March 5, 2012
It's been a few weeks now and all the peddles are gone and we're left with the foliage and the long stakes that we the flowers. I noticed this morning when cutting the grass that some of the foliage is going yellow and drying up. I was worried that maybe they needed to be watered (which I have never done) so I decided to look up some care info....
Easy care/low maintenance
Plant in spring, spacing plants 2 to 3 feet apart, depending on the variety. Prepare the garden bed by using a garden fork or tiller to loosen the soil to a depth of 12 to 15 inches, then mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost. Dig a hole twice the diameter of the pot the plant is in. Carefully remove the plant from its container and place it in the hole so the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface. Carefully fill in around the root ball and firm the soil gently. Water thoroughly.
Apply a thin layer of compost each spring, followed by a 2-inch layer of mulch to retain moisture and control weeds. During the summer months, when plants are dormant, watering is needed only during periods of drought. In autumn, poppies will resume foliage growth until frost, and these green leaves will remain over winter. After soil has frozen, apply a 4- to 6-inch layer of protective mulch to prevent heaving during periods of temperature fluctuation. When the weather warms up in spring, gradually remove the winter mulch. Plants can be divided in early spring or summer. (source)
Although I didn't find the answer in all the organized information I read through a couple of forums and it says that they can:
- Take up to three years to show their first bloom
- Have one wonderful year and 1-2 raggedy years and then repeat that cycle
- And that when the plant is moving into the dormant stage (after blooming and/or fall when there's frost) the foliage may start to yellow and dry up in spots BUT once it's dormant (and I guess stable in that state?) for the rest of late summer and fall you should have nice green foliage.
I was glad about all of this because I can tell these plants have been there for years and I would hate to have killed them because I forgot to water them or didn't know how to care for them. I think this is a fail proof plant; plant it in the sun, pretty simple right?
Tip: Oriental Poppy blossoms offer superb material for indoor arrangements. Cut in early morning when the buds are just unfolding, searing the stem's cut end with the flame of a match.
(I'm definitely going to try this next year!)