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Plants Online - Poppy

Plants for sale - Poppy - Papaver

42

POPPY

Family PAPAVERACEAE
Papaver species
Annual

This family includes many annuals from Europe, Asia, North Africa, western North America or the Arctic regions.

Papaver nudicaule, the Iceland Poppy, with flowers three inches or more across of white, yellow, pink, salmon and orange has given rise to a number of well-known strains of garden origin, notably the Coonara, Gartref and Kelmscott.
Papaver nudicaule is strictly a perennial, but is best treated as an annual.

The Opium Poppy is Papaver somniferum, of Europe and Asia, with flowers of double and single form with frilled petals, that vary from white to red and purple. Grows wild throughout the UK on any type of soil.

papaver somniferum - the opium poppy


Papaver rhoeas is the Corn Poppy, native to Britain, with scarlet flowers, and is parent to a host of varieties, of which the Shirley Poppy is most popular.
There are also the scarlet Papaver californicum, the Tulip Poppy (Papaver laerigatum), with scarlet, black and white flowers;
Papaver glaucum, from Syria, with scarlet flowers, spotted purple at the base;
The Peacock Poppy (Papaver pavonium), from Afghanistan, with scarlet and black flowers.

Seed may be sown in spring or autumn where the plants are to flower.

The flowering season is from late June to September.

Poppy – Papaver

The large family of Poppies is conveniently divided into the Perennial or Herbaceous kinds, and the Biennials and Annuals raised from seed.
The Perennial Poppies vary a good deal in habit and size and in the treatment required.
The largest class is that called Orientale, in which the plants spring from the root-stock early in the year, rapidly form large bushes, and in March and April produce enormous single and semi-double flowers.
In the “type” Orientale these are an intense orange scarlet with a black blotch. Newer sorts are Salmon Queen, Silver Queen, Pink Beauty, Prince of Orange, whose names indicates their colours.
(These names the beginner will do well not to take too literally).
The roots should be planted out in October; their proper place is in wide herbaceous borders, where each clump may have two or three square yards to swagger in. ordinary garden soil suffices, but it should be fairly deep, and not encroached on by roots.
The plants may be allowed to sprawl at their will, or while the flowers are still in bud, three or four sticks may be placed round each clump, and the whole supported with tarred string.
This may be done quite inconspicuously, and the flowers will hold up their heads advantageously.
The top-hamper may be cut down by July or August; the ground should be pricked over, and well top-dressed in October.

Papaver orientale may be raised from seed sown on a fine seed bed in the open in June or early July.
In heavy, unkind soils sow in boxes, and give a little help with shade and water. Prick out the plants when large enough, and finally put out in autumn.
The plants may be increased by dividing the roots, taking care to plant pieces possessing both leaf-shoots and root fibres.
Small offsets may often be found a little distance from the main clump.
Papaver bracteatum is a somewhat more compact orientale, with vivid crimson scarlet flowers of imposing size.
It blooms from May to July.
Its culture is the same as that required by orientale.
Papaver pilosum is about eighteen inches high.
The leaves and stem are hairy, the flowers are large, and their colour is variously described as salmon, terra-cotta or apricot.
It may be raised from seed sown as directed under Papaver orientale.
The flowering time is in June and July.
Papaver nudicaule, the “Iceland Poppy”, does not exceed a foot or eighteen inches in height.
It forms a ground-tuft a light green leaves, and throws up a sheaf of flowers on elastic hairy stems.
The colours are pure white, lemon yellow, and a light reddish orange; the texture of the petals is very beautiful, delicately crumpled and half diaphanous.
Though classed as a perennial, the Iceland Poppy has a trick of decaying at the collar, and vanishing; the best plan is to sow seed, thinly and lightly covered, on a nice fine seed-bed at the end of March.
Thinned out, the plants will flower about July, and continue in bloom a month or more.
Later sowings will produce plants which may be put out to stand the winter, and flower the following June.
In a good soil and situation the flowers will sow their own seeds, and sometimes a large breadth of fine plants may be had without any trouble.
All the three shades of Papaver nudicaule are particularly charming in contrast with Campanula turbinate.

Papaver alpinum resembles nudicaule, but is slighter and smaller.
Its range of colour comprises white, orange, yellow, buff, apricot, etc., some of these tints being rather insipid.
The plant may be raised from seed sown in spring; but it has not the vigour and stamina of the Iceland race.

Papaver Cambricum. Welsh Poppy (see Meconopsis).

The annual Poppies may be roughly divided into the tall varieties, double and single, of the somniferum tribe, and the dwarf kinds resembling the wild corn poppy, of which the “Shirley” strain is the best known representative.
The tall Poppies have handsome silvery green foliage, much cut and waved; the flowers are as much as five or six inches across, and are followed by large seed heads.
The catalogues contain sundry classes, such as the Pæony and the Carnation-flowered, Giant and Japanese, which show little practical difference.
The colours comprise white, puce, black-purple, rose, salmon, bright scarlet, rose and white, deep brownish-red.

Next to these come an intermediate tribe, growing about two feet high (such as umbrosum, crimson flowers with black blotch; lævigatum, two feet, scarlet and white) leading to the third class, namely, the descendants of the wild red poppy of the fields.
The Tulip Poppy is a very fine annual for patches or small beds, a semi-double in which the inner petals gracefully close in over the stamens while the outer ones expand; the colour is a fine deep scarlet.

The best of the dwarf annual Poppies, and one of the best garden “improvements” ever made, is the comparatively recent introduction “Shirley”.
Hybridised from the wild English poppy, the flowers are most beautiful in shape, single and semi-double; the colours include white, pure and tinged with rose, many shades of pink and rose, light orange, scarlet and deep red; sometimes the petals are flushed or edged with a second colour.
The flowers open in the early morning, and in hot weather begin to fall about noon.
Strongly developed plants will continue to renew their bloom for a fortnight or three weeks; weak and over-crowded specimens have a much briefer career.

All the annual poppies should be sown about the 25th of March, in patches in borders, or in beds and breadths where there is room for such display.
It is impossible to judge of the full effect of the annual Poppies – and particularly the “Shirleys” – unless they are seen in a good-sized plot or mass.
The seed bed should be made smooth and fine, choosing a time when the soil is crumbly and dry on the top; scatter the seed thinly broadcast, rake it in lightly, and when the seedlings appear, thin them out mercilessly.
The taller kinds should stand eighteen inches apart, the Shirleys six inches to a foot. The latter, if allowed to stand after they have seeded, will sow themselves, and sometimes stock half the garden with seedlings.
These self-sown plants if thinned out or transplanted will usually produce incomparable flowers the following summer. Seed of the Shirleys may be sown about August, to stand the winter and flower strongly and early the next season.
Unless self-seeding is desired, the annual Poppies should be pulled up and burned directly the last flowers have fallen, and their room used for something else.

The situation for all Poppies should be quite open and exposed to the sun; the soil should be deep and in good heart, without positive manure.
Poppies suffer from the attacks of a specific fungus which causes the leaves and stems to decay. It is not as yet so widespread as the Mallow disease and some others, but there seems no cure when it has developed.
All affected plants should be pulled up and burnt.

See also : Meconopsis , Oriental Poppy

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