Prolonging Cut Poppies

Cut Iceland poppies stand out against the pop art painting (private home, Tasmania, Australia)
Cut Iceland poppies stand out against the pop art painting (private home, Tasmania, Australia)

One year, I purchased two flats of Iceland poppy seedlings (Papaver nudicaule) from a garden center and planted them in the vegetable garden.  In the rich soil, the seedlings romped away and became very free-flowering as the days lengthened. We could not cut enough and it was wonderful to gather generous bouquets of poppies that could have cost a fortune from florists. The colors may be somewhat retro  to some people, but I find them lively and modern. Here they look brilliant against the Lichenstein-inspired painting originally used for Sydney’s Mardi Gras parade.

Iceland poppies are planted between arugula and leeks (private garden, Tasmania, Australia)
Iceland poppies are planted between arugula and leeks (private garden, Tasmania, Australia)

Poppies are best cut early in the morning when the bud begins to reveal some color. They then should be  plunged into cold water immediately and kept cool and away from direct light. To prolong the life of cut poppies, trim to the desired stem length and expose the cut ends to an open flame. The flame will naturally seal in the cut ends and prevent the stems from drooping and wilting.

~Eric

 

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