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Poppies in containers?

Posted by txsummer z8 TX (My Page) on
Wed, Aug 3, 05 at 15:24

I would like to try to seed poppies and keep them growing in containers. Please advise whether this is feasible as I am still learning about container planting, but LOVE poppies (also a newbie to this area of plant). By the way, I am in TX, so if anyone can suggest a poppy variety that will be able to take the heat, please let me know :)

Thanks in advance!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Poppies in containers?

I've grown poppies in containers, both by accident and on purpose. The "on purpose" was icelandic poppies (Papaver nudicaule) I bought for spring color. They fade out/die/go dormant once it gets hot. The "accidents" were California poppies in my containers out front, because they just up and seeded themselves there. They do just fine in the heat. If anything, I had to weed to put other plants into the containers. The other "accident" was an opium poppy seed that landed in a pot during my seed-slinging. It was the ONLY seed out of tens of thousands slung to germinate. This variety needs a fair amount of water and prefers cool weather. After setting seed, it (and I expected this) died.

RE: Poppies in containers?

Thanks! I'll try the CA poppies then...and venture to Icelandic and Opium poppies for Spring. If I can have poppies that flower (even for a brief season) I'll be more than happy :)

RE: Poppies in containers?

I feel your angst! I'm a poppy-holic. . .in California, so I have the same frustration with heat, though I'm sure you get a bit more than me! Anyway, I've had great success with breadseed poppies, aka lettuce leaf, p. orientalis. These are the ones with heavily toothed dandelion looking leaves, and are annuals. The somniferum poppies (true opium poppies), which are perennials, have really hairy fuzzy leaves and are prickly looking. These are the ones which are a bit more tricky for us in warm zones, because they really don't like the heat. I only have one of these; 'royal wedding', and it hasn't bloomed yet. I bought it as a 4" seedling in spring and the jury's still out on its future. But my annual poppies give me the greatest thrill, if only for the few days at a time that they bloom! I'm a balcony gardener, so everything's in a pot. I put one to a pot, using the gallon size black plastic containers you get plants from the nursery in. They do their thing, I collect seeds, then I rip them out and start over. I live near the coast (outside San Francisco) so I get a fair amount of wind, which believe me, doesn't help when you only get blooms for a couple of days anyway, so I'd recommend a somewhat sheltered area. Other than that, just cross your fingers! hehehe
What varieties do you have, and would you be interested in a trade? I have lots of CA poppies too, in various colors (in fact, I actually DON'T have orange!) Anybody know how to go about a separate poppy forum? We need one!

RE: Poppies in containers?

Actually I came here looking for a Poppy forum in particular.So, Romando, you've got my vote for certain!! I am in zone 10b or sunset zone 17 (more accurate) and am in the "heart" of SF-the Tenderloin. I just love poppies. I went ahead and got some P. nudicuale (In June) and put them in a plastic tray I had made drainage holes in the bottom of. I figured it was still pretty cold at night, and the package had me able to start them at that time in my USDA zone (I've learned that seed package directions are not all that great) I was making the mistake of covering them with the lid to the plastic tray (recycled deli container) and bringing them in at night. I was beginning to lose hope, so I quit doing that and just left them outside ( I have a very sturdy ledge about 10" that runs around the 100 year old building) merely making sure the rich soil didn't get too dry. I was reading about Flander's Fields and why poppies are associated with WWI and so I kind of disturbed the soil on top and just a couple of days ago I got a little bunch of seedlings in one corner and then 2 or 3 scattered around! I'm so damn excited you'd think I invented the darn things!! I've read repeatedly that poppy seeds will sprout and then "damp off" a term I believe to mean "drop dead," but other than that am a little mystified. Is there any way to prevent that? I collected some good old CA poppies from ripe seed pods at the SFGH memorial garden and sowed them the same way. This was a couple of weeks ago. Some came from a plant that I believe to be a CA hybrid called "jelly bean" which come in pinks and I think white, as well as red, orange and yellow, and are larger than the usual E. californicum (is that right? Horticultural taxonomy is a mess...) but most were the regular orange ones. Many sites have told me to sow in the container they are to be in for the duration (usually the ground-very little on container poppy growing)-something to do with the tap root making transplanting somehow really difficult? What is your experience with this? Since you collect your seed and restart, obviously you've grown from seed, and I'm really hoping you can help a fellow poppy freak who is just getting started to prevent this vile threat of "damping off."
I have been wanting to grow P. somniferum since I read a great article in Harper's magazine about 12 years ago-I wish I could give you a better date, because it was a really fantastic article. It was the "cover story," maybe that will help you find it. Anyway-poppy forum. Great idea! Particularly for us container people. Crossing my toes and fingers....

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