Fall Planting Oriental Poppies

Beauty of Livermere Oriental Poppy.

Plant Poppies In Fall For A Flash of Spring Brilliance

Few flowers can match the fabulous spring display provided by Oriental poppies (Papaver orientale). While not a long blooming perennial (the plants are in flower for about 10 to 14 days), their floral display is a much anticipated event in the garden. The huge, silky textured flowers (sometimes over 6 inches in diameter) come in an array of colors and they almost always have a distinctive shimmering black eye at the center of the flowers that gives their appearance added drama.

Oriental Poppy Royal Wedding_-_Sandra_Louise_Glaneuski_White

Royal Wedding Oriental Poppy.

The genus as we know them are actually the result of complex hybridization of three different species, all native to western Asia (the southern Caucasus Mountains, northeastern Turkey and the high mountains of Iran). Oriental poppies are best grown in colder climates (USDA zones 3 to7) and aren't a good choice for mild-winter regions. In fact, the colder the better. Gardeners in zones 3 and 4 who struggle to find a wide array of perennials that survive the winters will love these long lived beauties. Like peonies, a poppy can live for generations coming back year- after-year from their deep, fleshy roots. Once established they are there to stay, so take some time to decide where they should be planted in your yard.

Planting Oriental Poppies in the Fall

Coral Reef Poppy Papaver orientale.

Coral Reef Oriental Poppy.

Fall is the best time to plant Oriental Poppies. They can establish their roots and get the winter chilling they need to bloom the following spring. Spring planted Oriental Poppies often will not bloom until the following year, Because they are so cold hardy, they are also recommended for beginning gardeners who don't have much fall planting experience.

Site poppies in full sun. They do well in all types of soils including clay. But avoid spots in your landscape that stay wet or puddle after a rain. Adequate drainage is key. Other than that, these resilient plants are exceeding easy to grow.

Enjoying Oriental Poppies in the Garden

'Fireworks' Goldenrod.

Oriental poppies behave much like spring blooming daffodils and tulips, as they go summer dormant, losing their foliage by late June. Come fall, they re-sprout the leaves that stay evergreen through the winter. So it's important to select some companion plants to mix in with your poppies to camouflage the dying foliage and provide more flowers. The best arrangement is to interplant your poppies in between other tall growers that come into bloom in early summer. Plant the poppies and companions on 18 inch centers and put the poppies in the middle.

Recommended Poppy Companions include:

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Browse Papaver | Poppy

  • Brilliant Oriental Poppy Papaver orientale Brilliant

    Starting at $11.49

    Per Plant - 5" deep pot

  • Royal Wedding Oriental Poppy Papaver orientale Royal Wedding

    Starting at $9.99

    Per Plant - 5" deep pot

  • Double Red Shades Poppy Papaver orientale Double Red Shades

    Starting at $9.99

    Per Plant - 5" deep pot

6 thoughts on “Fall Planting Oriental Poppies”

  • Sandra Marksberry
    Sandra Marksberry 08/31/16 at 4:12 am

    Do they grow in Oklahoma I would love some if they do and how long do they last?

    • Gabi

      Hi Sanda! Thank you for the question. Oklahoma can sometimes be on the warmer side, and poppies tend to enjoy colder climates. However, if you are in a zone 6/7, you should be able to grow poppies in your garden. Our Oriental Poppies are perennial and will last for years in your garden. The blooms themselves can be short-lived, sometimes only lasting about 7- 10 days in bloom.

  • Linda Matz
    Linda Matz 08/31/16 at 1:35 pm

    I don't quite understand the above about poppy planting. Are you talking about seeds? Or do you mean digging up spent bloomed plants and replanting them? Thanks, Linda Matz

    • Gabi

      Hi Linda! That is a great question. This article is offering planting information and advice if you were planting one of our potted perennial oriental poppies (which can be found for purchase here: www.highcountrygardens.com/perennial-plants/papaver ), not if you were starting them by seed. We wouldn’t recommend digging up the spent blooms, and replanting them unless you’d like to move them to a different spot in your garden. Once established, they tend to live long in their home so I wouldn’t recommend moving them too often.

  • Charlie Daniels

    Do you have Oriental Poppys in a mix?

    • Gabi

      We do have an Oriental Poppy collection featuring a total of 9 oriental poppies, 3 of our top varieties. This collection includes Brilliant, Royal Wedding, and Beauty of Livermore, and can be found for purchase here: https://www.highcountrygardens.com/perennial-plants/papaver/papaver-collection

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