Poppy (Perennial) Growing Guide

Papaver nudicaule (Iceland poppy), Papaver orientale (Oriental poppy)

Poppy (Perennial)

Crop Rotation Group



Fertile, well-drained soil enriched with plenty of compost.


Full sun to partial afternoon shade.

Frost tolerant

Yes. Both Iceland poppies and Oriental poppies are tremendously cold tolerant once established.


In spring, topdress the dormant plants with rich compost or a balanced organic fertilizer.


Single Plants: 7" (20cm) each way (minimum)
Rows: 7" (20cm) with 7" (20cm) row gap (minimum)

Sow and Plant

Perennial poppies can be started from seed sown where you want the plants to grow, or you can buy seedlings in spring. Some of the showiest Oriental poppies are propagated from rooted cuttings rather than seed. Plant as early as possible so the plants can establish themselves in cool weather.
Our Garden Planner can produce a personalized calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area.


Iceland poppies may not survive hot summers, but will often reseed themselves, with new seedlings appearing in autumn. They are the best poppies to grow for cut flowers, and some varieties are fragrant. Big, bold oriental poppies form clumps over time, and are dependable perennials in temperate climates with cold winters. They are never bothered by deer.


Snip off old blossoms to keep the plants looking neat, and to encourage reblooming.


Summer heat can cause Iceland poppies to stop blooming or melt away. Oriental poppies leave a gap in mixed borders when they die back in late summer.

Planting and Harvesting Calendar

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Pests which Affect Poppy (Perennial)