The Oriental Poppy (Papaver orientale), one of the prettiest flowering perennials in the late spring/early summer garden, is prized for its big, airy blooms that come in gorgeous shades of red, pink, orange and white. This type of poppy typically has four petals. Sometimes the base of the flower will have dark red or violet spots. These beauties can be seen from late May to about July. This is a clump forming plant, with hairy and dense leaves. Oriental poppies are tall plants, with stems that can reach 2.5 feet to 4 feet tall.
They have been a longtime favourite with gardeners, especially those with cottage gardens, because they are easy to grow, hardy, and reliable. Once they are planted, they don’t require any maintenance and will bloom faithfully for years to come! Their height and dense foliage makes them ideal as borders. Plant them in a sunny spot in well-drained, fertile soil. Do not over water or plant in soggy ground; they do not like wet feet.
But as beautiful as the flowers are, they are known to be short lived, lasting only a couple of weeks. Poppies will die after flowering and leave a bare patch in the garden. The leaves will turn brown and disappear and green leaves will reappear in the fall. As such, it’s best to plant them with late-flowering plants or ornamental grasses.
The cut blooms will last from a week to two weeks. The very romantic Oriental Poppies are quite popular in summer wedding arrangements. The dried seed heads would also look attractive in floral arrangements.
Climate zones: 3-8
Fun Flower Facts about the Oriental Poppy
- Georgia O’Keeffe’s 1928 painting entitled “Oriental Poppies” is one of her most famous pieces of work.
- All parts of the Oriental Poppy is poisonous if ingested. In case you were wondering, the edible poppy seeds found in baked goods come from the opium poppy (P. somniferum), not the Oriental Poppy.