Papaver somniferum

Opium poppy

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Key information

Plant type

Hardy annual

Flower colour






Skill level


Papaver somniferum

Plant details

The opium poppy, Papaver somniferum, is an attractive plant with hairy, blue-green foliage from which blowsy, extravagent blooms emerge in summer. The flowers can be single or double, 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.

Grow Papaver somniferum in fertile, well-drained soil in full sun.

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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