Growing and Arranging with Poppies
Hi, Kelly here! Today I'm sharing some favorite poppy varieties, grown by Lee from Goldenrod Gardens in Boone, NC!
Lee and I love talking about flowers together. Last Spring she brought over fantastic poppies and I made an arrangement with them that I wish was captured by one of my photographer friends because it's one of my favorites and my images just don't do the flowers justice.
Anyway, I'll pass it over to Lee and she'll share about the varieties! Comment with any questions you have about growing poppies!
Papaver somniferum 'Lilac Candy Floss'
This potent beauty has captivated me with its (literally) intoxicating scent and ethereal flowers. Flowers last only three days, but if you cut them and split bud stage they will hold in a 39 degree cooler for up to a week. Multiple 4" double flowers in a cool lilac color atop 4' plants with pale green lettuce-like leaves. The seeds may be sowed outdoors in late fall (zones 6b-8) or early spring. I've done well starting in the greenhouse Jan-Feb and transplanting out in March. For me in zone 6b, their bloom period begins after the first week of June and continues through July, although temperatures above 80 produce inferior flowers and stalks. Their pods are nicely sized-1" and stems curve gracefully and make interesting dried subjects. Annual.
Papaver paeoniflorum 'Salmon Peony'
Woah, Nellie this is a poppy with presence! Extremely plump, double flowers are the most amazing color of rich salmon. They definitely remind me of peonies but the saturation of color and density of their blooms is incomparable. Their stems curl so they need creative placement in floral work. Culture, harvest and vase life are similar to the 'Lilac Candy Floss' although they do not bloom as long. Annual.
Papaver rhoeas 'Mother of Pearl'
These sweet heirloom poppies remind me of butterflies the way they hover in the garden. 2" Single flowers are finely colored in shades of white, peach, red and purple often with a fine overlay of color giving them and iridescent quality. Individual flowers last about 2 days but cut stems with multiple stalks will continue for days (I've even had this happen in a bucket full of them out of water) Cut when the buds begin to point up and you can see the color through the calyx or at split stage. Hold in a cooler at 39 degrees up to 5 days. They are easy to grow and will self sow in surprising places after established. Culture same as above. Annual.
Papaver nudicale 'Champagne Bubbles'
I assure you, growing these is worth the patience it takes to get them going. Vividly colored flowers unfold themselves like crepe paper- reminding me of butterflies when they emerge from their chrysalis- and hold 3-6 days. (By the way, I could probably give a butterfly reference to half of the flowers I grow- they are my spirit insect- he he) When these poppies are really cranking, I harvest twice a day by gently tugging their stems to the side near the base. This harvest method can help prevent crown rot which can be an issue. Harvest at split bud stage or as soon as you can see the flower color through the calyx. Sear the bottom of the stems with a propane torch (so fast and easy) and if they are cut again, repeat. Hold for up to 5 days in the cooler. I load up all of my poppies from the cooler on Saturday mornings and by the first hour of the farmers market, half of them have opened. I sell bunches to customers that are half open and half bud stage- prolonging the show. Treat as annual unless you live in the frozen north
Sow seeds individually in small cell flats no later than Feb 1, and bottom water or use a fine mist diffuser until germination (2 weeks). Plant out as soon as the soil can be worked. You lucky folks living in the zone 8 coastal plain cangrow these throughout the winter. Plants will begin to melt when night time temps exceed 65 degrees