Papaver nudicaule more commonly known as Iceland poppy is endemic to North America and Asia. They bear beautiful red, orange, yellow, pink, or white flowers with 12-24” stems that bend easily to the wind. They bloom from spring to early summer. The petals are very delicate and so thin that sunlight gets through, making their color seem even brighter. Iceland poppies are often mistaken as perennial. However, due to the fact that they do not handle heat very well, they the are categorized as annuals or biennials. All parts of this plant are poisonous. It has no culinary or medicinal use.
Papaver nudicale flowers are very delicate, and sowing should be handled with a lot of care. They are grown in pots, cylinders and mixed borders.
When planted in a pot, it would be best to use one that can be water from the bottom. Begin by moistening the soil. The poppy seeds should be sprinkled on the surface of a loose soil and lightly flattened in. Take care not to compact the soil when doing so. An alkaline or neutral Ph is recommended. Optimal soil temperature for germination is 55 degrees F. At four inches in height, thin plants to 12-15 inches apart. The flowers bloom very fast, sometimes in less than two weeks. They do not like the heat or full sun. They bloom in early spring and keep on blooming until the early summer. The heat of the summer months causes the blooms to keel over as soon as they come up, so mulch may help keep them going by keeping the soil moist and cool. Depending on the area and temperature, blooms can be enjoyed throughout the fall.
Iceland poppies are great flowers to plant in mixed borders because the other flowers grow a lot slower. They fill the empty spaces early in the season, and then die back over the summer, leaving room for other plants. They can also be used in rock gardens, and the cut flowers are popular for fresh arrangements.