Question about oriental poppy

true_blue(Mtl Can Zone 4b)April 30, 2014

A couple of years ago, we bought a perennial poppy. I believe it was an oriental poppy. I planted it in our raised bed. It has green lush foliage every spring, till mid June, then it dies without flowering. It grows back in September. I wonder why it does that? Is the soil too rich, or do we have too much spring showers? Any insight would be appreciated. Also can I transplant it when it goes dormant to a different place, or would it die?

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TB, that's what oriental poppies do; namely, bloom late spring/early summer and then die back and disappear. So you're left with a gap.

That's why it's not a good idea to plant oriental poppies close to each other in a mixed perennial bed.

They're easy to divide and should be divided (every five years or so). Chop vertically with a spade. Divide late summer or early fall and keep the planted divisions well watered for while.

Below: 'Allegro' (June 20, 2009):

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 4:22PM
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true_blue(Mtl Can Zone 4b)

Sunny Borders lovely photo. Thanks for the info.

I don't have a problem with it dying off, mine has never flowered.

That's the issue. I wanted to know is it due to the rich soil or excess rain or anything else?

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 4:48PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

large flowering plants that do not bloom might either...

not getting enough full blinding sun ...

or are hyperfertilized with too much nitro, causing excessive green growth instead of focusing in flowering ..

is yours in full sun.. do you fert it ..

if its thriving otherwise.. water is not the issue ...

with this late winter.. you could probably move it now.. it cdant be all that greened up.. is it???

i would do it on a rainy or cloudy day ... to help it get over such.. before the sun hits it ..

nothing dies.. simply because its moved.. otherwise there wouldnt be gardeners .. proper aftercare includes keeping it moist.. until it gets settled in ... in fact.. if you moved it late.. the worse you can do.. is lose the bloom.. but you dont have any.. so move it ...


    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 5:40PM
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true_blue(Mtl Can Zone 4b)

Ken it gets around 4 hours of sun. I don't fertilize it at all. However, it's close to a couple of roses. So probably some of the compost leeches to it.
Yes it is all greened up: 6 inch in diameter.
However, I've noticed by mid June the leaves are rather spread out and big. I think the culprit is excess nitrogen.
Thanks, I'll try to move it.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 6:02PM
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TB, the on-line sources, in general, say 8 hours of sun are required.

I always plant them in mixed perennial beds in full sun. They can take the shade of taller perennials because the latter don't generally shade/partially shade them out until after early July.

Good drainage, soil moisture retention, some compost required (yearly a thin layer), etc: See Modernmom 'Oriental Poppies Won't Bloom'; has some references too.

Maybe it's the nitrogen.

In terms of adding organic matter, I treat all parts of all established mixed perennial beds more or less the same, whatever plants are involved (includes oriental poppies and some roses).

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 8:22PM
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gringo(z8 VA)

I'd be concerned a bit about moving or dividing an Oriental poppy after growth has started. If the long brittle tap roots get excess moisture after trauma,(they usually don't like to be disturbed) it is quite likely to rot! But I suspect maybe the roses are shading it, just as it needs the start of intense sunlight exposure required to flower, with at least 6 hours mid day exposure up north in Canada..High nitrogen levels promote lush leafy growth, while higher middle number promotes blooms..Besides not really needing much of any watering during summer dormancy.

btw 'Allegro' is a dwarf & haven't seen it ever get two feet tall in bloom. It was introduced for smaller townhouse sized gardens.

I've got 'Coral Reef' in bloom now, as you can see,. Sown very late summer/ early last autumn, plus hoping the new 'Plum Pudding' introduction to flower soon, also...

    Bookmark   May 24, 2014 at 4:26AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I have 'Princess Victoria Louise' poppy. I'm planning on collecting seed and sowing more in the fall. I think that is a better option than trying to divide it.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2014 at 6:29AM
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I'm pretty sure 4 hours of sun isn't enough. BTW, they are easily started from seed. You might want to seed some in an area with full sun and see what happens. I wouldn't transplant it yet though ---- that tap root is sensitive.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2014 at 8:35AM
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Campanula UK Z8

I find root cuttings are a foolproof way to propagate more - they will grow from just a small portion of root (which is why I still have various clumps all over the allotment).

    Bookmark   May 24, 2014 at 3:08PM
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true_blue(Mtl Can Zone 4b)

I'm sorry for the late response. Some how I didn't get any updates in my email :-(

Sunny, there is no place in my garden that receives 8 hours of sun. As I said it's part shade garden.

Gringo none of the roses shade the poppy. Coral Reef is so beautiful.

Thanks prairiemoon2, RyseRyse_2004 for the tips. I actually have sowed some annual ones, which are doing quite well, though no flowers yet.

Thanks campanula for the root cuttings tip. Do you mean you scrape around the plant gently and take a bit of the root?

Here is how the leaves look like:

Anyway, I'm happy to say that sometime around mid May, a big shoot came out of the plant with a huge pod.

We've been receiving a great about of rain the past 2 days. Today, as I was taking a stroll under the rain, I was shocked and surprised by the most beautiful sight.

No photo can capture it's beauty. I actually have a hard time looking at it. It is so bright and cheery that I take little peaks at it! The bloom is around 4 inches wide:

I have put a big beach umbrella on top of the plant as we're receiving a lot for rain today and tomorrow :-)

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 10:41AM
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Campanula UK Z8

You can gently scrape around to locate the roots......or you can get your sturdiest garden fork and heave the whole clump out.....and as you would do well to locate yours to the sunniest possible place, I would be going for the mass digging method. Having exposed your roots, find nice plump ones, at least as thick as a pencil. Direction is important here - keep the plant the right way up and when cutting roots, make the bottom end slanted and the top cut flat across the diameter. of each root. You are looking to get 2inch roots which you place in gritty compost (free draining, but able to hold moisture so leafmould is good if you have any.....or just some nice garden compost if not). Put 5 or 6 roots vertically (in a 5inch pot)in the if you were planting, rather than laying on the top, and just cover the tops of the rootpieces, leaving an inch for watering. By next spring, these roots will grow vigorously, putting out new leaves. You can replant them when this happens - they will be in full-flower the following season.
I love these opulent blooms....but they are fleeting, very elusive, over in a nanosecond, leaving enormous gaps in the border (although you can shear them to the ground and fresh growth will soon fill any gaps). Recently, a new group of poppies have been bred which repeat for another bloom cycle at the end of the summer (although mine don't but it might be because they are overshadowed by taller perennials by then. These so-called 'super poppies' are expensive - anyone else tried them? Do they repeat for you? Or is this another over-hyped nursery fad?
I grow mine along the edge of a veggie bed with bearded iris - when all is over and done with, I cut the whole lot to the ground and basically ignore for the rest of the year while they bake in the sun.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 12:14PM
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true_blue(Mtl Can Zone 4b)

Thanks Campanula for the detailed explanation. I'm not sure if I'll move it, now that it has flowered. I might do the scraping method, if I find a space for a new plant.

As mine is a single plant, it doesn't make a big gap, when dormant. Actually it makes the garden breath.

I was not aware of super poppies. After your post, I read an article in the Guardian claiming the flowers last for 18 days and might re-bloom in colder climates.

IMHO, it defeats the symbolic of poppies. I like them because their ephemeral nature.

That's why I prefer to sow the flanders/turkish poppies in conjunction with wild flowers (bachelor's buttons, daisies you get the picture) to create a miniature wild flower field in my little patch of sun....

This post was edited by true-blue on Fri, Jun 13, 14 at 14:22

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 2:19PM
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Campanula UK Z8

18days - what absolute bollocks. 2 days at best. The entire show is over in less than a week for the whole plant. Blimey, the gardening press are renowned for exaggeration but 18days!!!
Still, my fault for believing the hype.

I quite agree that their fugitive nature is a large part of their charm - I have a little love affair with poppies of all types - just got seeds of P.rupifragum flore pleno and wondering whether to sow it now....or hang it out till autumn for next year. Then there are the wood poppies - a genus new to me (stylophorums). I did actually find a violet poppy - roemeria hybrida - but the tiny amount of seeds just faded and died under my eyes (the catalyst for much despondency)....but I MUST have another attempt at these (I fear another meconopsis exercise in futility).
In contrast, scarlet poppies and white ox-eye daisies do it all themselves with zero intervention from me - effortless and delightful.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 4:06PM
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true_blue(Mtl Can Zone 4b)

I would wait for next year for your flore pleno.

I know the press always tends to exaggerate.

There are some oriental poppies grown in abandoned vegetable lots close to where I live. They seem to have a decent week or two of flowering due to their numerous flower shoots. They can be rather big, gigantic, up to 5' tall, spectacular where the all, but will be grotesque in my small garden.

I haven't had luck with meconopsis yet. I managed to "winter sow" LINGHOLM HYBRID a couple of years ago, but they stayed small and I believe the slugs gobbled them up to my relief. I prefer plants, seedlings which can fend for themselves. Anyway they don't like my hot & humid summers. They love cool summers.

I direct sowed last fall, some meconopsis cambrica rubra. I still haven't seen any sign yet.

One of our neighbours had a patch of Eschscholzia californica plant. I love their silvery foliage. I don't know how long they flower as I noticed them in early september, in my walks.

So, I "borrowed" a couple of seed pods and managed to secure some reddish ones on the net, and I seem to have several plants growing this year....

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 4:39PM
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I can see from your photos that the problem is the lack of sun. I'm surprised it managed to save enough energy to persist from year to year, and finally flower.

You'd be better off planting something more shade tolerant.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 4:58PM
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Campanula UK Z8

Bloody hell - me too with the meconopsis cambrica rubra - zero! and yep, 3 measly Lingholmes, just about hanging on. Was about to throw in the towel but a stray napaulensis has appeared (but I honestly don't expect it to last the summer).
Rightyo, will wait on the flore-pleno - although I thought I had it last year and it turned out to be P.spicatum, which has exciting hairy silver leaves, but I have to say, the frail pale orange flowers are a tad disappointing.....and also I had another poppy fail - something I had never heard of (and probably never will) - P.tianschanicum. zip, nada, nothing....bah! Still hopeful on the orientals though as I have sowed Plum Pudding.....
California poppies - absolutely all over my allotment....also pale cream and various single pinks -although they invariably revert back to orange...but who cares, I never get fed up with them.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 7:17PM
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true_blue(Mtl Can Zone 4b)

Thanks dBarron. I'll try to move it when it's dormant or just take some root cuttings and plant it in the sunniest area in my garden.

Campanula, I've tried seeds (especially if I have a lot of them or if I'm impatient!) as late as mid June. But it's a hit and miss. Last year I was sort of lucky, got a few flowers, as October was weirdly warm, but it's a risk.

Anyway good luck with your poppies :-)

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 9:58PM
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gringo(z8 VA)

I've made repeated attempts with the 'Super Poppy' series & managed to get one of them to bloom., out of many in the series, maybe it was 'Manhattan'? & no, it didn't last long at all, flower or plant!
Although, one year I had sown seeds & one managed to stay in flower (the single bloom) lasting, for well over ten days... yeah, believe it or not!
I suspect, it must have had 'Super Poppy' genetics, in its background lineage..
They are of hybrid origins & that process was likely started, with original work by Burbank, is my best guess. But, later on the ' Super' series was developed by De Welt(?) in California & the entire lot, purchased by a British lady, Sandy Worth, holding the National Collection, over there in England..
I tried 'Plum Pudding' from seeds, in winter (impatience) & it was so cloudy, only one held onto to life & after just one day of exposure outside, that was the end of it.
Yet, with a couple "Plum.Pudding" bare roots, one flowered & it was orange. Very disappointing, to say the least. I gather, someone was trying to make a profit, as they are typically propagated by roots, when a named variety & hadn't heard much about reverting, except by seeds...

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 1:08PM
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