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Mr. Smarty Plants - Perennial poppies for Salt Lake City

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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

QUESTION:

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

ANSWER:

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

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