Perennials frequently asked questions

A question and photograph were submitted by Vanda Baker via our Ask a Question page:

Hello, Wondered whether you could answer this question for me, I have found this poppy that has self seeded in my gravel drive, it's so pretty (as you can see in photo) that I would like to identify it and if possible grow it in my garden. Not sure if it is wild and if I can purchase seeds or bulbs of it? Hope you can answer my question and many thanks.

Chris replies:

Dear Vanda,

Many thanks for your question and photo. What a fantastic poppy! It is one of the Papaver somniferum or Opium Poppies, which are popular, easy to grow and they do tend to self-seed around the garden. You would be best to remove the seed capsules as they ripen and you can check by gently rattling the seed head and collect the seeds and store them in an envelope and store them in a cool dark place. You can sow the seeds where they are to flower anytime from March-September and being hardy annuals you often get the best results from late summer sown plants. If you allow the flowers and seeds to set they will spring up anywhere – you have been warned!