Growing Tips: Oriental Poppy
Perennial, a plant that usually does not flower until the second season and lives and flowers for multiple seasons thereafter. Germinates in approximately 10 to 15 days at an optimum soil temperature of 70 degrees F. Space seed ½ to ¾ inches apart. DO NOT Cover seed, light is required for germination. Optimum space between plants in the garden, 20 to 30 inches. Plant height: 24 to 30 inches.
Where to plant:
Oriental poppies like full sun, prefer Alaska's cool weather, require a rich, well drained soil and like their seed planted where the plants will remain permanently, they must be transplanted when young and with care to avoid root damage.
In Alaska it is recommended that when perennial seed is planted directly in the garden, it not be planted until mid June to allow the soil to warm. It is preferred that the seed be started indoors in a containers because the environment is easier to control. Fill individual plastic pots that have drainage holes with a sterilized potting soil, sprinkle a few seeds on soil surface, DO NOT cover, seed requires light to germinate, water well for good seed-soil contact. Cover pots with clear plastic to reduce evaporation and keep moist until seedlings emerge. Remove plastic from the pots as soon as the seedlings begin to sprout. When seedlings show their first green leaves water with a liquid solution of plant food and place pots in full sun. When the seedlings are 1 to 1 ½ inches tall thin by clipping off all but the two largest plants, water with a liquid solution of plant food every two weeks and after the last frost move outdoors until the plants become well established, 2 to 3 inches tall. When planting to their permanent location, clip off the weakest seedling leaving only one plant, make a hole in the garden for the young plant, fill it with water, carefully slide the moist root ball out of the plastic pot, transplant it in the hole making sure the roots are not injured and press the soil around the root ball. Immediately water well to help reduce transplant shock.
Keep soil moist during growth period. Apply a complete plant food around the plants before the plants green up in the spring. All top growth will wither after flowering, remove dead foliage and mark plant location. Plants are difficult to transplant.