How to Plant an Oriental Poppy

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Poppies are one of the easiest flowers to grow at home. They require very little care and watering during maturation. Planting them is just as easy. Oriental poppies can be planted from seed or from root clippings. If you propagate your poppies each year, you will always have a spring and summer garden blooming with bright, exotic poppies. Fertilizer, mulch, sun and ventilation are what the poppy needs most to thrive. If you plant just after the last frost, you will have long-lasting summer blooms.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden soil
  • Mulch
  • Fertilizer
  • Poppy seeds or roots
  • Water
  • Sprial plant supports (optional)
  • Winter cold frame box (optional)
  • Prepare the soil. Mulch and fertilize the soil with organic compost before planting. The soil should be somewhat sandy as poppies are used to dryer, warmer climates, and it should be well raked.

  • Plant the poppies about 15 inches apart, whether you are planting root clippings or poppy seeds (if you are concerned about the empty space in between, consider planting a light ground cover plant to fill in the bald spots). If using poppy root clippings, cut them in pieces about 3 1/2 inches long. Cover seeds and roots with 1 inch of soil.

  • Mulch and water the seeds. Right after planting, mulch (for warmth) and lightly water. If you are experiencing a hot, dry summer, consider watering a few times a week.

  • Stake the poppies. After three weeks the poppies will have germinated and slight, skinny stalks will appear. You should (though not necessary) stake the stems to keep them from bending over. Spiral plant supports are recommended by gardeners for poppy plants, as the coil allows for multiple poppy flower heads to be supported without giving your garden an eyesore.

  • Propagate the poppies. In the late fall, cut back the poppies and divide the roots to be replanted. You can plant them in a winter cold frame box. After the last frost has passed, transplant the poppies to your garden for spring time poppy blooms. If you are using annual poppy plants, you do not need to propagate, instead allow them to go to seed.

Tips & Warnings

  • Poppies will grow in nearly any nook or cranny, rock wall, or hedgerow. However, they thrive best in well-fertilized and ventilated soil. Choose an area that receives a lot of sun, as the majority of the poppy's growing happens during the hot summer months; the hotter the root, the hardier the poppy.

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