Papaver orientale, commonly called Oriental poppy, is among the most popular poppies available. They are clump-forming plants that have large flowers on tall stems. Beauty of Livermore is an outstanding seed grown variety that has deep red flowers. Serrate, thistle-like, grayish-green leaves (to 12” long) are pinnately dissected into lance-shaped segments and have a somewhat weedy appearance. Foliage yellows and dies shortly after flowering, typically leaving a hole in the garden. Basal mats of new leaves appear in fall and overwinter until spring when the foliage puts on a spurt of growth up until the point when the flowers bloom. Best grown in organically rich, fertile, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Performs well in average garden soils as long as drainage is good. Hardy in zones 3-7. This is a cold weather plant that needs a period of winter dormancy, and generally will not grow well south of USDA Zone 7.
Growing Instructions for the Oriental Poppy
The seeds have a period of dormancy. They can be planted outdoors in the fall or winter for spring germination or they can be cold stratified to simulate winter conditions and to break their dormancy at any time of the year. 1. Place the seeds in a ziplock bag and seal it. Store the bag in a refrigerator for 14 days. 2. Sow the seeds on the soil. Do not cover them with soil. The seeds need light to germinate. 3. Water the soil. Keep it moist but not wet. The seeds germinate in 7-14 days.