Argemone prickly poppy

Height 1.8m (6ft)

Height: 60cm (2ft)

Planting distance: 30cm (1ft)

Features: flowers summer

Soil: light, dry

Site: sun

Type: annual

The prickly poppy (Argemone mexicana) from Central America has majestic flowers in a range of yellows and oranges from early to late summer. Their sweet scent attracts bees and other insects. (Warning: the plant and its seeds are poisonous.)

The flowers, up to 10cm (4in) across, are carried 60cm (2ft) above the ground on sprawling, prickly stems. The thistle-like leaves are grey-blue.

Grow prickly poppies in informal planting schemes in borders, preferably where they can be allowed to self-seed.

Cultivation

Prickly poppies grow best in light, dry soil in a sunny border. Sow directly in the flowering site in mid spring, and thin out to 30cm (1ft) apart when the seedlings are large enough to handle.

Staking is not a good idea as it may damage the spindly stems. Deadhead regularly to encourage a longer flowering season.

For flowers in early summer, sow seeds in trays under glass in early spring. Keep them at 18°C (64°F). Prick out the seedlings into small pots, harden off and plant out in late spring.

Pests and diseases: Trouble free.

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