How to Transplant Oriental Poppies


With its big, showy spring blooms, Oriental poppy (Papaver orientale) is impossible to miss. As long as Oriental poppies are planted in well-drained soil and full sunshine, they require little care, but can be rejuvenated by transplanting the poppies every four to five years. However, keep in mind that because of its long taproot, transplanting the Oriental poppy can be a challenge. The best time to transplant Oriental poppies is in late summer, when the poppy plant isn't actively growing.

Step 1

Prepare the ground for the transplanted Oriental poppies ahead of time so the roots won't be exposed to the air any longer than necessary. Use a shovel or a rototiller to cultivate the soil to a depth of 12 to 14 inches, then mix in 2 to 4 inches of compost.

Step 2

Dig a large circle around the perimeter of the Oriental poppy plant with a sharp shovel. Dig deeply, then lift the clump of Oriental poppies out of the ground. Work carefully and try to keep the roots intact as much as possible.

Step 3

Dig a hole for the Oriental poppy in the prepared spot. The hole should be the depth of the poppy's root system, but at least twice as wide. Put the poppy plant in the hole with the top of the roots even with the top of the soil, then fill in around the plant with reserved soil. Tamp the soil down with the back of the shovel.

Step 4

Keep the soil moist for the first four to five weeks while the roots are getting established. After that time, Oriental poppies need water only during periods of hot, dry weather.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel or rototiller
  • Compost
  • Sharp shovel


  • Colorado State University: Oriental Poppies (Papaver orientale)
  • National Gardening Association: Oriental Poppy
  • Gardener's Corner: Transplanting Poppies
Keywords: transplant oriental poppies, oriental poppies, poppy plant

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.