For a short time in the summer, oriental poppies enliven borders with a flamboyant floral display. The foliage appears early in the year, forming neat rosettes concealed by spring-flowering tulips. In late spring, tall stems yield fat buds wreathed in hairy cases, from which spill their gloriously crumpled, papery petals. Their easy-access middles provide easy access bees, butterflies and other pollinators too.
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Oriental poppies can be started from seed in spring or autumn, in a position of full sun. Get them off to a good start by incorporating plenty of organic material into the soil, such as home-made compost.
After flowering, cut them back to ground level and you could even have a second flush of flowers in later summer or autumn.
Browse 10 stunning varieties to try, below.
Papaver orientale 'Maiden's Blush'
A distinctive variety with pretty salmon-pink ruffled petals. Grows to a height of 60cm.
Papaver orientale 'Beauty of Livermere' (Goliath Group)
Papaver orientale 'Turkenlouis'
This striking variety has bowl-shaped flowers with deeply fringed petals in scarlet red, with a dark purple centre. Grows to a height of 80cm.
Papaver orientale 'Karine'
A compact variety with bowl-shaped, white-pink flowers and a dark centre. Grows to a height of 60cm.