How to Winterize Poppy, Iceland


Iceland poppies (papaver nudicaule) are technically perennials and easy to grow from seed. However, they are often considered annuals because they usually die out after only one season, particularly where summers are warm. If sown directly into the ground in the fall, Iceland poppies will bloom in the spring and are more likely to last 2 to 3 seasons in colder climates. Plants grow up to two feet and produce flowers in orange, yellow, cream and other colors into the early summer, especially if picked frequently. Despite their delicate nature, Iceland poppies are as easy as other perennials to protect over the winter.


Step 1

Choose a sunny, well-composted area with good drainage to sow seeds in the fall.

Step 2

Sprinkle the tiny poppy seeds over the area. Lightly press them into the soil, or cover with a thin layer of soil.

Step 3

Water the flower bed to maintain moisture. Seedlings may appear a week after planting but may wilt if warm temperatures return.

Step 4

Add a 10-inch layer of salt hay or straw to mulch the flower bed for winter insulation when the ground begins to freeze.

Step 5

Remove winter mulch from the flower bed in the early spring or around the time the ground can be worked.

Things You'll Need

  • Seeds
  • Salt hay or straw


  • Iceland Poppy -- Garden Basics -- Flower -- Annual
  • The Wisconsin Garden Guide, Jerry Minnich, 1995.
Keywords: Iceland Poppy, winterize Iceland Poppies, winter mulch Iceland Poppies, perennials winter protection

About this Author

Sally Bunch has been writing articles for print and online publications for the past two years, including "The Boston Parents Paper," MATSOL Currents, and She holds a Master of Arts in applied linguistics from the University of Massachusetts and a Bachelor of Arts in French language and literature from Boston University.