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How to Cut Poppy Flowers

Poppy flowers are large red or yellow blossoms that are known for their range in central Europe. Poppies add outstanding color to gardens and meadows but are notoriously short-lived in vases. This is because once the stem of a poppy is cut, a milky substance oozes to the site of the cut and seals the end, preventing it from drawing water when sitting in a vase. But, with a few household items you can prevent the early wilting of your poppies and enjoy them for several days.

Go out early in the morning to find the poppies you wish to cut. Look for healthy flowers whose buds have not yet opened.

Use clean, sharp shears to cut the stem just above dirt. Dull blades can make uneven cuts and damage the flower.

Singe the cut briefly with a match until the end is almost black. This prevents the milky substance from reaching the cut and allows the flower to draw water.

Remove the outer green calyx from the base of the petals as this will help the plant last longer indoors.

Place poppies in a vase filled half way with filtered water.

Place a plate or cloth beneath your vase of poppies to catch fallen petals. Though singeing the end will significantly increase the life of your poppies, they will not survive more than a few days.

Poppy Flowers Come Spring?

Perennial poppies need a planting bed in full sun with deep, loose well-drained soil. If spring temperatures are warm, provide partial shade. They look great in meadows, but work well in large groups in beds or borders, too. Poppies planted on their own are striking, but if you want combinations, try floating bright corn poppies (P. rhoeas) in a cloud of baby's breath (Gypsophila spp.) Annual poppies never need fertilizer. Perennial poppies benefit from a shovelful of compost every spring, topped with a 2- to 4-inch layer of mulch to prevent weeds and help keep the soil moisture even. Pick them when the bud is just beginning to open. The cut end of the stem oozes milky sap.

Tip

Instead of using a match, try briefly dipping the end of a cut poppy into boiling water.

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