Also known as
Balewort, Carnation Poppy, Dream Plant, Fairy's Charms, Flower Of Venus, Joan Silver Pin, John's Silver Pin, Marble Flower, Maw Seed, Moonflower, Opium, Peony Poppy, Sweet Slumber, White Poppy, Oilseed Poppy, Wild Poppy, Common Garden Poppy, Pepperbox, Poppy
Papaver somniferum flowers by tanja niggendijker (CC BY 2.0)
This plant has a mild fragrance
More images of Opium Poppy
Opium Poppy Overview
With its stunning flowers, long stems and green foliage, the Poppy is a valuable ornamental plant which can form a show-piece of any garden. This is the species of plant from which opium and poppy seeds are derived, and is known to be the only species in the poppy family that is grown as an agricultural crop on a large scale. Not only is it a highly ornamental plant, with culinary and medicinal applications, but it is also the source of illicit drugs. In summer, the leafy stems produce bowl-shaped flowers, followed by large, blue-green seed pods that make excellent additions to dried arrangements. Care must be taken, however, as app parts may cause mild stomach upset if ingested.
Common problems with Opium Poppy
Pests include Aphids, Slugs and Snails. Other problems include Root Rot, Powdery Mildew and Mosaic Virus.
How to harvest Opium Poppy
Each poppy pod can produce many poppy seeds. When the crown on the poppy pod stands up and the pod takes on a chalky texture, it is time to harvest. Cut the poppy pods from the stems and let them dry in the sun or in a dry area. When the poppy pods are dry, turn them upside down to pour out and collect the poppy seeds.
How to propagate Opium Poppy
Sprinkle poppy seed on top of the soil from Autumn through Winter until Spring - they love the cool winter temperatures! Cover them lightly with soil and wet thouroughly.
Special features of Opium Poppy
Simulate its natural growing conditions by growing it indoors. This poppy thrives best in cooler summer temperatures with plenty of natural sunlight.
Good to plant in pots, given sufficient drainage and sufficient sunlight.
Attracts useful insects
Ants, honeybees and other nectar-loving insects visit the flowers.
Other uses of Opium Poppy
Ornamental, culinary, dried arrangements
Morphine and codeine are alkaloids found in poppies and commercially grown in India and Spain. The seed contain less than 1%.
Poppy seeds are an important food item and the source of poppyseed oil. They can be dry roasted and ground to be used in wet curry (curry paste) or dry curry too. Seeds are used as bird food.
Flowers - Annuals to direct sow in September
There is still time to direct sow these hardy annuals where you want them to flower next spring.