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PLANT PROFILE


Papaver somniferum - Opium Poppy

Papaver somniferum

Opium Poppy

I got my first Opium Poppy at a spring plant exchange. The foliage was quite different from anything I had seen before. No label was present to identify it but with nothing to lose I took it home to see what it would become. That first one was double-flowered and bloomed a pale lavender colour, with shaggy-edged petals. I was hooked. My second acquisition came a year later, hitching a ride with a gift plant from a friend. It was single-flowered and bloomed an amazing reddish shade with a purple centre. If that wasn't enough, my third plant turned out to be the one I dubbed 'Big Red' which you see above. Now the colours seem to mix and change in seedlings which appear each spring, some nicer than others, but all with attractive foliage which adds another element to the garden picture they help create.

PRONUNCIATION papp-PAY-vurr  sahm-NIFF-ur-um
COMMON NAME Opium Poppy
SYNONYMS  
DERIVATION somniferum = sleep-inducing
FAMILY Papaveraceae - Poppy
TYPE fast-growing upright, self-seeding annual
USES  
FLOWER single or double
COLOUR various
FOLIAGE oblong, lobed
COLOUR light grayish-green
HARDINESS Zone 3
EXPOSURE full sun
SOIL well-drained, light and sandy
WATER  
HEIGHT 30"
SPREAD 12"
BLOOM July and August with a few into October
STAKING not necessary
DEADHEAD yes, for tidiness
PROBLEMS growing these is still illegal
AFTERCARE pull entire plant after flowers have finished or leave a few seedheads to mature for seed collection
FALL CARE remove any plants not disposed of earlier
PROPAGATION by seed
SEED CULTURE sow collected seed in late summer for next year's bloom or allow plants to self-seed
FERTILIZER requirements not known
MULCH requirements not known
FORMS the flowers of single-blooming forms can be 4" across; doubles can be Carnation-flowered series - fringed flowers in mixed colours or Peony-flowered series - large, rounded often cup-shaped double flowers in a mixture of colours
COMPANION PLANTS COMPANIONS PLANTS

The images below show the variety of flower colour and form available in this species.

Papaver somniferum - a pink double-flowered Opium Poppy Papaver somniferum - single-flowered lavender Opium Poppy Papaver somniferum - double-flowered lavender Opium Poppy Papaver somniferum - red single-flowered Opium Poppy Papaver somniferum - red double-flowered Opium Poppy


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CORNER GARDEN CONSTRUCTION  |  CORNER GARDEN PLANTING  |  LONG GARDEN

EAST GARDEN  |  HOSTA GARDEN  |  NORTH GARDEN  |  WINTER GARDENS

PLANT PARTNERSHIPS

BLUE PERENNIALS    Aconitum - Geranium  |  Iris - Vinca

BULBS    Allium - Hyacinthus  |  Narcissus only  |  Tulipa only  |  Minor Bulbs

BUTTERFLY MAGNETS    Anaphalis - Hemerocallis  | Liatris - Veronicastrum
DAYLILIES      Spider & Unusual Form

EDGERS    Arabis - Iris  |  Nepeta - Veronica

FOLIAGE PERENNIALS     Alchemilla - Tanacetum

HOSTA    Hosta - all

HUMMINGBIRD-FRIENDLY PERENNIALS    Alcea - Salvia

ORANGE PERENNIALS    Achillea - Tulipa

ORNAMENTAL GRASSES    Acorus - Imperata |  Miscanthus - Spodiopogon

PINK PERENNIALS    Achillea - Lilium  |  Lychnis - Veronica

PURPLE PERENNIALS    Aconitum - Liatris  | Polemonium - Veronica

RED PERENNIALS    Achillea - Veronica

SHADE PERENNIALS    Aegopodium - Erythronium  | Ferns - Polemonium  |  Polygonatum - Vinca

SILVER FOLIAGE PERENNIALS    Achillea - Cerastium    |   Cornus - Limonium    |   Lunaria - Veronica

SIMPLY SPECIAL PERENNIALS    Acanthus - Saxifraga

WHITE PERENNIALS    Achillea - Iris  |  Kalimeris - Yucca

YELLOW PERENNIALS    Achillea - Hypericum  | Inula - Verbascum

VARIEGATED-FOLIAGE PERENNIALS    Acorus - Erythronium  |  Hakonechloa - Lysimachia  |  Miscanthus - Yucca

PLANT PROFILES

Dianthus 'Tiny Rubies'  |  Geranium  |  Geum coccineum  |  Kerria japonica  |  Knautia macedonica

Paeonia tenuifolia  |  Papaver somniferum  | Rudbeckia  |  Salvia 'East Friesland'

Trollius  |  Veronica 'Sunny Border Blue'

PROPAGATION

DIVISION - SPRING ONLY  |   DIVISION - FALL ONLY  |   DIVISION - SPRING OR FALL  |   DO NOT DIVIDE

FERTILIZATION

BULBS  |   ORNAMENTAL GRASSES  |   PERENNIALS  |   SHRUBS  |   VINES

LINKS

GARDENS  |   LOCAL GARDENS  |   BOTANICAL TERMINOLOGY

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