Papaver orientale 'Beauty of Livermere'
Common Name: oriental poppy
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Papaveraceae
Zone: 3 to 7
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Bloom Description: Scarlet red with purple center stamens
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Deer

Culture

Best grown in organically rich, fertile, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Performs well in average garden soils as long as drainage is good. This is a cold weather plant that needs a period of winter dormancy, and generally will not grow well south of USDA Zone 7. It is generally intolerant of the high summer heat and humidity in the deep South. Mulch in winter until well established. Tends to self-seed, but self-seeded plants may not come true. Therefore, it is best to remove stems of spent flowers before seed forms. Propagation by root cuttings is relatively easy, but plants should otherwise be left undisturbed.

‘Beauty of Livermere’ may be grown from seed, and tends to self-seed in the garden.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Papaver orientale, commonly called Oriental poppy, is among the most popular poppies available. They are clump-forming plants that most often feature flowers in shades of red, orange and pink. Serrate, thistle-like, grayish-green leaves (to 12” long) are pinnately dissected into lance-shaped segments and have a somewhat weedy appearance. Foliage yellows and dies shortly after flowering, typically leaving a hole in the garden. Basal mats of new leaves appear in fall and overwinter until spring when the foliage puts on a spurt of growth up until the point when the flowers bloom.

Genus name from Latin means poppy.

Specific epithet means of the Orient.

‘Beauty of Livermere’ is a popular form that typically grows to 40” tall (infrequently taller). It features large, solitary, crepe papery, cup-shaped, 4-6” (infrequently to 8”) diameter flowers on long stalks in late spring to early summer. Each flower has 4-6 scarlet red petals with a dark basal blotch at the base of each petal and a boss of dark purple center stamens.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Wet, poorly-drained soils can cause significant problems such as root rot, particularly in winter. Botrytis and powdery mildew may also occur. Plants tend to sprawl and may need support. Leaves a void in the garden in early to mid-summer when plants go dormant.

Garden Uses

Best in single clumps or small groups in borders. Gypsophila and Boltonia have foliage that expands as the summer progresses and may be effectively interplanted with Oriental poppies in order to fill the void left when the poppies go dormant.