06 June 2008

Poppies Pooped Out

Two years ago I joined the National Home Gardening Club and received a packet of poppy seeds. (The packet showed a bunch of red flowers.) They were planted in the fall, and springtime brought only two plants - one with pink flowers and one with red. Seeds were saved from both and planted in fall again, and this year produced - voila - only one plant with red blossoms. Did these seeds ever hear the phrase 'field of poppies?' Maybe they do better if planted in the spring.

This one is a Shirley Poppy, (papever rhoaes). From one base stem, the plant produces dozens of branching stems each with a hairy flower bud. Flowers are carmine red with four petals, two tend to turn up and two turn down after hot sun hits them. As with the peony poppies, the blossoms do not last long. The branching stems are falling all over like a giant spider, selfishly hogging too much space in the bed for one plant. This poppy would probably look better if it had several of its friends together in one group.

For The Record:
  • Growing in somewhat heavy soil, full sun
  • Light liquid fertilizer
  • Very low germination rate with fall planting
  • Non-compact, branching habit