Papaver oreintale. Pizzicato poppy seeds produce a superb semi-dwarf mix of red, scarlet, orange, salmon, mauve, rose, pink, and white. The large, cup-shaped flowers are 15-20cm (6-8″) in diameter. Expect up to twenty flowers per plant, followed by attractive seed pods from which seeds can easily be harvested. Pizzicato oriental poppy seeds are best direct sown in fall or mid-winter, and grow to a height of 50cm (19″). The flowers appear on stiff stems that stand up well in windy areas. This Oriental poppy mix blooms in June and July, after spring bulbs have faded, but before the arrival of summer flowers. After flowering, seed heads dry and the foliage fades away entirely, returning with autumn rains. This poppy is a good choice for xeriscaping, and it’s deer resistant to boot.
How to Grow Poppies
Annual and perennial flowering plants that have striking similarities, but a surprising range of colours and growth habits. It is easy to grow poppies from seeds. You will find they grow and then self-sow with abandon, without becoming weedy. Simply pull up unwanted plants (an easy task) before they bloom, s or better yet, let them tell you where they want to grow. They will thrive for years at a time in surprising spots, like a crack in the driveway.
Papaver nudicaule (perennial), P. rhoeas & P. somniferum (both annual)
Season & Zone
Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
Start perennial poppies outdoors in early spring, when some chance of frost is still a possibility. Start annual varieties outdoors at the same time in Zones 3-7. If you live in Zones 8-10, your best bet is to direct sow in the fall.
Poppies are famously difficult to transplant, so starting them indoors is not recommended. If you have to start them indoors, use peat or coir pots, and maintain a soil temperature of 12°C (55°F). Seeds will sprout in 20-30 days.
Sow on the surface of the soil, or barely cover seeds. Thin to a minimum of 15cm (6″) apart.
Poppies are easy to grow and the self-sow with abandon, without becoming weedy. Simply pull up unwanted plants (an easy task) before they bloom, or better yet, let them tell you where they want to grow. They will thrive for years at a time in surprising spots, like a crack in the driveway. Other times, they simply won’t take, no matter how much you try. Keep them moderately well watered in hot, dry weather, and do not fertilize.
For the largest heads on Papaver somniferum, sow seeds in the fall or early winter. Thin plants to allow them some space, and keep the area weeded as plants grow larger. Grow this variety in full sun in well-drained, but ordinary garden soil. If spring and summer are cool and damp, or plants are overcroweded, expect smaller seed heads.
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