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Growing Poppies

Growing Poppies

Plum Pudding Oriental Poppy


Hardy old-fashioned perennials with ferny foliage and large, attractive flowers in a range of vivid colors. Good for the back border, cottage gardens, massing, and specimen plants. Seedpods can be used in dry flower arrangements. Hardy in zones 3 to 8. Bare root Poppies should be planted outdoors in spring 4 to 8 weeks before the last frost. Prepare a hole large enough to fit the roots without bending them and mix in compost or other organic matter. Plant so the crowns are 2 to 3 inches below the soil surface.


For full sun to part shade in fertile, well-drained soil. Poppies do not like disturbance and should not be divided once established. Long-lived when planted in favorable sites. Best in cool climates and prefers a partly shaded site in hot, humid climates. Benefits from mulching in fall for winter protection. Leaves yellow and die back in summer after flowering, regrowing in fall. Stems may need support in windy areas.

Fertilizer Recommendations

Use full rates of Algoflash Flowering Plant 4-6-7 Liquid Fertilizer (51087), Neptune Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer 2-3-1 (51221), or Osmocote 14-14-14 (51173).

Alternative Products

Other perennials for cottage gardens include Delphinium, Hollyhock, and Peonies.

Complimentary Products

Poppies are moderate to heavy feeders that appreciate regular fertilization. Flowering annuals like Marigolds or Zinnias can be used to fill in when the foliage of Poppies die back in summer.

Product Recommendations

Use 20" Grow Through Plant Supports (53483) to keep stems upright.

Poppy Facts

Poppies usually do not suffer significantly from pests or diseases. Grey mold and powdery mildew are occasional problems. Prone to root rot if grown in poorly-drained or wet soils, especially in winter. Poppies are usually not fed on by deer. Most modern Oriental Poppy varieties are hybrids of several species.

Growing Tips