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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Transplanting, or moving oriental Poppies

Papaver orientalis  "Manhattan"
I have a lot of poppies...of all sorts.  I love oriental poppies and have them in shades of white, to pink, to salmon, to blazing orange, and this beauty...and no, this isn't enhanced, this is the actual color of the poppy.

About a month ago, someone commented to me that they regretted that poppies can't be moved.  Well....that's just poppycock!

Poppies can be moved, but only in one particular period.  Most people have the tendency to want to move them in the spring, or in the fall, both of which is NOT when you want to do it.  What you need to do is make a note in your gardening journal about moving them....and wait.

Poppies have a dormant period in the late summer....usually July or August.  In September, or when the rains start again, they will throw new growth and gain the strength they need to put out that lovely, but short lived show.

See those "dead" leaves in the picture (right next to the stressed daylily and the iris?).  Those "dead" leaves are the leaves and seed heads of the oriental poppy "Manhattan" you saw at the top of the page.

This is when you want to transplant them...and they are actually very forgiving if you do it when they are sleeping.  

Poppies have a VERY long tap root, like a foot or so (think like a long, skinny carrot).  You want to dig down and pop that tap root, replant so the crown (where the leaves come out) are at or just above soil level and water.  In the fall, once again, they will throw leaves.  If you break the tap root, not to worry.  The piece you leave in the ground will create a new poppy plant, and the other piece you've freed from the ground and replanted will also grow.

Just resist the urge to move them when they are green....I brought these poppies from Connecticut to you see, they really can be moved!  One oriental poppy I left behind, and haven't been able to find again is "Turkenlouis."  If you like poppies, I also suggest this is a red-orange, but the cool thing is, it has fringed petals.  Lovely.  I wish I had it again.


Anonymous said...

gorgeous flowers- they are 1 of my favorites too!
And thanks for the info about transplanting them....I need to re-establish my garden that is now overgrown with trees.

Vivien Zepf said...

I'm probably the yo-yo that said that poppies can't be moved well; thanks for showing me how to do it! And I'm going to have to look up the variety you mentioned; I love poppies, too.

Lisa Broberg Quintana said...

No, Vivien. It was a visitor to my garden who was hauling away plants. This isn't terribly well known...and easily understood. When I was about 21 and moved from Michigan to Connecticut, I tried to bring some poppies with me and failed badly. Since then, through exposure to lots of excellent gardeners, and a sister who is a botanist as well as a Master Gardener herself, I learned about this. I hope you can move a ton of poppies!

Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing! My garden has become overgrown with poppies! Do you happen to know if the spread via underground roots, or if the multitudes are just from not clipping off the seed pods? I wish to keep some of them, but would like to limit how many I have