Perennial Flower Information
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Papaver – Oriental Poppy, Iceland
There are Poppies and Poppies,
old-fashioned ones and new varieties, and it would almost
seem that they grow more dazzling and more gorgeous
each year. Perhaps they are grown in a greater number
of gardens and we see their brilliant colors everywhere
during the early Summer months, or perhaps, we too have
learned the secret of growing these delicate silken
flowers which constantly command attention. What more
startling effect could be gained than by having a mass
of Giant Oriental Poppies (Papaver orientale) stand
out boldly against. a dense background of dark evergreens?
The colors of the named varieties range all the way
from silvery white, through blush and rose pink to salmon
and scarlet-crimson, each flower swaying and nodding
on long, graceful stems. The Oriental Poppy blooms during
May and June, grows from 2 1/2 feet to 4 feet high and
the whole plant, from the heavy, magnificent foliage
to the large flower cups and seed pods, makes a majestic
subject. The flowers often measure 9 and 10 inches across.
Some of them have a black blotch in the center of the
petals and all have a great number of purplish-black
stamens in the heart of the cup. P. o. bracteatum
is an important variety of a deep crimson-red color.
The flowers are surrounded by large, leafy bracts. Gypsophila
paniculata, Phlox subulata (white) or golden Alyssum
are good to combine with the Oriental Poppy as a border
The Iceland Poppies (Papaver
nudicaule) are dwarfer plants, growing about 12
inches high. They are also favorites in the garden for
the satiny petals of white, lemon, yellow and orange
are beautifully crinkled and have a delicious fragrance.
They bloom all through the Summer if the flowers are
kept well picked, and either single or double flowered
plants can he grown.
UTILIZE. Poppies make lovely
cut flowers, but unless care is exercised in cutting
them, the petals will drop and they will last no time.
The flower should be cut early in the morning when the
buds are tight, allowing them to open up in the water.
They will last several days. The giant Oriental Poppies
may be cut either early in the morning, or at evening,
just as the buds are about to open. They will last longer
if the outer green calyx is removed.
Poppies are used to a great
extent in decorative work where daring color effects
Both the Oriental and Iceland
Poppies are splendid subjects for the perennial border,
but should never be planted with other plants unless
the colors are carefully chosen. Both are beautiful
if planted in large masses by themselves. A good combination
may be made with Garden Heliotrope or Valeriana.
GENERAL. Oriental Poppies
will grow in any open, sunshiny position in a good,
deep loamy soil. They are of easiest culture and require
very little care. During the dry spells in the early
season, they should be watered occasionally, but after
they have finished blooming and the leaves begin to
die down, they should be let alone for the roots seem
to enjoy a thorough baking during the hottest months.
When the rains begin coming in September, the roots
will show signs of growth; then the plants can be safely
transplanted. Oriental Poppies should be mulched in
the Wintertime. This mulch does not have to be removed
in the Spring for the leaves soon cover it. After the
plants are once satisfactorily situated they should
be allowed to remain undisturbed for a number of years.
The Iceland Poppies are very
easily established for they self-sow very readily. If
the flowers are cut every day, the plants will produce
flowers all during the Summer months. They are extremely
hardy and will grow in any soil.
PROPAGATION. The Oriental
Poppies should be divided in the Fall after the plants
have been dormant during the hot months, or in early
Spring. The roots may be cut into pieces 2 inches long
and planted in sandy soil, in which case new plants
may be obtained. Plants may be grown from seed, which
requires a great deal of care. The seeds should be gathered
as soon as the pods are ripe and begin to open. They
should not be sown too thickly and should be wintered
over in the coldframe. As soon as new shoots start in
the Spring, pot them up, and after they have attained
a good size, plant them out in the open soil from the
The Iceland Poppies self-sow
on 75+ Perennials