When it comes to cut flowers, the poppy may be the ‘Internet darling’ of the moment. Featured on hip wedding sites and lifestyle blogs, arranged in mason jars and in hand-tied bouquets at flower farms and appearing on stands at farmers’ markets, the poppy attracts the hip and stylish with their vintage, casual feel and beautiful colours.
Botanically known as Papaver rhoeas, and commonly referred to as the European corn poppy. The red-flowered wild Flanders field poppies, as seen in old paintings and in meadows throughout much of Europe, has always had a few whites among the flaming reds but not until recently has the pure white colour form has been separated out and made available to gardeners.
Released in 2007 and winner of the Fleuroselect award in 2008, Papaver rhoeas ‘Bridal Silk’ form bowl-shaped delicate, silky blooms of glistening white. Sown in early autumn or early spring, slender wiry stems rise above the rosettes of foliage from early summer and bloom for several months. They grow to a height of 60cm (24in) and a spread of 40cm (16in).
At their best when planted in big drifts, they also make wonderful, if somewhat short-lived cut flowers. The glistening white blooms with silky petals are stunning in their simple purity.
Sowing: Direct sow in spring or in autumn.
Sow outdoors from spring to early summer or in the autumn for flowering the next season. staggered sowings through spring will extend the flowering season. Seeds are best sown directly where they are to flower in short drills 12mm (½in) deep at around 20°C (68°F). Cover lightly with soil, if sowing more than one annual in the same bed, mark the sowing areas with a ring of light coloured sand and label
Seeds germinate in less than two weeks. 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 4 to 6 in apart by early summer.
Alternatively, leave them to grow as small clumps, of 4 to 6 plants every 30cm (12in) or so. Compost should be kept slightly moist, but not wet at all times.
Prefers well drained soil enriched with manure or compost ahead of planting. Feeding is rarely needed but water well if there are prolonged periods of drought.
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
For Cut Flowers:
Cut when flowers are in bud, hold the base of the stems for a few seconds in a flame or boiling water, and the flowers will last several days in water.
Cottage/Informal Garden, Flower Borders and Beds, Wildflower meadows, Butterfly & Bee Gardens, Cut Flowers.
The origin of Papaver rhoeas is not known for certain. As with many such plants, the area of origin is often ascribed by Americans to Europe, and by northern Europeans to southern Europe. The European Garden Flora suggests that it is ‘Eurasia and North Africa’; in other words, the lands where agriculture has been practiced since the earliest times. It was probably introduced into Britain and Ireland along with agricultural crops at least as far back as the Late Bronze Age. It has had an old symbolism and association with agricultural fertility.
Common poppy is found on a wide range of soils but is most frequent on light, calcareous soils. It is a species of flowering plant in the poppy family, Papaveraceae and is pollinated by insects, particularly bumble bees.
The genus name Papaver is the classical Latin name for the poppy
The species name rhoeas is probably derived from the Latin word 'rho' meaning red.
The pure white colour form has been separated out and was released as Papaver rhoeas 'Bridal Silk' in 2007.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 250mg Average Seed Count 1,500 Seeds Seed Form Natural Seeds per gram 6,000 sds/gm Family Papaveraceae Genus Papaver Species rhoeas Cultivar Bridal Silk Other Language Names Parelmoer Hardiness Hardy Annual Hardy Hardy to -15°C (5°F). Flowers Silky blooms of glistening white Natural Flower Time Late spring to mid summer Height 60cm (24in) Position Full Sun Aspect West or South facing. Sheltered. Soil Well drained, Light. Time to Sow Direct sow from early spring or in autumn.