How to Plant Oriental Poppies


Oriental poppies (Papaver orientale) are extremely hardy plants that grow as perennials in USDA plant zones 1 to 6 and as annuals in warmer zones. Oriental poppies grow to be 3 feet in height and have flowers that are about 6 inches wide, which bloom in the spring or early summer. Oriental poppies need full sun--or about eight hours of sunlight--and are easiest planted from container plants in the spring after the last frost and the ground is workable.

Step 1

Turn over the top 12 to 15 inches of soil and incorporate about 2 inches of composted manure, garden compost, peat or another organic material. This gives the soil better drainage, which oriental poppies require.

Step 2

Dig holes that are the same depth as the plant's container, but twice as wide. Space plants about 2 to 3 feet apart.

Step 3

Take the plants out of their containers and set the plants in the holes. Fill back the holes with soil and pack it down to help eliminate air pockets.

Step 4

Water the oriental poppies with about 3 to 4 inches of water after planting. Oriental poppy roots can be 12 inches long, which is a long way for water to reach. Water only as fast as the soil absorbs it.

Things You'll Need

  • Tiller or hoe
  • Organic material
  • Trowel
  • Mulch


  • National Gardening Association: Oriental Poppy
  • Colorado State University Extension: Oriental Poppy
Keywords: plant oriental poppies, grow oriental poppies, Papaver orientale

About this Author

Melissa Lewis has been a professional writer since 2005. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications. A former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist, Lewis is also a script writer, with the script, "Homecoming," currently in production. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology.