Oriental Poppy: Mission Imposible

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

I have tried the last two years to grow Oriental Poppy: Coral Reef. I ordered the seed and purchased it locally from Lowe's.
I get about 15 seeds in a packet. I sowed seed baggy method on paper towel above my frig. When sprouted, I planted on surface of damp soil and put under lights. They died.
I also tried planting them in late February outside. Not one plant.
15 poppy seeds aren't very many for me to get success (obviously :))
I noticed on some of the spread sheets some have had succes growing Oriental Poppy. Do you guys have any suggestion for success? I have ordered Queen Victoria Louise because I could get more seed in a packet. I also ordered a poppy called Super Red Poppy that is a perennial.

Love the oriental poppies but sure haven't had any success with them. I have lovely peony poppies come from seed every year in my garden but just can't get the orientals to grow.

Dallas, OR(Zone 8b)

Hi birder.
I have had luck sowing them in nursery pots in late summer (about Aug). I put them on the North side of my shed and keep them moist until they germinate. I leave them there until end of Spring when I plant them out where I want them to grow. I tried letting them self sow but can't tell them from the baby weeds coming up. They will self sow readily if you know what to look for. The young plant leaves don't look anything like the adult leaves. I can send you seed from Beauty of Livermore and Helen Elizabeth if you would like to try them. I am 'Winter Sowing' both this week for the first time. Would be great if this works also. They won't bloom until next year but that's okay. : )

Barnesville (Charle, GA(Zone 8b)

I think poppies are very tempermental. I planted some seed last year. I had three that made it. then i got a pup. Wrong thing to do they eat everything. those poppies I babied all summer long got destroyed except for one. After I spanked the pup I repotted it. It grew out again and then I transplanted my ONe LONE little Poppy. It is still alive , so far. They are so worth it.

Dallas, OR(Zone 8b)

rrm, which one do you have?

Barnesville (Charle, GA(Zone 8b)

The Perrenial. Red, I can't remember but it was the oriental.
Their petals are so pretty and delicate.

Dallas, OR(Zone 8b)

I have orange, red and a beautiful pink (Helen Elizabeth). Now is a good time to transplant if you would like some. : ) I have extras of the pink and the orange. When the orange becomes a mature plant the flowers revert to doubles.

Thumbnail by valleylynn
Dallas, OR(Zone 8b)

Here is the Helen Elizabeth.

Thumbnail by valleylynn
Barnesville (Charle, GA(Zone 8b)

Those are beautiful. I love them. Both of them.
Thought I might try to so some more seed.
Were you in on the seed trades?? I have some seed I will share since I got to look them up to plant them, anyway.
This is going to be a great growing year for all of us DG friends. Don't you think??

Dallas, OR(Zone 8b)

I believe so. : ) I have made some great friends on DG, like you. I will dig some up and send them. What is your weather like right now? The sooner you get them into the ground the better. Be sure you make where you planted them because the foliage will usually die because of being disturbed, but they come back from the root. I will try to send you two year old roots. To small and they don't have enough energy to survive, to big and they just don't like the change I guess. : ) Like some of us older folks. : )
Send me a Dmail with your address.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

I've had very good luck WS'ing them. All seeds i've gotten in trade, or collected from seed heads in my garden.

Dallas, OR(Zone 8b)

tcs, how long have you been WS'ing? What has been your experience with Oriental Poppies? It has been pure luck for me on the self sow method because I can tell them from the weeds as babies. I did much better once I started seeding into container. Very excited about the WS method for them. : )

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

this is my 4th year.

i think i've done poppies every year... though i'd have to check my records.

I just did 5-6 containers of them yesterday.

I'll check for "Oriental".....

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

Seems the past two years i've done...

8th Wonder Corn Poppy and Black Peony Poppy.

I know i've had seeds in "mixes" that have been direct sown as i've had a lot of poppies.

this is what i did yesterday
Double Pink, Poppy
Purple Poppy
Semi-Double Mix Poppy
Grape Poppies
Oriental Poppy - Orange/peach
Queen's Poppy

I guess i do not know enough about Poppies to know the difference in any of these.

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

I've WSown the annual Flanders poppies, shirleys, and I think the perennial ones were asiatic. (are they the same as Oriental?). They all grew and bloomed. They were beautiful in spring/early summer. But when our summer heat arrived those poppies got poppy looking. I had to yank them and replant with something else in the big holes left in the garden. Our heat fried them.

The annual ones were tall and pretty while they lasted.


Thumbnail by kqcrna
Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

The perennial ones were spindly with weak stems, floppy. Didn't like them and got rid of them.


Thumbnail by kqcrna
Dallas, OR(Zone 8b)

Karen, that doesn't look like an Oriental. I have some with the same kind of foliage only in red flowers. Not sure what kind they are. Notice the foliage on this Oriental, it is very fuzzy. When finished flower in just prune the dead foliage back and it isn't long before new bright foliage starts growing and will stay until next years blooming time.

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Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

I have had some trouble with my computer and have not been able to check my messages.

valleylynn: Yes! Yes! Yes! I would Love to have any Oriental poppy seeds or plants that you could share! I really like them and have not been able to get them to grow. I tried the baggy seed last year: got three to sprout and they died right away. I have not tried to WS but I will try that this year. I have tried to buy these plants and they too have died.
tc: There is not an Asciatic poppy that I know of. There are many annual poppies - all really pretty and fun to grow. I have been able to grow the annual peony poppy that reseeds every year and some of the seeds have reverted back to their "parents". They originally started out peony type orchid poppies, then came back as rose colored poppies, and then back to single coral poppies with lavender "eyes" or centers: really pretty.
I have had succes transplanting these poppies even though they resent transplanting, because they have a root like a carrot and you have to get the entire root. So, I transplant them when they are still small: about 3 inches tall. I think their roots are even longer.
The very best and easiest way to plant annual poppies is to scatter the seed on the snow or wet ground the last of February or first week in March. I tried this last spring, but did not have wet soil when I planted them and it was late March--no plants. I am going to toss seed the last week of February making sure the soil is damp or wet--preferably with snow on the ground. So, Mother Nature needs to cooperate here! We have had sooo much snow for our area this year and have 3 inches of snow now. So, I am hoping we'll have snow the last week of February or at least a rain.

I will try the flower pot method in August but that means I have to wait yet another year for them to grow. :( Patience!

I am not clear if any one has actually had any success winter sowing Oriental poppies.

Again, I will take any kind of oriental poppy any size, shape or color. Thank you so much for the offer.

Kansas City (Joyce), MO(Zone 5a)

Love poppies blooms, hate the look of the plant, looks like thistle. I plant things in the flower bed that cover up the poppies as the summer goes on, thus hiding the stems. I also have a tendency to cut off the tops so the plant doesn't stick so far up. Very hard to transplant I think. I have the orange and it must of taken 12 starts or more from my Mom's garden to get them going. But once they get going they reseed like crazy.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

I actually like the foliage of the poppies. It's blue green and I like blue green foliage.
I think the blue green foliage looks great with the colors poppies are.
I have had great success transplanting poppies. One has to make sure you get all of the root. Poppies have roots like carrots and it would make sense that you would have to get all of the root.
I am going to scatter annual poppy seed one day this week. If I had O. Poppy, I would sow some of it both outside and in the ground. I should have ordered some O. Poppy seed but I think it is too late to order seed now.

Kansas City (Joyce), MO(Zone 5a)

birder17, do you find scattering the best way to sow the seeds?
I know my orange poppies scatter their own seeds and I just remove the ones I don't want.
I have lots of different variety of seeds but wasn't sure what to do. Guess I shouldn't try to improve Mom nature and just scatter them....LOL
I don't know about the foliage, on the orange poppies, it is hairy looking, has sharp cuts in the leaves, and just reminds me of thistle. The heads stick way above the leaves which presents me a problem because I want them to dry and resow, but I don't like the look of the naked stems standing above everything so I have put other plants in there that stand tall.
Glad we are all different or there would be some boring landscaping going on...LOL

Dallas, OR(Zone 8b)

Hi happ. : ) When my poppies finish blooming and the foliage starts looking bad, I just cut the foliage back to the ground. You can still leave the seed head to dry. I don't cut the foliage back until it looks like it's starting to die. Come rains and cooler weather they send up beautiful, healthy new foliage that stay through winter and gets things ready for next years blooms. I really love my O. poppies. I kind of like the looks of the big fat seed pods. Mine do self sow, I just have trouble distinguishing the tiny seedlings from weeds. : (

Lake, MI

I just ws some in a gallon milk jug. So am I hearing eveyone right they don't like being transpanted? I have a half a packet of seed left. Should I try putting some seed in peat pot's so I can transplant them a little easier?

I have had the orange ones for years I bought at the nursery and they self sowed.

My soil up here is like a sand pit and I am not sure how they will do selfsowing ifI ever get the darn things to grow.

Thanks for your help

BTW I loved the pictures


Dallas, OR(Zone 8b)

I haven't had any trouble transplanting. But I only transplant the ones that have a good, strong root system. The foliage usually dies back, so I mark where it's planted and keep it watered. Eventually it grows new foliage. Once it does that nothing should bother it. : )

Centennial, CO(Zone 5a)

I think they are OK if you transplant them when they are small. Once established they don't like to be moved - unless you dig very carefully and get lots of the soil with it.

Barnesville (Charle, GA(Zone 8b)

the ones you sent me Lynn are looking good in their new pot. Looks like theyy are still living , just waiting for Spring so I can plant them..

Dallas, OR(Zone 8b)

YEAH!!!! So glad to hear that Charleen. They store a lot of energy in the root, so can make it in transplanting if other conditions are right. : )

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Amos, I scatter annual poppy seed the last week in February. If there's snow on the ground, I just scatter the seed. If there's no snow, I rough up the soil, scatter the seed. and "pat" the dirt lightly. They will need water, if it doesn't rain in the next week, I will water them.

North of Atlanta, GA(Zone 8a)

I've not had any luck with the poppies from seeds. They will germinate and then die. Still trying again this year. Sigh....just not meant for me to have them. I bought some really pretty bread poppy seeds this year.

Kansas City (Joyce), MO(Zone 5a)

Seems like in the back of mind the poppies required more water when I first transplanted them than I realized. After established not much water at all. Lili maybe they are drying out?

North of Atlanta, GA(Zone 8a)

I'll have to remember to 'mist' those little seedlings.

Cynthia (N. Kansas C, MO(Zone 5b)

Okay, stupid question. I have looked and found all kinds of answers. I WS'd some red corn poppy. Are they annual or perennial plants? Just your typical red poppies - nothing fancy - but I can't seem to find a straight answer on their lifespan. Help!?

Dallas, OR(Zone 8b)

Annual, but they usually reseed. Great little poppy. http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/237/

Chalfont, PA(Zone 6b)

I wintersowed Princess Victoria Louise last year. I transplanted the seedlings when they only had their first true set of leaves. Most of them survived. This is their second year in the ground, and they are coming up nicely now. I can't wait for them to bloom. I hope that you have luck with yours!

Garner, NC(Zone 7b)

I had that same issue with Coral Reef, but Princess VL is sprouting for me right now. I'll keep in mind that they will need to be transplanted out early. Thanks for the info, pgt.

Chippewa Lake, OH(Zone 5b)

Thanks for the timing of this info. I just found some misplaced -read buried in stack of magazines- mixed Shirley (marked annual), and mixed Oriental poppy seed. I was going to post and ask whether it was too late to WS them. I threw some others on the snow in Feb., but as mentioned above, can't tell the babies from the weedlings. LOL.

I'll WS these tomorrow and consider this an experiment!

North of Atlanta, GA(Zone 8a)

I did plant them in a small flower pot and they are coming up for the first time ever!

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

So, how did everyone's poppies turn out this year?
My annual poppies did not do well. I had too many come up in one spot. Then, we had a very hot, dry spring.
I planted many Oriental poppy seeds in fiber pots, not one of them made it through the dry, hot summer we had this year. This summer was really hot and dry. We are still a minus three inches from our normal rain fall by October.
I continue to try to get Oriental poppies to grow. It's a challenge for me to say the least. I ordered a lot of seed of Princes Victoria Louise and Beauty of Livermore from Swallotail Garden Seeds. They will ship out Oct. 11th.
I am going to try to plant some in flower pots as ValleyLynn recommend and some direct sow and maybe some as WS. I had such bad luck last year with WS. By the time my plants were big enough to set outside, it was too hot and dry. I got a lot of poppies to sprout but could not keep them alive as we did not have out water hoses and irrigation system out yet and they died.

So, now I'm wondering when I should direct sow my Oriental Poppy seeds. What do you think? Now, in October or in late February? I know the seeds like to have a cold spell.
I am going to plant my larkspur within the next few days. I know they need to be planted in October.

Valleylynn: Someone suggested to me to cut the top and bottom off of gallon milk jugs, plant the seed in the soil, then work the jug into the ground where the seed has been planted. Then you would recognize the baby plants as poppies instead of weeds. I am going to try that also.

Kansas City (Joyce), MO(Zone 5a)

I have poppies like ValleyLyn posted. I started them from seeds straight in the garden and tried a few plants. Poppies were hard for me to get started but once I did they have done great. The deal with mine are that the plant and stalks all shrivel up in the summer and look dead and gone, but in the fall like now I have a whole bunch of green poppie plants all around. Not attractive foliage but the plants are very small and very green and I will have tons of blooms in the spring.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

I had quite a bit of germination with Poppies this Spring.... but it was very dry once i planted them - and i was not around to water them, and I can not recall many blooms... most of them keeled over.

Kansas City (Joyce), MO(Zone 5a)

I will try to take a pic of the plants that have come up this fall, they go completely away in the summer here, dry, up turn brown, and then pop up in the fall again, then bloom in the spring. Raining today, but hopefully tomorrow it will be nice again.

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