Papaver Species, Arctic Poppy, Iceland Poppy

Papaver nudicaule

Family: Papaveraceae (pa-pav-er-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Papaver (puh-PAY-ver) (Info)
Species: nudicaule (new-dee-KAW-lee) (Info)
View this plant in a garden


Alpines and Rock Gardens


Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun



Foliage Color:




18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


12-15 in. (30-38 cm)


USDA Zone 2a: to -45.5 C (-50 F)

USDA Zone 2b: to -42.7 C (-45 F)

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone

Can be grown as an annual


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:





Bright Yellow

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Seward, Alaska

Gilbert, Arizona

Castro Valley, California

Citrus Heights, California

Lake Forest, California

Lawndale, California

Los Angeles, California

Murrieta, California

Perris, California

Reseda, California

San Anselmo, California

San Diego, California

San Francisco, California

Berthoud, Colorado

Madison, Connecticut

Lewes, Delaware

Wilmington, Delaware

Hana, Hawaii

Mount Prospect, Illinois

Waverly, Illinois

Lake Park, Minnesota

Mathiston, Mississippi

Livingston, Montana

Sparks, Nevada

Lanoka Harbor, New Jersey

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Brooklyn, New York

Buffalo, New York

Belfield, North Dakota

Cincinnati, Ohio

Grove City, Ohio

Hulbert, Oklahoma

Klamath Falls, Oregon

Salem, Oregon

Port Matilda, Pennsylvania

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Conway, South Carolina

Dripping Springs, Texas

Harlingen, Texas

New Braunfels, Texas

MOXEE, Washington

Olympia, Washington

Vancouver, Washington

Kinnear, Wyoming

Pavillion, Wyoming

Riverton, Wyoming

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Jun 1, 2012, Garden_Potter from Olympia, WA wrote:

This poppy appeared in a shady spot in my Olympia WA garden last summer. I was putting in a rain garden and had to move it but was concerned that it wouldn't transplant well. I need not have worried. It's now in a mostly sunny spot in the middle of a bunch of native fringecups on the upper level of the rain garden and is thriving. I first noticed it blooming the beginning of May and it now has more blossoms than ever. I rarely water and it seems to do fine.


On Apr 29, 2007, kqcrna from Cincinnati, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

Icelandic poppies wintersowed very well for me last year. I have had a few blossoms already this year. I also find that unlike annual poppies whose flowers each last only a day, the Icelandic blooms last nearly a week before fading. They have many flower buds now.



On Jul 1, 2006, croclover from Lake Forest, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

Planted a couple of six-packs of these in late January and a few of them are still blooming in 90 degree weather in the beginning of July. They love well drained soil and frequent deadheading to encourage new blooms. A few scales or aphids can attack, but if planted next to more tender foliage such as Toadflax, most pests will avoid the poppies. An absolute joy to see these gorgeous and delicate flowers nodding in the breeze!


On May 24, 2006, Photographer from Moxee, WA (Zone 4a) wrote:

This plant can survive cold winters but it requires a moist climate as well. Our 1st attempt with this plant failed due to excessively dry summer heat with low hunmidity. IT is not well adapted to summer in the desert. This region is desert naturally and only the irrigation districts prevent my area from being cactus and sage and cheat grass. The Asiatic Poppies are far better suited to the arid and hot weather we endure.


On Apr 14, 2005, nevadagdn from Sparks, NV (Zone 7a) wrote:

I've found Iceland poppies to be variably perennial in my area. I had one plant that lasted for years, much to the delight of my addicted cat, who would nibble the seed pods every year. Other plants have failed to make it through the summer, however. I use Iceland poppies as cool-weather spring annuals now, in combination with pansies, ranunculus and Anemone coronaria.


On Apr 14, 2005, cuzzinchris from Buffalo, NY wrote:

Live in Buffalo NY and have had tremendous success with this plant. I purchased some plants already started at a nursery. Replanted in relatively poor soil and they have come back to life every spring after many harsh winters. Lots of flowers throughout the summer.


On Jul 31, 2004, moongate9 from Waverly, IL wrote:

From a packaged "wildflower mix" that was almost 2 years old, I suddenly have a plethora of iceland poppies! Until they bloomed, I had no idea what they were, having never seen them until that time. What a pleasant surprise!


On Jan 18, 2004, RichSwanner from Citrus Heights, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

It isn't cold here, but the fog hangs like a curtain shutting out the sun. So nice to have the Poppy, to add that sunshine to our otherwise dark dreary day. A wonderful color source for winter. Keeps blooming through spring.


On Nov 2, 2003, Weezingreens from Seward, AK (Zone 3b) wrote:

Iceland Poppies do very well in our Alaskan climate. They are a short-lived perennial, but self-seed readily, popping up in the driveway gravel, as well as the garden.


On Sep 7, 2003, echoes wrote:

I added a pile of compost/manure to a part shady bed this spring and tilled it real deep. It was planted with larkspur and a few perennials just for this summer, and dotted every here and there are Icelandic poppies that reseeded themselves 2 or 3 years ago. I don't know where they were hiding, but it sure is nice to have them back.


On Aug 1, 2003, starshine from Bend, OR (Zone 6a) wrote:

This is a hardy plant that blooms almost continuously. It does well in dry sandy soil, ot a combination soil. It provides a bright colour spot anywhere in a garden, but will have a tendency to stunt in direct sunlight. Prefers partial shade.


On Nov 2, 2001, poppysue from Westbrook, ME (Zone 5a) wrote:

Icelandic poppies have gray-green, fuzzy foliage and form a basal rosette that stays close to the ground. The slender 18-inch stems rise above the foliage to support delicate 3-inch blooms of white, yellow, orange, apricot, and gold. A perennial poppy hardy from zones 2-8, individual plants are short-lived but they will self sow if you allow some seed pods to mature. They like full sun or part shade in the south and well-drained soil.