Care of Oriental Poppies


Oriental poppies are herbaceous perennial flowers native to temperate regions of Asia. They are commonly grown for their bright, ornamental blossoms, which bloom during late spring in shades of red, orange or pink. Oriental poppies typically grow to 4 feet in height and 2 feet in diameter with proper care. They are used extensively in bouquets and flower arrangements due to their long life after being cut. Oriental poppy plants require only basic maintenance to thrive and produce flowers year after year.

Step 1

Plant Oriental poppies during early spring, just after the final frost of winter. Choose a planting site that receives six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day. Space Oriental poppies at least 30 inches apart.

Step 2

Water Oriental poppies once per week during the first month of growth to help the plants become established before summer begins. Reduce the frequency of watering to once every 10 days thereafter.

Step 3

Feed Oriental poppies twice per year, once in early spring and again in late summer. Use a low nitrogen 0-10-10 NPK fertilizer to establish the root system and promote the growth of flowers. Apply following the manufacturer's directions for proper dosage.

Step 4

Remove dead or faded Oriental poppy flowers to conserve nutrients and prevent the blossoms from turning to seed. Pinch off the flowers as close to their point of origin as possible to minimize shock to the plant.

Step 5

Spread a 3-inch layer of mulch over the soil surrounding Oriental poppies during late fall to insulate the soil and protect the roots from cold damage. Remove the mulch in early spring to allow room for new growth.

Things You'll Need

  • Fertilizer
  • Mulch


  • Michigan State University Cooperative Extension Service: Papaver orientale--Oriental Poppy
  • "Mid-Atlantic Gardener's Guide;" André Viette, Mark Viette, Jacqueline Hériteau; 2003
  • University of Illinois Extension Gardening with Perennials: Oriental Poppy
Keywords: oriental poppy, oriental poppy plants, oriental poppy flowers

About this Author

Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including