Advanced Search Filters

Plant Type
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
Sunset Zone
Sun Exposure
Soil Moisture
Water Requirement

PAPAVER orientale

Image of Papaver orientale

James H. Schutte



Botanical Name

PAPAVER orientale

Plant Common Name

Oriental Poppy

General Description

The glowing orange-red, delicately textured flowers of oriental poppies are one of the floral highlights of the late spring, early summer garden. Western Asian in origin, these hardy herbaceous perennials come in several color variants many of which are believed to be hybrids with the Iranian poppy (Papaver bracteatum). In the wild, these are meadow plants that grow well in locations with average to good fertility and sharp drainage.

In spring, oriental poppies put forth a rosette of coarsely dissected, bristly, gray-green leaves. Tall, prickly flower stems emerge in late spring to early summer, each crowned with a large globular bud encased in two green protective sepals. When the buds open the sepals fall to make way for glorious bowl-shaped flowers. The four to six petals (or more in double forms) have a crinkled tissue paper texture, come in vibrant shades of orange, red, pink of white, and almost always have a black blotch at their base. The petals surround a large, knob-like ovary capped by a scalloped purple-black disk. When brown and dry, this capsule fruit pops open along the cap to show holes that release small, black seeds like a shaker. Some cultivars spread via underground rhizomes; others stay put, forming dense clumps. The foliage dies back in early summer, often re-emerging in fall.

Give oriental poppies full sun or light shade and well-drained, average soil. Stake tall stems to keep them from flopping. Divide during summer dormancy, or in early spring. In the landscape these old-fashioned perennials look super in just about any sunny border, particularly in cottage and old-fashioned flower gardens. Surround them with late-blooming or robust perennials that can cover the visual and spatial gap their summer dormancy creates. They are also beautiful in bouquets, provided they are cut early in bloom and the cut ends are boiled or seared.


  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21

  • Plant Type


  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    18"-48" / 45.7cm - 121.9cm

  • Width

    24"-36" / 61.0cm - 91.4cm

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer

  • Native To

    Hybrid Origin, Western Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type


  • Growth Rate


  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit


  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest


  • Flower Color

    White, Red, Orange, Pink, Salmon, Coral, Lavender, Orange Red, Dark Salmon, Black

  • Flower Color Modifier


  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Gray Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Gray Green, Dark Green

  • Fragrant Flowers


  • Fragrant Fruit


  • Fragrant Foliage


  • Bark or Stem Fragrant


  • Flower Petal Number

    Single, Double, Semi-Double

  • Repeat Bloomer


  • Showy Fruit


  • Edible Fruit


  • Showy Foliage


  • Foliage Texture


  • Foliage Sheen


  • Evergreen


  • Showy Bark


Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Cutflower, Feature Plant, Mixed Border

  • Sharp or Has Thorns


  • Invasive


  • Self-Sowing