Papaver somniferum, commonly known as the opium poppy is a species of flowering plant in the family Papaveraceae. It is the species of plant from which opium and poppy seeds are derived and is a valuable ornamental plant, grown in gardens.
An annual herb growing to about 100 cm (39 in) tall, the plant is strongly glaucous, giving a greyish-green appearance, and the stem and leaves bear a sparse distribution of coarse hairs. The large leaves are lobed, the upper stem leaves clasping the stem, the lowest leaves with a short petiole. It blooms between June and August, flowers up to 30–100 mm (1.2–3.9 in) diameter, normally with four white, mauve or red petals, sometimes with dark markings at the base.
Sowing & planting
15 - 100
6 - 7
Identify my poppy
The poppy called "somniferum" is the one often found in our gardens, cousin of the corn poppy! It is an annual herbaceous plant with a stem that can reach up to 1.5 meters, with white or lilac flowers with a dark purple center.
The capsule, round and large, contains many seeds. It is found in the Asian mountains but it is quite common in Europe.
Sow my poppy
Poppy cultivation is easy. Once sown on well-drained soils, it will cover them very quickly.
On the other hand, the poppy,does not support transplantation. It reproduces only by sowing.
Find a dry, well-drained spot in your garden. Poppies adapt perfectly to calcareous and poor soils - but they need sunshine to ensure a beautiful flowering, and moderatly wet ground.
Sow in April, when the soil has warm up, or you can sow in the fall for early flowering.
In heavy soil, you can mix sand with it to lighten and drain better. Moisten the soil by watering it in fine mist, then sow it just on the whole surface. Rake lightly, then tamp the soil with the back of the tool, taking care not to create puddles in which the seeds would accumulate.
Keep the soil cool until emergence of the seedlings.
Thin out my poppy
Thinning may occur when the plants have some leaves, if you notice spaces of less than 5 centimeters between two subjects.
Water my poppy
The poppy does not fear much, and especially not drought.
During the emergence of the seedlings and the first weeks, water in very fine mist - your seedlings are very fragile! If you have tried the adventure of poppies in tubs or pots, water them during the summer - in the open soil, beyond the first month, it is perfectly useless!
Remove my poppy
If you want to avoid the proliferation of seedlings - the poppy can become invasive! - cut the flowers as soon as they start to form their seed pods. Conversely, you can harvest the seeds!
Propagate my poppy
The poppy multiplies itself from one year to another thanks to the spontaneous sowing, but if you wish you can harvest some seeds, to sow elsewhere or to give it to someone.
At the end of flowering, you will find in the center of the flower a capsule: this one, once dry, contains a multitude of small seeds that are black. Warning ! Let the flowers dry before harvest: green, they would not be ripe.
Check on my poppy
The poppy may be prone to aphid attacks. A water spray with baking soda will be suitable (two liters of water, a spoon of bicarbonate, a little soap, pschit!)
In moist soil it may be subject to powdery mildew - in this case, dry out, or move it the next year.