The Q&A Archives: Wilting Poppy

Question: I have bought and planted 3 poppy plants. They are supposed to be relatively hardy. They are slow growers and one keeps getting the leaves darkening, and drying up. I did find a type of beetle in the buds and just watched and picked a couple off. The buds either don't open of are stunted. I got a free shared poppy from my friend and it grew great and flowers like a big carnation. I think maybe I should stick with the free ones?? They are beside each other and were both planted mid summer. They are both perennials. I also have poppies (annuals) and they are flowering like crazy. What do you think?

Answer: Perennial poppies resent having their roots disturbed so perhaps your plant is pouting, especially if you transplanted it in mid-summer. Cut away the dead foliage and see if it doesn't perk up a bit. By next spring it should be well established and bloom happily for you. Poppies should be dug and replanted only during their dormant season (sort of like sneaking up on them, isn't it??) When the foliage dies back at the end of the season cut it away and mulch over the soil surface to protect the roots during the winter. Remove the mulch when the weather warms up in the spring.

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