Proper poppy flower garden care can help you get awesome blooms. Poppies are some of the easiest wildflowers to grow and care for even for beginners. If you have some unused space in your garden, yard, next to the sidewalk or street, poppies are the best flowers to try. Because they are wildflowers, they can do well in locations where many other flower types fail. They also produce beautiful flowers that all gardeners enjoy with minimal effort.
Poppy Flower Garden Care
Poppy Flower Varieties
Poppies are available as both annuals and perennials. The most common annual variety is a deep red poppy known as Flanders poppy, Corn poppy, or American Legion poppy. The variety became so popular because of World War 1. When the war was happening in Flanders Belgium the poppies did not grow or flower because they were destroyed by the soldiers. When the war was over, they grew back. The flower is used in England, Canada, and The US for Remembrance Day and Veterans Day.
Shirley Poppy is also another common variety that is a color mix. It was developed in Shirley Parish in England. Shirley Poppy flowers are still popular today and are also just as easily grow as the original red poppy flower.
Papaver somniferum is available in a rainbow of colors. They are also taller than the common red poppy and get as tall as four feet. The blooms are also big and get as big as five inches in diameter. The seeds of some of the Papaver somniferum are the ones used in baking.
Annual poppy varieties include Hungarian Bread Seed, Lawrence Grape which is dark purple. The Red Hannon Chicks is bright red, the Danish Flag is an unusual red variety, the Midnight is a black variety. California poppies and Iceland poppies are all annuals too that can be grown in all zones in North America.
Perennial poppies are also popular especially for people who have the space to dedicate to growing poppies. They are called oriental poppies and flowers every year. They flower during late Spring and produce huge blooms.
The flowers are mostly orange or red. However, they can also be available in other colors such as salmon or fiery red. The blooms can be as large as 6 inches in diameter. If provided with the right conditions, perennial poppies can exist in the same place for many years.
Soil Requirements for Poppies
Poppies do well in alkaline soil. If you establish them in acidic soil, they will not thrive or do well. The soil requirement is the most important requirement when growing a poppy flower garden.
These wildflowers some of the easiest flowers in the world to care for. If your soil is acidic, you can make it alkaline by applying lime. Add the lime directly into the soil and mix it up. You should be careful not to overdo.
When and How to Plant Poppy Seeds
It’s important to note that the flower has small, tiny seeds that grow and produce a flood of red poppies in early Summer. The seeds are available as tiny black spheres. You might have seen them in poppy seed cake or muffins. Poppy seeds can be planted during August or November.
To establish the seeds, simply scatter or broadcast them on the area just like you would broadcast grass seeds over the surface of the soil. Poppy seeds should not be covered. Instead, press them down with your hands to give them sufficient soil contact.
Poppy flower seeds are the target of many animals. You might be growing your poppies in an area where the poppy seeds don’t get eaten by animals. If this is the case, you don’t have to worry and you can let the seeds be. However, if you’re growing the seeds in a place where they are eaten as they sprout, you might have to cover them with wire baskets to protect them.
Poppy Flower Garden Watering
Immediately after broadcasting the seeds, you should water them heavily. Water the plants regularly. As the poppy plants grow, don’t overwater them. They don’t like to sit in water. Overwatering also promotes fungal infections as well as its spread.
Thinning Poppy Flowers
Once the poppy flowers begin to grow, they are often too packed. This is because the seeds are tiny and were established using the broadcasting method. Proper spacing for poppy plants is not possible because of how the plants are established.
You should also note that poppy flowers won’t transplant well. If you decide to establish the poppy seeds and then transplant them later, you are setting yourself up for failure. The rate of success with transplant is so low that it’s advisable to plant them directly in the location they will grow to maturity.
When poppies become established, you should thin them out. Remove any weak or sickly poppy plants and leave the healthy ones. If you want large poppies, the ideal spacing is about 6-12 inches apart depending on the variety.
If you don’t thin your poppy plants, they will still grow but they will be small in size. You also have to thin, your poppies in time. You should thin them out before they form two true leaves. If you wait too long, it’s doesn’t matter if you thin after, they will still be small poppy plants.
Poppy Diseases and Pests
Poppy flowers are prone to fungus. It appears as brown spots on the leaves. Thinning the plants is part of the poppy flower garden care that helps with preventing the spread of fungus infection among the poppies in the garden. The more tightly the poppies are packed, the faster the infection will spread.
Poppies that are infected with fungus don’t necessarily die, they can still grow and produce beautiful flowers. If you catch the fungus infection early, you can remove the infected leaves and prevent them from spreading to neighboring plants.
Growing Poppies with Companions
Poppy flowers love to grow with companions in the garden. You can grow poppies with other types of flowers as well as different types of vegetables. The choice of companions to grow together with your poppies will depend on where you’re growing the poppies. If you’re growing them in the garden, you can grow them together with red cabbages, or beans.
Growing Poppies in Pots
Poppies don’t like growing in pots or containers. They thrive when grown directly in the ground because they need a lot of root space. However, some people love poppies but don’t any gardens or yards. You can try growing them in pots, but just know that they require more work compared to growing them in the ground and they might not do as well.
Poppies Falling Down
Sometimes, the poppy plants fall over and the stem is not standing upright. If this happens, don’t give up and cut the poppy plants. As long as there is no damage to the root stem, the poppies will still grow and produce beautiful flowers. Continue watering them, and the stems will find their way to grow upright with a bend and produce blooms.
Poppy Cut Flowers
Poppy blooms are best enjoyed as they grow on the stems. The poppy plant flowers don’t make good cut flowers and will not do well in any flower arrangements.
If you decide to cut them and put them in a vase, they will die in about a day. It’s best to just leave them and enjoy them in the garden or yard.
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Poppy flowers are gorgeous. They are also some of the flowers I recommend to try out in that difficult patch of the garden. Poppies have been known to do well in areas where other flower types failed. This probably because poppies are essentially wildflowers.
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