Papaver bracteatum
Common Name: poppy 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Papaveraceae
Native Range: Caucasus, Asia Minor
Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 1.50 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to June
Bloom Description: Red with dark center eye
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Other: Winter Interest

Culture

Best grown in deep, rich, evenly moist, well-draining soils in full sun. Hardy in Zones 4-9. Requires a cold period of winter dormancy, and therefore does not do well south of Zone 7. Plants are sensitive to disturbance after planting. Propagation from seed is recommended. The tall flowering stalks are sturdy, but may still require staking. Readily reseeds in the garden.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Papaver bracteatum, commonly called great scarlet poppy, is a clump-forming, herbaceous perennial native to northern Iran, eastern Turkey, and the Caucasus region. It can be found growing on rocky hillsides and in grassy meadows at high altitudes between 6500-8000'. Large, dark crimson flowers (up to 8" in diameter) feature a purple-black center eye and bloom in early summer atop stiff, 4' tall flowering stalks. The flowers are held above an upright clump of bristly, pinnately dissected basal foliage. The foliage yellows and dies shortly after flowering. Basal mats of new leaves appear in fall and overwinter until spring when the foliage puts on a spurt of growth up until bloom. Mature plants will reach up to 3' wide and 1.5' tall when not in bloom. Has been used in the breeding of new hybrid cultivars. Closely related to, and sometimes listed as a variety of, Papaver orientale.

Genus name from Latin means poppy.

The specific epithet bracteatum means "with bracts", in reference to the prominent leaf-like bracts beneath the flowers.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Wet, poorly-drained soils can cause root rot, particularly in winter. Botrytis and powdery mildew may also occur. Leaves a void in the garden when plants go dormant in the summer.

Uses

Best in small groups at the back of a mixed border or cottage garden.