Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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?

Share

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
25 ratings

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

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Weak stems on asters and ironweed from Woodbridge ON
June 06, 2012 - My question is in regards to plants flopping over. My smooth asters and ironweeds never seem to have strong stems. Is because the soil is too fertile or maybe too shallow?
view the full question and answer

Texas natives for a small garden with red flowers
October 03, 2009 - I have a garden that is 4' deep, what can I put there that is a Texas native, I would really like some color (preferably red)also it needs to be able to grow tall (8 - 10')
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for Laredo Texas
July 04, 2011 - I am in Laredo, TX and no longer want to waste water on grass. I would like to pull it all out and plant native, drought resistant ground cover - low growing, between 6-12 inches, sun and partial sha...
view the full question and answer

Planting a meadow garden in Pennsylvania
November 16, 2014 - I live in Saxonburg PA near Pittsburgh PA. I want to put a meadow garden in my back yard. We are building a home so there is no established yard yet just trees and weeds. Where do I start . What...
view the full question and answer

Native Texas Plants for SC
June 22, 2015 - I just visited your beautiful facility for the first time and loved it! I'm planning to move to Charleston, SC and would love to replicate some of the wildflower and walkway areas I saw. Would the fo...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.