HARDY PERENNIALS: PAPAVER

Oriental Poppies are amongst the most gorgeous of perennial flowers. Some varieties often fail to reach perfection because the flowers are too heavy for the stems, but P. ‘Goliath’ is not one of these, for it always stands unaided and with such richness of colour is a focal point in the garden from late May to early July. Other upstanding varieties are the scarlet P. ‘Marcus Perry’ and P. ‘Perry’s White’. These all grow to 3 feet and there are slightly shorter ones in the single pink P. ‘Mrs. Perry’, and P. ‘Stormtoch’ orange red, and P. ‘Indian Chief brownish red, whilst P. ‘Snowflame’ has an unusual suffusion of orange, red and white.

Papavers have deep fleshy roots and will not only increase from root cuttings, but an old plant being dug up, will shoot from roots left behind. The long, roughly hairy leaves are lush in spring, but unless plants are cut back after flowering, they look untidy. Cutting back induces a fresh crop of leaves to help cover what might otherwise be more or less bare ground. Poor, rather than rich soil is best for these Poppies, since richness makes for over tall weak growth and wetness may result in winter losses through crown rot.

PAPAVER orientalis 'Goliath'

PAPAVER orientalis ‘Goliath’

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