The word poppy usually sparks an image of iconic red flowers in summer hay fields or pretty wildflower meadows, but there are so many more colours and shapes to enjoy! Think huge, exotic blue flowers, grey double blooms and purple pom poms that fill the garden with friendly pollinators. Whether you want to grow annual or perennial poppies, you’ll find plenty of helpful hints and tips in this collection of articles, videos and Instagram posts.
When you’re ready to place an order, browse our wide range of annual and perennial poppy seeds for inspiration.
Scatter annual poppy seeds into herbaceous borders for fresh summer colour
Instagrammer Toyah at @littlekentgardener loves to see poppies peeking up through the daisies and roses in her herbaceous border, as seen above. In a separate post, she explains that these ‘Amazing Grey’ poppies are anything but neutral. An enticing mix of delicate single and ruffled double blooms, “they’re all individually very beautiful,” she says. Scroll through her images to see the surprising variety of colours and shapes these poppies produce.
Choose a single colour for understated elegance
“They really are the purest white, and catch every breath of breeze with their paper-thin petals, dancing like butterflies,” enthuses Instagrammer Louise at @louise_ness1. Her striking white poppies look particularly ethereal in the walled garden where their delicate petals and fluffy yellow stamens highlight the space. And if that’s not enough to inspire you – they’re the perfect bee magnet too!
Impress friends with the unusual blue Himalayan poppy
A source of fascination in horticulture, blue Himalayan poppies are notoriously difficult to get right. Instagrammer Kirsty Wilson at @getplantinghort is a veteran grower of these otherworldly flowers, so she knows a few tricks to help you along. Most importantly, she says, don’t ever let them dry out. Find more growing tips in her short reel about growing Himalayan poppies filmed at The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.
Use poppies to transform neglected spaces into eye-catching features
Unsure where to sow your poppy seeds? YouTuber Simon at Gardening at 58 North uses his seeds to transform a scrubby, narrow bed next to his carport into a flower-packed festival of colour! The densely growing plants do a fabulous job of suppressing weeds too. Simon says that the sight of the poppies in full flower is enough to stop passers by in their tracks!
Mix your poppy seeds with sand to make them easier to handle
Are you sowing your poppy seeds in neat rows? Spacing can be a bit tricky with such tiny seeds! Ray, from the popular YouTube channel Gardening for Beginners, recommends mixing your poppy seeds with sand before you scatter them. This trick makes the seeds easier to handle and helps them to land with more space to germinate. Watch his friendly video for a helpful demonstration.
Grow poppies in your vegetable garden
Like to grow vegetables? Add some poppies to your veg patch, recommends the king of No-Dig – Charles Dowding. His annual California poppies are a captivating carpet of golden orange and his perennial oriental poppies are a beacon of red marking the end of beds. Some of his poppies are more than six years old! Check out his YouTube channel for plenty of planting gems.
Cut back perennial poppies to force a second flush of flowers
Cut back your perennial poppies when their flowers start to fade, advises Daniel from The Patient Gardener. Go right down to the base of each plant. It sounds drastic, but it really opens the door to a second flush of flowers later in the summer, he explains. Post-flowering is also a great time to take a root cutting from your favourite oriental poppies, so give his info-packed article a read.
Split mature clumps of perennial poppies in autumn for more plants
You can direct sow poppy seeds in spring or autumn, but the easiest way to get more of your favourite perennial poppies is by lifting and dividing a mature clump, advises our expert team at the Thompson & Morgan blog. Do this at the end of summer with a sharp spade after the plants have finished blooming. Replant the new clumps wherever you want a bright burst of summer colour.
Allow poppies to self-seed for surprise colours
If you want a lovely chaos of colours in your summer garden, let your poppies produce seed heads and leave them on the plant to scatter in the wind. Instagrammer Andrea of @hornettslittlenest is delighted with the flowers that popped up all over her garden paradise in pinks, purples and reds. “They really are so beautiful and always welcome in my garden and the bees love them too,” she says. Scroll through her images to see more.
Collect your own seeds by drying the lovely seed heads
Want to learn how to collect the seeds from your poppies? Wait for a seed head to form and then cut it, just like Instagrammer Sophie over at @floraldaysintheshires. “I hang the poppy seed heads upside down too, but remember to add a bag around the heads otherwise you’ll end up with seeds everywhere in a few weeks!” Sophie also leaves a few poppies in the garden to self-seed. She says, “it’s always good to have free new plants!”
We hope this has answered some of your questions about poppies. For information and advice on growing wildflowers, you’ll find plenty of tips over at our dedicated hub page. Share your favourite flowers with us via Instagram and Twitter – we love to see what you’re up to!
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