Outdoor cultivation of Papaver Nudicaule – Iceland Poppy

Papaver Nudicaule, the Iceland Poppy, is a first-class cut flower and available in a wide colour range, including shades of orange, red, salmon, yellow, chamois and white. The result of careful and patient breeding has brought about much more vigorous growth and longer, stronger stems than the older types.

Propagation is from seed sown in the spring in a sunny position in the open or in the cold frame. Use soil which has been brought to a fine tilth and is fairly rich in organic matter. Whilst the plants like the sun, there must be no lack of moisture at any time. The seedlings must be transplanted whilst small, and shade given in the event of very sunny weather. Bushy sticks laid over the ground are sufficient for this purpose.

Papaver Nudicaule

It is essential to gather the flowers whilst they are in the bud stage and just as the petals show through the green sepals. The morning or evening is the best time to cut the blooms, and to ensure that they do not flag, it is wise to dip the end of the stems in boiling water for a few moments so as to seal them; alternatively, the ends may be held over a flame for a moment or so.

Particularly good strains are the ‘Giant Coonera’, 18-24 in., and `Sandford Giant Mixed’, 2 ft.

Papaver orientale is the oriental poppy which produces its showy flowers during May and June. Plants may be raised from seed or propagated from root cuttings. Among the most reliable varieties are ‘Enchantress’, rose pink; ‘Indian Chief’, mahogany; ‘Jeannie Mawson’, geranium-pink; ‘Lord Lambourne’, orange-scarlet, and ‘Mrs Stobart’, salmon-pink. Here again the blooms must be gathered whilst very young, preferably just as the buds are opening, when the petals look like crinlded satin.

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