Poppies are the ‘Queen of the cooler weather’
Poppies are a seasonal favourite in the winter garden – and May is the ideal time for planting!
There are 2 different types of poppies suited to South African gardens: Iceland Poppies & California poppies. Both are incredibly rewarding and worthy of a prominent position in your garden, on your patio or in your containers!
Iceland poppies (Papaver naudicale) are the graceful queens of late winter and spring as both garden and cut flowers. The best way to enjoy their beauty, is to plant them as a bold border which receives full sun. Grow them in well-draining, slightly alkaline soil and space them about 30cm apart. For a winter wonderland effect, interplant your poppy seedlings with pretty daffodil bulbs – there is still time to plant them! Do not overwater poppies, and protect them with cutworm bait. Two good varieties to choose from are ‘Champagne Bubbles’ and ‘Artist Glory’ mixed.
California poppies (Escholtzia ‘Mission Bells’) is another favourite which can tolerate poor, sandy soil and dry spells. They start flowering in September with a main flush in October. The silky flowers are not perfect for the vase, but are edible and add zing to salads.
The more you pick, the more flowers you’ll get!