How to Trim Poppies


Poppies are grown for their brightly colored, crepe-paper-like blooms, but their foliage tends to be considerably less showy and rather sparse on the plant stems. This makes dead or diseased material hard to camouflage and spent flower heads look prominent on the plant. Known botanically as the genus Papver, poppies can be annuals or perennials depending on the particular species and growing climate. Judicious trimming out of undesirable tissues during the growing season keeps all types of the plants looking green, tidy and robust and maintains focus on the blooms.

Difficulty: Moderately Easy


Things You’ll Need:

  • Secateurs
  • Small scissors
  1. Harvest fresh flowers for cut arrangements by trimming each individual stalk from the plant at the crown, between the foliage just above the soil line.

  2. Deadhead spent flower heads on annual poppies to encourage new blooms, severing the individual stalks down to the crown of the plant at the soil line. Deadhead perennial poppies if you do not wish seed heads to develop. Conversely, if you want to collect the seeds or allow the plants to self sow mature seed, refrain from deadheading most of the blooms and allow seed heads to form.

  3. Groom the plants for dead, discolored or diseased stems and foliage and any of the plant that is lying on the soil. Trim back to healthy growth with secateurs or small scissors and be sure to destroy, not compost, any diseased or infested tissues.

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