Papaver nudicaule, The Iceland poppies have large, luscious, crepe paper-like petals in an array of soft pastel shades of pink, coral, yellow, orange, rose, white, cream and stunning bicolours. The single papery, lightly fragrant blossoms flowers unwrinkle their petals into a wide-spreading saucer shape 3 to 4 inches across. They start flowering early in the summer and continue to bloom over several months, producing dazzling splashes of colour when planted en masse. The plant is highly attractive to bees, butterflies and birds.
The Iceland poppy is a hardy perennial native to the arctic regions of North America, and extending eastward in cooler climates. It is a favorite garden plant in the cool coastal climate of the Pacific states.
Easy to grow from seed, if sown early they will flower in their first year. In warm winter climates they are planted as an annual or biennial because being short lived perennials they rarely last more than 3 years, Papaver nudicaule is low maintenance and frost tolerant, it can survive cold winters where the average annual low is -29°C (-20°F)
Iceland poppies, like all poppies, possess minute seeds and long taproots that resent disturbance. They are easier to transplant than other types of poppies but still can be difficult to re-establish.
Sow indoors in February-March to flower the same year or sow directly outdoors where they are to grow in May to July to flower the following year.
Sowing Indoors: Late Winter to early Spring.
Use small pots, rather than trays, to minimise root disturbance when transplanting and sow at maximum 16 to 20°C (60 to 68°F). Cover with a very fine layer of vermiculite. The seeds of perennial poppies need light for germination. (Annual poppies need the dark). Keep moist but not wet at all times. Germination between 10 to 14 days.
Prick out each seedling when they are 5t to 10 (2 to 4in) tall and transplant to larger pots to grow on. Gradually acclimatise to outdoor conditions for 10 to 15 days before planting out. Space 45cm (18in) apart. Crowding will give you spindly plants.
Sowing Direct: Late Spring to early Summer
Sow in short drills 1cm (½in) deep once temperatures reach around 20°C (68°F).
Prepare the ground well and rake to a fine tilth before sowing. Mark the sowing areas with a ring of light coloured sand and label if sowing more than one type in the same bed. Sow 1.5mm (1/18th in) deep in rows 25cm (10in) apart.
Seeds germinate in 10 to 14 days. The seedlings will appear in rows approx 6-8 weeks after planting and can be told from nearby weed seedlings quite easily. Thin the seedlings out so they are finally 45cm (18in) apart by early summer. Compost should be kept slightly moist, but not wet at all times.
Deadhead spent flowers to lengthen bloom. Plants need excellent winter drainage, if grown as perennials, let the soil dry out as they go dormant in late summer.
Iceland Poppy makes superb cut flowers lasting up to a week if the flowers are cut in bud and the stalk tip either scalded in boiling water or seared with a flame (so that their white latex doesn’t leak out) before being placed in a vase.
Mark the seed heads you want to save seeds from by putting a twist tie or strand of wool around the stem. Harvest seeds when openings develop at the top of the seed pod. Remember that if you let the plants go to seed; it will greatly reduce their longevity, so deadhead those plants that you wish to keep.
This polar species has subspecies and variants growing wild from Iceland to Finland to Siberia to Alaska and northernmost Canada. Cultivated forms were planted along Alaskan highways in the early 1980s until it was realised they were a threat to the native subspecies. By then it was too late and hardy cultivated forms had already naturalised far and wide, so are now a permanent addition to Alaska's wild landscapes. First described by botanists in 1759, the wild species blooms in white or yellow. P. nudicaule have been studied genetically, particularly with respect to flower colour. The white flower colour is dominant with respect to yellow. Other colours, such as buff and orange, are recessive.
Pronounced - pah-PAH-ver new-dee-KAW-lee. it was formerly called Papaver croceum and P. miyabeanum, it has the synonym Papaver amurense and P. macounii.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 125mg Average Seed Count 1,000 Seeds Family Papaveraceae Genus Papaver Species nudicaule Cultivar Deluxe Mix Synonym Papaver amurense and P. macounii. (Formerly P. croceum and P. miyabeanum) Common Name Iceland Poppy Hardiness Hardy Perennial Flowers Salmon, Orange, Pink, Red, White, Yellow Natural Flower Time Spring to Summer Height 30 to 45cm (12 to 18in) Spacing 45 to 60cm. (10 to 12in) Position Full Sun, Partial Sun Soil Prefers light, moist but well drained soils Notes Short lived Perennial (Often grown as an Annual or Biennial)