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Rare Perennial Poppy Plants

Updated July 19, 2017

There are three species of perennial poppies, all of which are considered rare. Oriental poppies are the easiest to grow and require very little care. They grow well in full sun and require deep, loamy soil. They are drought resistant. Iceland poppies prefer neutral or alkaline soil and full sun. The most particular and most difficult to grow are the blue poppies. Most blue poppies prefer colder, wetter climates with fairly well-drained, nutrient-rich soil.

Blue Poppy Lingholm (Meconopsis 'Lingholm')

A Himalayan native, blue poppies grow well in northern Britain, Scotland, Ireland and northern Europe. They also grow well in Alaska, parts of Canada and the northern states of the U.S. Lingholm is a hybrid found in England in the 1960s and is now one of the most popular Meconopsis sold. M. Lingholm's flowers are large, sky blue blooms that can reach over four inches across. Lingholm grows well from seed and is hardy in USDA hardiness zones three to seven.

Eye Catcher Oriental Poppy (Papaver orientalis)

Papaver orientalis, an Armenian native, is very easy to grow although it takes at least two years to bloom if grown from seed. Eye Catcher oriental poppies do not transplant well so sow the seed where you'd like them to bloom. Eye Catcher oriental poppies grow in upright clumps of heavily divided, lance-shaped, grey-green leaves and produce semi-double, orange-red flowers that have wavy, crepe-paper petals. Eye Catcher blooms in early June and is hardy in USDA zones three to nine.

Iceland Poppies (Papaver nudicaule)

Iceland poppies are perennials in colder climates and annuals in warmer zones. They prefer loose neutral or alkaline soils and full sun. Used extensively for spring displays, Iceland poppies are a favourite bedding plant in California. The vividly hued red, orange and yellow blooms can be three inches across. They are hardy in USDA zones three to nine.

Himalayan Blue (Meconopsis Betonicifolia)

Himalayan Blue poppies are recommended for experienced gardeners as they tend to be difficult to grow. This very rare poppy prefers shade, rich moist loam and cooler climates. It can reach four feet in height with four inch flowers that are a deep cobalt blue. It is hardy in USDA zones three to nine with the proper care and maintenance.

Louvre Poppies (Papaver orientalis)

Louvre Poppies have large white ruffled flowers with soft pink blush down to the bold dark basil blotches. A hardy oriental poppy, Louvre prefers full sun and deep loamy soil. It is hardy in USDA zones three to nine.

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About the Author

A writer for more than 25 years, KT O'Neill has been a copywriter and editor for several UN agricultural organizations. She loves to take extremely technical documents and transform them into reader-friendly copy. She has two Bachelor of Arts degrees in linguistics and international relations, along with graduate work in international relations and finance.