.

Plants grow larger and more impressive with more flower stalks every subsequent year. Once flowering is complete the foliage dies back and the plant goes dormant for the summer then begins to grow more leaves during the fall which will overwinter even in cold zones giving good ground cover when most other plants have vanished. This is useful to help prevent soil erosion during the winter months which can happen with bare soils.
Deadheading does not increase bloom production so seed heads can either be left for decoration, harvested for dried flower displays or just cut down. Dead foliage can also be removed or just planted over. Do not remove new foliage that appears in autumn.

Poppies expect a cold winter, its part of their biology. If winters are mild the plant stems may not develop as strongly and grow as tall, sometimes they are only a few inches tall when blooming.

Transplanting and Division of Oriental Poppy (Papaver orientale).
While poppies do not transplant well its is possible to dig up, move and divide plants during their dormant period. This can be done once plants become large to break up clumps. However the shock will cause the plant to 'withdraw' while it reestablishes itself and regrows roots. Divided plants will not flower the following year and may not flower for 2-3 years after. So if you intend to move or divide plants move them a few at a time over several years to ensure that you always have blooms to enjoy.

Cold zone mulching.
In cold zones 5 and colder placing mulch over the green leaves for the winter months can help the foliage survive better. Evergreen boughs are often used, its a great use for old Christmas trees. Alternatively braches with lots of small branchlets that will hold leaves can also be used. Gather leaves from fall cleanup and place over the poppies then place branches over the top to keep the leaves from blowing away. In spring just remove the branches and carefully rake up the leaves.

Summer Interplanting of Oriental Poppy (Papaver orientale).
In zones where poppies die back during the hot summer months having other plants to take their place and cover the ground its advisable, not only does it provide more garden interest but it helps keep weeds down and is better for the soil. Since poppies tend to grow in full sun in hotter dry areas choosing annuals or perennials that will grow in these conditions is suggested. While many annual plants could be planted poppies don't like a lot of water on their roots during the dormant stage so using plants that require more water is not recommended.
Suitable plants would be other perennials such as Garlic Chives which tend to come up later and bloom in fall when poppies are just returning. Birds foot trefoil makes a great ground cover with lovely yellow flowers or Sweet Alyssum a tough annual that thrives in hot dry areas will cover the ground while the poppies are dormant.

Harvesting of Oriental Poppy (Papaver orientale)
Flowers. While blooms can be used as a cut flower they don't last very long perhaps a day at most so its better to leave them in the garden and enjoy them. If you must pick them do so early in the morning and choose flowers that are just about to open. Sear the stems with a match to seal them and use immediately. Try not to move arrangements as petals tend to fall off.

Seeds. Oriental poppies are not edible some suggest they may be poisonous. Culinary poppy seeds come from the Opium poppy. So don't try and eat these.

Caution.
It is suggested that Oriental poppies may be poisonous although there is little documented evidence of this to be safe don't consume any part of the plant including the seeds.