Should you deadhead annual poppies?

Tobyhanna, PA(Zone 5a)

This year I grew Shirley poppies and they've started to finally bloom. I've been pinching them back when the petals fall off the flower. Will doing this make the plant continue to make more buds? I usually pinch off the stem all the way down to where it meets a leaf node. Some stems have buds already forming at leaf nodes below, so I pinch just above it for those. Thanks for any info.

Hazel Crest, IL(Zone 5a)

PAgirl, I don't grow Shirley Poppies. They are beautiful flowers. The answer to your question is that they will not rebloom or flower again after the initial flower dies. Here is some good info.

Everson, WA(Zone 8a)

I have grown Shirley poppies for over 40 years both in the Midwest and the Pacific Northwest. In my experience they do keep blooming when deadheaded. The blooms are not quite as large and the stems are a little shorter on the later blooms, but they remain lovely. As a bloom loses its petals, I cut the stem just above the next leaf node (where there is often a bud forming already).

Like all annuals, the poppies think they have finished their life cycle once they produce seed and they begin to die.Therefore, they will last much longer if you deadhead them. Also, if you let them reseed themselves they will eventually revert to their original red color. I find it best to use purchased seed every year. I never use all the seeds in a packet in one year and they will continue to be viable for at least a few years.

If you want to use them as cut flowers, you have to seal the ends either by immersing the bottom inch of the stem in boiling water for about 25 seconds or burning the stem end with a candle flame. They don't last long when cut - 3 days is about the maximum but they are so amazing to look at that I think they are worth the effort. I usually cut them at dusk (cut only the buds that are just beginning to show a trace of color and whose stems are straight up), seal the stems and then keep them overnight in water in a cool place - the cooler the better - to condition them. After arranging, keep them out of direct sunlight and in as cool a place as possible.

Then, sit back and enjoy!

There are a few Papaver somniferum mixed in but the majority of poppies in these pictures are Shirleys. The pictures were taken in early June.

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Tobyhanna, PA(Zone 5a)


Thanks for the info. I actually have read the information on the website you gave me a few days ago. Very helpful.


Your poppies are gorgeous! Do you plant them close together so that they don't fall all over? I actually have my clump in a hoop plant holder to keep them propped up .... and they have they added bonus of leaning on each other for support. They are a lot taller than I thought they would be. I just wish their season was longer :-( Thanks!

Everson, WA(Zone 8a)

I grow most of them in a section of my cutting garden that is about 5' x 10'. I have an assortment of spring bulbs (tulips, daffodils, alliums, etc.) growing there. The poppies start growing as the bulb foliage is dying down. I put narrow pole stakes at each corner and at the middle of the 10' long sides of the bed and connect the poles with velcro tape. This acts like a fence to hold the poppies along the perimeter up. They are sown so thickly that they do support each other throughout the rest of the bed. When they start looking really ratty, I pull them up. I may plant some fast-growing annuals or some salad greens in the bed then.

I always have a few plants that show up here and there in other beds. I do put in narrow pole stakes and use velcro tape to keep each plant upright. They are harder to stake when they are fully grown because the stems become brittle and break easily.

I agree with you - it would be great if they had a longer season. Maybe we appreciate them more because their season is so short!

I also grow oriental poppies. They bloom before the Shirley poppies and help extend the poppy season. Because they are perennials, you only have to plant them once, which is nice.

The pictures below are some of my orientals in May. If you haven't grown them, I highly recommend them.

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Hazel Crest, IL(Zone 5a)

NoH2O, thanks for clearing that up. Love your assortment of poppies. I grow mostly oriental myself. Scattered some annuals here and there. I have never seen this kind of branching on any annuals before. Last picture.

Thumbnail by HazelCrestMikeB Thumbnail by HazelCrestMikeB Thumbnail by HazelCrestMikeB Thumbnail by HazelCrestMikeB Thumbnail by HazelCrestMikeB

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