How to Care for Poppy Flowers


Poppies are some of the most popular and recognizable wildflowers. Their huge red, pink, orange and white blooms can reach 6 inches across on stems some 4 feet tall. Poppies are most striking when planted in a backdrop of evergreens or with darkly colored blossoms such as coneflowers. They are extremely hardy plants that stay in full bloom from late spring to summer and require very little maintenance. With the proper care, poppies will come back stronger year after year.

Step 1

Plant your poppies 2 to 3 feet apart to allow for ample room to grow. Be sure all flowers have access to 6 or more hours of sunshine each day.

Step 2

Spread a layer of compost 1 to 2 inches deep in early spring to provide essential nutrients for growth.

Step 3

Add a 2-inch layer of mulch on top of the compost to aid in soil moisture retention and prevent an onslaught of weeds.

Step 4

Thoroughly water poppies 1 or 2 times per week during the blooming season. Poppies go into dormancy after blooming and should then only be watered during periods of drought.

Step 5

After the first winter frost, apply a layer of mulch 4 to 6 inches deep to protect and insulate the roots. Once spring arrives, gently remove the protective mulch and reapply compost.

Things You'll Need

  • Mulch
  • Compost


  • National Gardening Association: Oriental Poppy
  • Poppies International: Oriental Poppy
Keywords: plant popies, water poppies, mulch poppies

About this Author

Kelsey Erin Shipman has worked as a travel writer, poet, journalist and award-winning photographer since 2004. She is a featured poet on NYC public radio, is the winner of the San Jacinto & Alethean Literary Societies' Poetry Award, and has authored three collections of poetry including "cold days," "bastante" and "short poems." She earned a B.A. in philosophy from Southwestern University.