Poppy

Papaver rhoeas
Papaveraceae, Poppy Family
Poppy
Poppy
For now the winter is past; the rain has ended and gone away. The blossoms appear in the countryside.
Song of Songs 2:11-12 HCSB
Poppy
All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.
1 Peter 1:24-25 NIV

Cultural Information

TypeAnnual
Height24 to 48 inches
Soilvariety of soils, keep moist and well-drained
Exposurefull sun
Leaves3 to 6 inches long, central rib, symmetrical, deeply lobed edges, fine hairs, pale, field-grass green, larger at base, alternating up central stock
Flowersbold, stunning, orangey-red, vibrant contrast against field grass, thin, papery-looking petals, cupping central black stamen and fuzzy-looking anthers
Fruitcrowned pod grows out of flower center, dries pale purple to grey, contains multitude of black seed

Planting Tips

  • choose a sunny, spacious-as-possible location at back of garden bed, in a meadow garden, or unmowed field
  • stunning flower color will be eye-catching across the garden; plant in a towards the back or where the blooms will command a view
  • in mild climates (zone 8 or warmer), sow seeds in late fall for next spring's flowering
  • in cold climates, sow seeds a few weeks before last freeze
  • prepare a level surface in flower bed or field, then scatter seed evenly and press gently into soil. No need to cover seeds, they need light to germinate..
  • mix seed with greensand to scatter more uniformly across the ground
  • keep moist until sprouting; probably lingering winter weather will take care of this for you
  • wait and watch patiently as seedlings' tufts of foliage produce a central stalk with multiple flower buds
  • remember these are field flowers; grown in the garden, they may need removal of fading leaves and reshaping to reign in their wildness!
  • plant towards to back of a garden bed; eventually poppy stalks grow to 3 or 4 feet tall
  • poppies do not transplant well, best to grow from sowing seeds in the garden where you intend them to grow and flourish

Garden to Table

  • stunning flowers simply must come from garden to vase or floral arrangement!
  • choose an interesting container to compliment or contrast poppy's vivid color
  • hold cut flower stems under water and make a small, second cut while submerged to prolong their freshness
  • blooms will fade in 2 to 3 days, sadly; prepare arrangements just in advance of dinner party or guests' visit
  • seed pods formed after flowers pass away are stunning in their own right; use as unique forms in bouquets and floral displays
  • P. rhoeas are NOT the species yielding edible poppy seed; those come from P. somniferum, the opium poppy

Additional Resources

See Blog Posts on Poppy
Poppy
All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.
1 Peter 1:24-25 NIV

Photo Credits

© Ldambies | Dreamstime.com Fresh green young barley field with poppies
©2019 Shelley S. Cramm detail of Papaver rhoeas seeds ready to sow in field or garden
© 2019 Shelley S. Cramm detail of poppy flower blooming in a Texas garden
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