Ask a Question forum→Oriental poppies

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Riverton, Wyoming
WhyWhyWhy
Jun 8, 2020 6:34 PM CST
I transplanted some poppies in the fall several years ago. The first couple of years they were beautiful. Now, they come up in the spring, get 5-6" tall, and then the leaves start to yellow and they stop growing. What am I doing wrong?
Name: one-eye-luke US.Vet.
Texas (Zone 8a)
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oneeyeluke
Jun 9, 2020 1:48 PM CST
You need to use fresh seed again, because the seed that's growing now are inbred and lacks hybrid vigor. When a plant covers an entire area to a single variety year after year, they produce inbred seed. Next year buy new hybrid seed and replant and they will do like before.
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Jun 9, 2020 1:58 PM CST
Welcome!

Are your poppies coming up from last year's roots (perennial)? Could you post some photos? Have you fertilized or added anything to the soil?
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
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stone
Jun 10, 2020 10:18 AM CST
Oriental poppies are usually long lived perennials. really doubt there's a seedling problem.

sounds like a soil issue.

Like Fungus Blight...

https://homeguides.sfgate.com/...

So... maybe get in there and dig them up... work the soil, replant with plenty of space between plants, mulch well, and avoid wetting the foliage.

Riverton, Wyoming
WhyWhyWhy
Jun 10, 2020 12:46 PM CST
They are perennials; I've never used seeds. I have added fall compost or peat moss, but never really worked it in. Thank you for your advice!
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Jun 10, 2020 9:01 PM CST
As compost breaks down, it uses nitrogen out of the soil. Eventually, the nitrogen is added back but that may take awhile. In the meantime, plants suffer from nitrogen defieciency. Peat has no nutrients but does add acidity to the soil. Oriental poppies like neutral to alkaline soil. That's why they grow so well in my area.

Add some well balanced fertilizer and garden lime.

(just guesses as I haven't seen photos)
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
central ohio (Zone 5b)
PlantingOaks
Jun 11, 2020 11:36 AM CST
The only thing that really leaches nitrogen is raw, uncomposted woodchips. (there is a good, though long, explanation here: http://blog.arrowheadalpines.c... )

I agree, adding peat moss probably isn't useful and may be detrimental. Peat is usually to improve soil structure, which involves working it in.

When you say 'fall compost' you mean deciduous leaves? That may not be ideal nutrient-density-wise, but I don't think poppies are particularly heavy feeders, so nutrients may or may not be the problem, since you are at least adding something every year. Is your soil sandy or clay? Sandy soil is more likely to be nutrient-poor and need more compost or other fertilizer.

To take a different angle, has anything changed with the location, such as overhead trees growing or being pruned back to change the amount of sun?

Riverton, Wyoming
WhyWhyWhy
Jun 11, 2020 6:06 PM CST
When I said "fall compost" I simply meant that I added compost (nitrogen already broken down) to the soil in the fall. Our soil here is alkaline and clayish. If my Rapitest is working the ph registers between 6 and 7. The poppy bed is mostly sunny, with tree shade when the sun is highest. From the comments I have received, I believe I need to dig up the poppies when they start growing again in the fall, add some fertilizer to the soil, and replace some plants further apart. Thank you all for your input!
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Jun 11, 2020 7:09 PM CST
I don't think you need to dig them up (unless you really want to). Find some fertilizer in liquid form you can water in. Do it now.

Our soil is alkaline sand with occasional hardpan. Oriental poppies grow great! A pH between 6 and 7 is perfect so, add fertilizer.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
central ohio (Zone 5b)
PlantingOaks
Jun 11, 2020 7:35 PM CST
I wouldn't recommend digging them up either - at least not all of them. If they are already stressed, it would be a bad idead to transplant them without solving the issue, and if you have clay soil and are adding compost regularly, you should have plenty of nutrients. Maybe move just one to another location and see if it does better there (but of course, that still wouldn't tell you why)

This is getting to be a bit of a puzzler.

Did stone's description of fungus blight sound familiar? Or are they just turning yellow in general? Is anything getting slimy at the soil surface?

Crowding might be an issue - but that seems an awfully severe reaction unless they are terribly crowded?

Maybe it's something you have been adding rather than something you haven't. Is it possible your compost has something undesirable in it, like herbicide, or excess salt? (someone mentioned recently that certain manures can be rather salty) I see you are out west, and have heard clay soils there can be overly saline, but don't know much about it; is that an issue where you are?
Milpitas, CA
SoulReaver009
Jun 12, 2020 9:09 AM CST
Are these actual oriental poppies? Or is a typo, that's supposed to say ornamental?

I would like to see these...
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Jun 12, 2020 10:25 AM CST
How many do you want to see?

https://garden.org/plants/sear...
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Milpitas, CA
SoulReaver009
Jun 12, 2020 3:44 PM CST
Wow I didn't know there were so many poppies. And that was just the oriental poppies...

Very cool
Riverton, Wyoming
WhyWhyWhy
Jun 12, 2020 5:29 PM CST
I live in the middle of Wyoming. I never use herbicides and can't think of anything that would cause salinity. There is no evidence of any blight, mildew, or any other disease. The leaves simply turn yellow and dry up. I can't prove to you that they are Oriental poppies because there are no blooms to take a picture of.
The plants do come up rather thickly, but not exactly crowded; they look more like individual leaves than an actual plant. When it cools off this evening, I will thin them out and water in some fertilizer.

I really do appreciate the effort all of you are making to help me!!
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Jun 12, 2020 6:28 PM CST
What do you have against posting a photo? Its really hard to help when we can't see what you see, especially as you don't know exactly what you have.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
central ohio (Zone 5b)
PlantingOaks
Jun 13, 2020 6:03 AM CST
I don't think whywhywhy is confused as to what they have. Several other members seem to have never heard of oriental poppies, which is strange to me - I didn't think they were unusual!

Actually, just had another idea. If you have been top-dressing for several years, perhaps they have become buried too deeply? I still wouldn't try to dig them up (they have deep, fragile taproots), but maybe scrape some of the surface off while they are dormant.
Riverton, Wyoming
WhyWhyWhy
Jun 13, 2020 3:21 PM CST
Okay, I will try to post a picture. I am a technophobe; seldom use my camera or post anything, so each time I have to relearn the process, and each time something changes. This is a sad picture! And I don't believe the yellow shows up as yellow as it actually is. You can see in the foreground where I have thinned out some "plants."
Thumb of 2020-06-13/WhyWhyWhy/727f45

Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Jun 13, 2020 3:28 PM CST
Hmmm.... I think they need more water and fertilizer.

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org

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