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Papaver somniferum

Opium poppy

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Key information

Plant type

Hardy annual

Flower colour

Red

Feature

Flowers

Hardiness

Hardy

Skill level

Beginner

photo by Dave Zubraski, copyright GAP Photos (116689)

Plant details

The familiar flowers of this poppy make it a cottage garden favourite. It is an attractive plant with its hairy, blue-green foliage making neat clumps that suddenly erupt into bloom in mid-summer. The flowers are quite extravagant - enormous singles or huge ball-shaped doubles choked with petals, in a rich variety of colours purple, mauve, white and red. Individual flowers do not last long, but others follow, each producing a large seed-head, which is very attractive in its own right. Given the right conditions it will self-seed profusely. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it the Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

Family: Papaveraceae

Genus: Papaver

Species: somniferum

Plant type: Hardy annual

Flower colour: Red

Foliage colour: Mid-green

Feature: Flowers

Sun exposure: Full sun

Soil: Well-drained/light, Dry

Hardiness: Hardy

Skill level: Beginner

Height: 120cm

Spread: 30cm

Time to plant seeds: March to May

Flowering period: July to August


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