En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
1 rating

Thursday - January 21, 2010

From: Salt Lake City, UT
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Herbs/Forbs
Title: Perennial poppies for Salt Lake City
Answered by: Barbara Medford


What are the best poppies, perennial if possible, to plant in Salt Lake City, Utah?


Of the genus Papaver, which is the"real" poppy, as opposed to those with "poppy" in their common name, there are 6 native to North America and 2 to Utah. You understand that when we are asked for the best plant for a purpose, we insert the word "native" because that is what we do at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, encourage the use, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. The two native to Utah are Papaver nudicaule (Icelandic poppy) and Papaver radicatum (rooted poppy). 

We would recommend the Icelandic poppy. In Salt Lake City you are in USDA Hardiness Zone 5; the Icelandic Poppy is considered hardy from USDA Hardiness Zones 3 to 10. In fact, they will do much better where you are with cold winters, because they cannot withstand hot summers like we have in Texas and the Southeast. They are considered short-lived perennials; in the South and Southeast they are considered annuals, because of the summers. They grow easily from seeds, but the seeds are tiny, and the poppies don't like to be transplanted, so you might try root cuttings in Winter, while the plants are dormant. 


From the Image Gallery

Icelandic poppy
Papaver nudicaule

Icelandic poppy
Papaver nudicaule

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Drought-tolerant plants for landscaping
November 13, 2007 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Our HOA is wanting to change the landscaping to Drought-tolerant plants and flowers. The area is Grayson County, south of Sherman Texas. What plants and flowers would you su...
view the full question and answer

Container Plants for Lubbock, Texas
June 22, 2015 - Hello! I am looking for plants suitable for container gardening for a west facing porch in Lubbock. Plants need to be super tough to endure the baking sun, constant wind, dry air, extreme temperatures...
view the full question and answer

A blue-eyed grass with salmon-colored blooms?
June 16, 2015 - Has anyone heard of a blue-eyed grass variety that has salmon-colored blooms? I have a photo if needed.
view the full question and answer

Dwarf oyster plant dying in Sunrise FL
view the full question and answer

Plants for a sunny, dry slope in NY
March 01, 2010 - Looking for plants, native to area, that are quick growing to a height of approximately 6" to 12" for a steep slope comprised of shale in a sunny location.
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center