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Oriental poppies - seed or root stock?

Wichita, KS(Zone 6a)

I've have never grown poppies. Should I direct sow or buy root stock?

Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

Oriental poppies are OK grown from seed but will not flower until the second year. It's always difficult not to sown them too thickly , and they tend to damp off easily. I have had plenty grow, then end up with just a few. It's very difficult to transplant them when they are too small because they are delicate at that stage, they could be sown just 2 or 3 to a small plug but they tend to dry too easily and are difficult to wet again, and wet causes damp off.

If there is a particular one you like such as Patty's Plum you should purchase a plant as they will not come true from seed. You can then grow more if you wish by taking root cuttings. Coral Reef comes fairly true from seed. Dwarf Pizzicato will give several colours and are a good way to get a few surprises, mine all damped off but about 4 but that was enough and I got some good colours. If you see some plants at a good price you will save a lot of time and trouble.

Direct sowing of orientals can work as I have a few self sets, but it may not if the conditions are not correct. They germinate best with some winter stratification.

Wichita, KS(Zone 6a)

Wallaby - is 1.22GBP a good price for Patty's Plum?

Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

Is that for seeds? It is good if seeds, but they won't come true. There is nearly $2 to 1.

Wichita, KS(Zone 6a)

I'm sorry that is for root stock. Yeah - about $2.20 each

Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

That's 'dirt' cheap! You would pay at least 4 here.

Clatskanie, OR(Zone 9b)

I like to use a wetting agent when I am mixing soil or wetting it before plantin seed. It makes it so much easier to rewet the mix if it drys out. I like Shaklee Basic H. It takes so little to wet so much. And if it dries out, the wetting agent is still in the soil, and all you really need is to water with warm water. The pH is 7 and that is neutral. A few drops in one half gallon of water are not going to adversely affect the pH. Frank

Seward, AK(Zone 3b)

Has anyone propagated P. orientalis from stem cuttings. It seems someone told me that they pin the stem down to the ground (while still on the plant?) and it roots along the stem. Is that true?

Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

I haven't heard of doing it that way, there is no stem as such other than the flower stems. The flower stems often lay on the ground before going vertical on some, Patty's Plum does that, I don't think they would root but I may be wrong.

I have had some runners going out underground from Patty's Plum, the first one I dug up and put it in a pot but it died, it probably needed to be a bit older and have roots. The root cuttings should be done in winter, that could have been the reason it died. There's another one made now and I'm leaving it, it's set a couple from seed too but they aren't the same colour.

Seward, AK(Zone 3b)

I'll have to try to recall the person who told us about propagating them from the stems, and if I find out more, I'll post.

Lisbon, IA(Zone 5a)

I know you can do that with Clematis (I believe it's called layering), but I've never heard of doing it with Poppy. You can propagate them by root cuttings, but that requires you to dig the plant and cut a section or two from the root and then replant. If you can't remember which end was down you just lay them horizontal in the hole and go from there... A little rooting hormone probably wouldn't hurt either... Good luck!


Seward, AK(Zone 3b)

Thanks, Diann.

Berkeley, CA(Zone 9b)

> Oriental poppies are OK grown from seed but will not flower until the second year.

Oh, thank god you said that, wallaby1. My "Drama Queen" poppy produced a number of seedpods and I sprinkled the seeds in the next raised bed over. I couldn't understand why I had plants that looked like poppies and had healthy leaves 3 feet high but not a single flower stalk. Now I know.

I wonder how the heck Annie's Annuals gets them blooming for sale in 4" pots?

This message was edited Apr 9, 2007 11:28 AM

Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

Hi spidra, the leaves on yours are not P. orientalis.

Drama Queen is P somniferum, an annual or as they say a tender perennial, being that it will grow from the autumn and overwinter, it should flower this year!

Berkeley, CA(Zone 9b)

I just inspected the patch yesterday and there was nary a flower stalk to be seen. Okay, I shouldn't derail this thread (now that I find out it isn't the the type mentioned in the thread).

Silver Spring, MD(Zone 6b)

I wintersowed my oriental poppies in milk jugs this past winter and I had my first poppy bloom on 6/14 and that one plant is still blooming. There are others I sowed from same pack that just has not bloomed yet. Don't understand that but I'll just have to wait and see. Will notate those first blooms too.

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