How to Divide Oriental Poppies

Written by cynthia myers
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The silky, brightly coloured blossoms of oriental poppies add an exotic elegance to any landscape. The poppies grow in clumps, with lacy, grey-green foliage and delicate cupped blossoms of bright orange, scarlet or pink, with black accents. The best way to propagate oriental poppies is through root cuttings. Poppies don't like to be disturbed and should only be divided if absolutely necessary.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Water
  • Sharp spade or shovel
  • Sharp knife
  • Mulch

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  1. 1

    Water the plant thoroughly to soften the soil and make it easier to dig.

  2. 2

    Prepare the planting hole or bed where you'll plant the new divisions. Loosen the soil or dig a hole and clear away any weeds

  3. 3

    Starting at a point 4 inches away from the plant, insert the spade straight down into the soil, as far as you can insert it. Repeat this action all the way around the plant.

  4. 4

    Work the shovel underneath the plant and lift the entire plant and root clump out of the ground.

  5. 5

    Separate the roots of the plant with your fingers and spread them out.

  6. 6

    Cut the plant into two or more clumps, using the spade or a sharp knife to cut down into the root clump. Pry the clump apart gently with your hands.

  7. 7

    Plant the poppy divisions in the space you've prepared. Water thoroughly and mulch through the first winter.

Tips and warnings

  • Wait until the plant has stopped blooming and the foliage has died back in late summer before you divide oriental poppies.

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