Growing annual poppies in south-east Queensland
AllRound Tree Services loves the glorious burst of colour that Iceland poppies can provide gardens and pots. Here we offer our advice to growing poppies, those vividly coloured beauties.
Iceland poppies are annual poppies
Iceland poppies come from Siberia not Iceland. However, the point is they grow well in cold weather – and luckily for us just as well in warm climates. The trick is simply to plant them somewhere that gets sun and then keep them moist.
If you plant Iceland poppies in early autumn they’d be flowering now in early winter. And you can plant them now you’ll be rewarded with their characteristic bright blooms in early spring through to Christmas. Growing poppies is its own Christmas gift.
They are annuals, so you will need to replant them each year, and like a lot of annuals they will fill your garden or your pots with gorgeous colour – bright reds, pinks, oranges, yellows, gold and even white.
Planting Iceland poppies
Sow the seeds shallowly on top of a sunny spot in your garden bed and sprinkle them lightly with soil. Plant them about a handspan apart – about 20 plants per square metre will give a thickly blanketed display. They will grow just as readily in large pots as long as they get good sun.
Then water them often – especially important in these drier winter months. While the poppies will still flower in a drought they won’t give a very showy display.
To slow down growth and encourage long flowering, feed them weekly with a high-nitrogen water-sooluble fertiliser until the seedlings are about 10cm high, then switch to a high-potassium water-soluble fertiliser. Alternatively, if you have an organic garden, a compost mulch will be sufficient.
Getting long display from Iceland poppies
Here’s a tip to encouraging the most lasting and showy display of Iceland poppies: pick off the first flower buds. This will help ensure the plants are sturdy before they start blooming proper and help give them a long period of flowering.