The large, brilliant, incandescent red, bowl-shaped flowers of the 'Ladybird' poppy appear in summer, each with black spots at the base of their petals.
Erect and branching, they are prolific bloomers, each poppy sending up two dozen or more flowers. From a 10cm (4in) pot they will start to flower within a month and keep going for about 3 to 4 weeks. Each bloom will only last a couple of days, but more are always coming up.
Growing to around 45cm tall (18in), each single, red, cup-shaped flower grows to around 8cm (3¼in) across with black blotches in the centre. They have oval shaped, luscious green foliage. They are fully frost hardy and able withstand temperature down to minus 15°C (5°F).
Every garden needs a poppy and this one is an exceptional annual. They are a delight to grow and very easy to grow from seed.
Grow in deep, well-drained, fertile soil in full sun. Enrich soil with manure, compost or bone meal ahead of planting, (or any organic fertiliser rich in nitrogen). Poppies grow quickly; give sufficient water to increase both the number of flowers and their individual size. Although these poppies gobble up the nutrients, their eventual show will be more than worth the proper environment.
Sowing : Sow in pots in Autumn or directly in Spring
For Autumn planting sow seeds in peat pellets or newspaper pots, poppies do not transplant well at all because they have very sensitive root systems. Seeds germinate in less than two weeks. Keep moist at all times, transplant to larger pots as seedlings grow. Plant out in Spring
Otherwise, sow direct where they are to flower in spring at around 20°C (68°F) in short drills 12mm (½ in) deep. Cover lightly with soil, mark the sowing areas with a ring of light coloured sand and label if sowing more than one annual in the same bed. The seedlings will appear in rows approx 6 to 8 weeks after planting and can be told from nearby weed seedlings quite easily.
Thin the seedlings out so they are finally 30cm (12in) in apart by early summer. Be ruthless, just leave the biggest and most healthy looking. By doing this, you'll get more flowers and pods per plant that are bigger and stronger.
Poppies don't need to be watered too often, but when you do water, give it a nice soaking. This will promote strong root growth. After about 6 to 8 weeks of vegetative growth, add a high Phosphorus fertiliser for the flowering stage.
Poppies will begin to bloom 10 to 12 weeks from the time you plant them. Their petals will drop after about 48 to 72 hours. The pods will continue to grow for the next couple weeks. During this period, it's very important not to water them unless absolutely necessary. Once pods turn a bluish tint with a white film on top, they are ready for harvest
Remove spent flowers to encourage prolific blooming. At the end of the season, if required, leave a few plants to die down and self seed. Others can be pulled up and composted.
The most serious problem for these poppies is root rot. Excellent drainage is a must. Snails find the young leaves very tasty, so a snail deterrent is recommended. They can be prone to grey mold, but usually this is only a cosmetic issue. Once they get established, they are very hardy.
Poppies make good cutflowers if you singe the cut ends with a candle flame to stop the flow of sap.
Cottage/Informal Garden, Flower Borders and Beds, Flower Arranging
Native to Turkey, Iran and the Caucasus, Papaver comutatum was developed using a species introduced from Russia in 1876 by Mr William Thompson, the founder of Thompson and Morgan.
William specialised in growing rare and unusual plants from seed that were sent to him from many overseas countries. It earned him a reputation for introducing many rare and unusual plants. His friendships with such well-known scientists as Sir Joseph Hooker, Sir Michael Foster and Charles Darwin allowed William to grow his passion into a business, which he moved to a nursery at the edge of Ipswich. Eventually, there were three nurseries in town. His efforts were rewarded in 1896 when received the Victorian Medal of Honor from the Royal Horticultural Society.
William Thompson died in 1903 at the age of 80
The genus name Papaver is the classical Latin name for the poppy. It is derived from the Latin pappa, meaning food or milk and alludes to the milky sap produced by some poppies.
The species name commutatum comes from the Latin commutata, meaning ‘changed or changing. It is used for a species that is very similar to one already best known. In this case ‘similar to’ the common poppy Papaver rhoeas.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 125mg Average Seed Count 1,000 Seeds Seed Form Natural Seeds per gram 8,000 seeds per gram Family Papaveraceae Genus Papaver Species commutatum Common Name Ladybug Poppy Other Common Names Flanders Poppy or Lady Bird Poppy Other Language Names FR: Pavot, IT: Papavero, GR: Mohn, SW: Vallmo, SP: Amapola, RU: Mak Hardiness Hardy Annual Hardy Hardy to -15°C (5°F). Flowers Late spring to early summer Height 30 to 45cm (12 to 18in) Spread 15 to 20cm (6 to 8in) Position Full Sun. West or south facing. Sheltered. Soil Well-drained/light Time to Sow Sow in Autumn in Spring