Growing oriental poppies

For a short time in June, oriental poppies enliven borders with a flamboyant floral display. The foliage appears early in the year, forming neat rosettes concealed by spring-flowering tulips and sweet rocket. In late spring tall stems yield fat buds wreathed in hairy cases, out from which spill crumpled, papery petals.

Oriental poppies thrive in full sun and well-drained soil. As with any other plant, get them off to a good start by incorporating plenty of organic material into the soil, such as home-made compost.

Once finished, poppies can looked a mess. Shearing the whole clump back to ground level will rejuvenate it and create a tidier appearance. Once again there will be neat rosettes and, with luck, a few more flowers in late summer.

Learn about five of the most garden-worthy varieties, below.


Papaver 'Maiden's Blush'

A distinctive variety with salmon-pink petals and a dark centre. Height 60cm.

Papaver orientale 'Turkenlouis'

This striking variety has bowl-shaped flowers with deeply fringed petals in scarlet red, with a dark purple centre. Height 80cm.

Papaver orientale 'Manhattan'

'Manhattan' bears large blowsy, ruffled pink blooms on strong stems. Height 80cm.

Papaver orientale 'Garden Glory'

A relative of popular variety 'Patty’s Plum', 'Garden Glory' has large double ruffled, salmon-pink petals. Unlike its cousin, petals don't flop. Height 75cm.

Papaver orientale 'Karine'

This compact variety has bowl-shaped, white-pink flowers with a dark centre. Height 60cm.


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