Perennials forum: Oriental Poppies

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colbey
Nov 6, 2017 5:24 AM CST
I have a slightly strange question. I've read what I could find online about transplanting these flowers, but, of course, I'm a bit late. (I always seem to be about 3 months behind where I should be.)
My grandmother grew Oriental Poppies in her farm garden and they were her favorite flower. I remember them from the farm. My aunt has some of those same poppies (well, plants from those same flowers) growing at her house. My mother has told me, more than once, that she tried several times to grow them but they always died. (Thus, I now believe these must be incredibly difficult flowers to grow. I hope I'm wrong.)
I've wanted to try taking a few of my aunt's poppies and growing them myself. From reading online, I see I should have dug up some of the roots and replanted them about 3 months ago. Or, I should now wait until...early next fall-ish? After they have bloomed and gone dormant. Here's my predicament:

My aunt recently moved to an assisted living center. Her house won't be put on the market for awhile (her kids told her they wouldn't try to sell it for at least a month, in case she hates it and insists on moving back). I assume they won't actually try to sell it until spring then, but I'm certain it will sell quickly.
So--should I try to dig up some of the roots now?? I'm in southern Wisconsin. There have been some frosts. Pretty sure there's been a "hard frost." But the ground cannot be completely frozen.
Or, should I wait...can I do anything in the spring??

This is further complicated by the fact that I live in an apartment. I can't replant the roots in the ground--I would have to plant them in pots. Which leads to many other questions--how big (especially how deep), etc?
Also, I know I can't plant the roots in pots and leave them outside because the roots will completely freeze and die, as the pots simply won't have enough protection. That is correct, right?
But if I put them in pots and keep them inside...that doesn't seem like that would work either. All I have is a balcony and my studio apartment. Nothing that would be like..."in-between."

I think in a year or two, I might be able to replant them in the ground. If I get moved to a house, rather than an apartment building, that is. Also, I have 3 sisters who would like to have some, so I could possibly even get them into the ground next spring at one of their places. (I don't know why I'm the only one willing to give this a try. We all remember them, and would like them around.)
Eventually, I think I could even try germinating them from the seeds, right? But, again, that involves another growing cycle and I'm afraid the house will be sold by then.

I guess there's a possibility that the new owners would be nice about it, and let me dig up some of the roots next fall. But...I'm just trying to figure out the best way to go about this. I was planning to do this next summer/fall. I hadn't thought her health would take a drastic turn.

I'm sorry this is so long. This looks like a wonderful site and I see other threads on poppies that I'm definitely going to be taking notes from!

TYIA, for any help and advice you can offer.
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Nov 6, 2017 1:54 PM CST
Welcome Colbey! It is a lovely idea to want to carry on your flower memories. I live in the Pacific NW and find oriental poppies to be pretty easy care. Mine emerge from dormancy in January/February, and that is when I typically will dig them for transplanting or split off for sharing, They bloom for me in May/June and then go dormant by July. I am in Zone 8, which is probably 2-3 zones warmer than you.

I have little experience with pots, but would recommend getting some into the ground at one of your sisters' places. Once they are established, you can then wait until you have your own ground to split out again. Poppies are generous with their offspring, my clumps reliably increase every year and some may self-seed if you allow the seedheads to ripen.

If the house ends up selling before you are able to dig some starts, I don't think it would be untoward to mark the bed, and simply add that as part of the sale - you have until 'x date' to dig up half of the poppies, or something along those lines.

Are these the bright orange poppies, pink ruffly ones, or something else? Great idea, hope it works out for you!
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Jo Ann Gentle
Pittsford NY (Zone 6a)
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ge1836
Nov 13, 2017 3:06 PM CST
Hi Coleby.
I live in Z6a in New York State. We dig poppies in August or when they have completely died back and havn't started the "winter crowns "
Roots are sensitive so you need to dig deep to capture as much root as possible.
Bonehead has a good idea about marking the spot for transplanting at the right time.
Name: Teresa
Indiana (Zone 5b)
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TsFlowers
Nov 13, 2017 3:26 PM CST
Just from my own experience, I have ordered bare root oriental poppy plants (wholesale - have to buy 25 at a time), and each time probably only 4 or 5 survived in the gallon pots. Was very disappointing, but I tried twice. You might want to check the plants for existing seed pods if they haven't already been trimmed back. At least you could maybe still get some seeds and try experiment growing them from seeds. They would be like the child/grandchild generation if she has the standard easier-to-grow orange ones,

I have had great success growing them from seeds.

Sorry to hear about your grandmother.

And welcome to the forums!
. . . it's always better to ask questions, than jump to conclusions.
AND . . . always hear both sides of the story before making a judgment.
Name: Elton Tophoj
Powell, WY (Zone 4b)
Etophoj
Nov 18, 2017 4:53 PM CST
I have the best luck collecting seed pods and then spreading the seed in the spring. You can probably still find some pods that have not dropped all their seeds. I just make sure they are dry, shell the seeds out, and store in something for the winter. Make sure you container does not trap moisture. Paper envelopes work, but the seed is so small it can escape. Good luck!

Rehoboth
Jan 10, 2018 1:50 PM CST
Hello,
I have read many times that poppies don't transplant well so I've never tried it.
I do grow thousands of poppies from seed planted in the fall (zone 7b). I mix poppies with larkspur and bishops flower and they all do great. I do need to replant in the fall in my zone.

Best,
Mike
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
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gemini_sage
Feb 13, 2018 5:36 AM CST
I've failed at transplanting Oriental poppies several times in the past, but finally timed it right and moved them just as they were going dormant in summer, as JoAnn mentioned above- this is the key to success. I have a coral pink one growing in a bed of reds, oranges, and yellows, a plant that was supposed to be red. I dig it and transplant to another bed every year, but apparently I've been unable to get the entire root because it keeps showing back up. The good thing is coral poppies now grow in several spots in the bed out front! Hilarious!
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Mike
Hazel Crest, IL (Zone 5b)
There's a place of quiet rest !
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Hazelcrestmikeb
Feb 13, 2018 7:54 AM CST
@Colbey hope all is well with you. No response since posting. You can't go wrong with poppies. The only one that seem to self seed for me is "Prince Of Orange". I have had good success with the potted plants from Amanda and Mark @ gracefulgardens.com. If POO is the one in question, I can definitely send you some if you don't get to move the ones from your grandmother's house.
Thumb of 2018-02-13/Hazelcrestmikeb/67c639

robinseeds.com
"Life as short as it is, is amazing isn't it ?" Michael Burton
"Be your best you".
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
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skits
Mar 20, 2018 11:59 AM CST
Poppies scare me. I have one plant that lives happily all alone. I then planted more poppies alongside my house and they took off like a weed on speed. I'm sure they're not the same "breed" as my tidy one. It took forever digging, covering with black plastic and mulching over to get rid of them. The flowers look the same, but, boy, they were not! Now if I could get rid of the trumpet vine......
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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gemini_sage
Mar 20, 2018 1:41 PM CST
I've got some orange ones that are a little scary too, they spread like crazy! None of my purchased oriental poppies behave that way. They remain in tidy clumps that increase gradually each year.
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Deer Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
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Bonehead
Mar 20, 2018 2:07 PM CST
I would be happy to have oriental poppies reseed themselves. I have the basic big orange one, and a couple of named cultivars, all behave the same - just gradually increase the clump. The ones that do reseed for me are the California and field poppies, although neither is too aggressive.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Mike
Hazel Crest, IL (Zone 5b)
There's a place of quiet rest !
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Hazelcrestmikeb
Mar 20, 2018 3:07 PM CST
I have another one that reseed like crazy. It sometimes double. Short and orange in color. Got it from Highcountrygardens.com at least four years ago. I believe I got it as Red Shades. It is nowhere close to thirty inches. More like twelve.
robinseeds.com
"Life as short as it is, is amazing isn't it ?" Michael Burton
"Be your best you".
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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gemini_sage
Mar 20, 2018 4:14 PM CST
These spreading oranges don't seem to produce many seedlings, but rather spread from the roots. The roots seem to travel horizontally. I wonder if they're really an oriental, but the foliage looks like my others except smaller. The blooms are smaller too, and the stems more wiry.
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Mike
Hazel Crest, IL (Zone 5b)
There's a place of quiet rest !
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Hazelcrestmikeb
Mar 20, 2018 8:48 PM CST
Hi Neal, do you have a picture of your poppy ? I am going to dig up one of mine.
robinseeds.com
"Life as short as it is, is amazing isn't it ?" Michael Burton
"Be your best you".
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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gemini_sage
Mar 21, 2018 4:12 AM CST
I think so, it would be on my phone. Checking....
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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gemini_sage
Mar 21, 2018 4:15 AM CST
Thumb of 2018-03-21/gemini_sage/0a2a89

Not a great shot and full of weeds, but the best I have. You can see the blooms and wiry stems pretty well and get glimpses of the leaves.

"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
[Last edited by gemini_sage - Mar 21, 2018 4:18 AM (+)]
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Name: Lily Martagon
Du Page County Illinois (Zone 5a)
Tropicals I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Peonies Region: Illinois Enjoys or suffers cold winters Seed Starter
Region: United States of America Container Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader Lilies Irises Hostas
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sgardener
Mar 29, 2018 8:55 PM CST
Hello all. Looking for seed growing info about oriental poppies and came across this thread. The somnifera and Flander's grow like crazy in my garden and wanted to try to grow oriental ones. In your experience, are they best sown directly in the ground or pots? Here are pics of my annual poppies.
Thumb of 2018-03-30/sgardener/cab896
Thumb of 2018-03-30/sgardener/a89297
Thumb of 2018-03-30/sgardener/47a535

Name: Mike
Hazel Crest, IL (Zone 5b)
There's a place of quiet rest !
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Hazelcrestmikeb
Mar 29, 2018 9:33 PM CST
Very unique name. Do you own the plant that bears your name Lily ?
You could try both. I usually get live plants. Let's see how others do it when they chime in. Since they are finicky about being moved direct sow may have an edge. I get some of mine from Amanda and Mark at gracefulgardens.com
robinseeds.com
"Life as short as it is, is amazing isn't it ?" Michael Burton
"Be your best you".
Name: Lily Martagon
Du Page County Illinois (Zone 5a)
Tropicals I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Peonies Region: Illinois Enjoys or suffers cold winters Seed Starter
Region: United States of America Container Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader Lilies Irises Hostas
Image
sgardener
Mar 30, 2018 7:36 AM CST
Thank you Mike. Yes I do and that lily is Karen North. I read about how finicky they are so I think I will direct sow them. I bought a couple packets each of oriental poppies and lupine seeds when I went to a garden center for something. I will keep my eyes open at the garden centers for container grown. I don't really order perennials online except for lilies, peonies and bulbs. Nice meeting a fellow IL gardener. Happy spring!
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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gemini_sage
Mar 30, 2018 8:38 AM CST
I've tried Oriental poppies from seed several times and have never had any luck. First I tried direct sowing a few times, then wintersowing in containers. I believe I got some germination from wintersowing but the seedlings didn't make it. I've read about lots of folks getting them started by seed but I haven't figured out the key to success.
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi

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