Turkish poppy Papaver orientale var. bracteatum

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
great scarlet poppy


The plant in question, commonly known as the Great Red poppy or Oriental poppy, is a perennial with a strikingly bold presence in the garden due to its vivid flowers and foliage. The flowers of this poppy variety are characteristically large, with a deep, rich red color that immediately draws the eye. Each flower blooms with a black or dark purple center, which contrasts dramatically with the red petals and adds to its ornamental appeal. The petals themselves are delicately crinkled, giving them a tissue-like texture that can appear both lush and fragile. The leaves of the Great Red poppy are deeply lobed, adding a textured, architectural element to the plant's appearance. They are a grayish-green color, providing a nice backdrop that accentuates the brilliance of the blooms. When the plant is not flowering, the foliage remains a point of interest with its hairy surface and clumped growth habit. The flowering season brings a flush of these extravagant blooms which, despite their size, are held aloft by singular, hairy stems that emerge from the basal clump of leaves. The contrast between the vibrant blooms and the subdued leaves creates a striking visual effect in garden settings.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Great Scarlet Poppy, Bracteatum Poppy, Ornamental Poppy

    • Common names

      Papaver bracteatum.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      2-3 feet (60-90 cm)

    • Spread

      1-2 feet (30-60 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Ornamental Value: Persian Poppy adds dramatic and vivid color to gardens with its large, striking flowers, making it a popular choice in ornamental landscaping.
    • Attracts Pollinators: It is known to attract bees, butterflies, and other beneficial pollinators, supporting local ecosystems.
    • Drought Tolerance: Once established, Persian Poppy is relatively drought tolerant, making it suitable for xeriscaping and arid garden design.
    • Low Maintenance: It typically requires minimal care once it is settled into the landscape, making it an easy plant for gardeners of all skill levels.
    • Deer Resistance: They are not commonly eaten by deer, making them a good choice for gardens in areas with high deer populations.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Analgesic: The plant contains alkaloids such as thebaine, which can be used for their pain-relieving properties.
    • Antitussive: Compounds derived from the plant may suppress coughing.
    • Antispasmodic: The plant’s derivatives can be used to relieve spasms of the involuntary muscles.
    • Expectorant: Components extracted from the plant might be used to help expel phlegm from the chest.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Ink Production: The intense red color of the petals of the Oriental Poppy can be used to create natural dyes for inks in arts and crafts.
    • Pigment for Paints: Similarly to ink, the petals can be processed to extract pigments for use in natural paint formulations.
    • Educational Tool: The complex structure of the Oriental Poppy can serve as an educational specimen in botany studies to demonstrate plant anatomy and pollination strategies.
    • Photography Subjects: Due to their vibrant colors and large size, Oriental Poppies are popular subjects for photographers and nature enthusiasts, enhancing the appreciation of plant diversity.
    • Culinary Decoration: The petals of the Oriental Poppy, though not widely consumed, can be used for decorative purposes on pastries and gourmet dishes after ensuring they are free of any harmful substances.
    • Companion Planting: Oriental Poppy can be used in gardens to attract pollinators such as bees, which benefits the pollination of nearby fruit and vegetable crops.
    • Eco-friendy Confetti: Dried petals of the poppy can serve as a biodegradable alternative to traditional confetti at events, reducing environmental impact.
    • Floriculture: Oriental Poppies are cultivated for their aesthetic value and are used in floral arrangements and in the commercial cut flower industry.
    • Garden Design: Due to their large, showy blooms, Oriental Poppies are used to create focal points in landscape designs and public gardens.
    • Artistic Muse: The beauty of Oriental Poppies has inspired artists and poets, becoming a motif in fine arts and literature, symbolizing beauty, remembrance, and resilience.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Oriental poppy is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Oriental poppy is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Remembrance: Oriental Poppies are often associated with remembrance, particularly in relation with military veterans and those who have been lost in wars. This symbolism is especially prominent in Europe where the red poppy has become an emblem for Remembrance Day.
    • Peace: Following their use as a symbol of remembrance, Oriental Poppies also embody a message of peace and the hope for an end to conflict.
    • Rest: Poppies, in general, are connected to sleep because of their sedative properties and have been used historically to produce opiates.
    • Resilience: Despite their delicate appearance, Oriental Poppies are hardy perennials that can withstand tough conditions, symbolizing the ability to endure and recover from adversity.
    • Beauty and Imagination: With their vivid colors and large, showy petals, Oriental Poppies represent beauty and the power of creativity and imagination.

Every week
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every year
Spring-early summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Oriental Poppies should be watered deeply but infrequently to encourage strong root growth. During the active growth period in the spring, water approximately once a week with about 1-1.5 inches of water. Reduce watering as the flowers fade and the plant goes dormant in the heat of summer. Ensure the soil is well-draining; Oriental Poppies do not like to be waterlogged. You may need to water more frequently in very hot or windy conditions, but always allow the top inch of soil to dry out before watering again.

  • sunLight

    Oriental Poppies thrive in full sun conditions where they can receive at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. They perform best in a location that gets early morning light which is less intense and reduces the chance of scorching the blooms. Avoid placing Oriental Poppies in full shade, as this will significantly reduce their blooming and can lead to weakened growth.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Oriental Poppies prefer cool to mild temperatures and can tolerate a wide range, surviving winters to a hardiness of USDA zones 3 through 7. They can handle minimum temperatures down to -40 degrees Fahrenheit and maximum temperatures up to around 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Their ideal growing conditions are between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • scissorsPruning

    Prune Oriental Poppies after the blooms have faded to encourage a tidy plant habit and possibly a second, albeit smaller, bloom. Cut the flower stems down to the base but leave the foliage, as it will gather sunlight and strengthen the plant for the next season. The best time for pruning is late spring to early summer, post-flowering. Leaf maintenance and removal of dead or diseased plant parts can be done on an as-needed basis throughout the growing season.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    The Oriental poppy prefers well-draining soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH between 6.5 and 7. A good soil mix would be one part loam, one part sand or perlite, and one part compost to provide nutrients.

  • plantRepotting

    Oriental poppies are perennial plants that do not like to be disturbed, so repotting is rarely needed. They are best left in the same spot to thrive for years without repotting.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Oriental poppies are tolerant of a wide range of humidity levels and do well in average garden conditions without the need for specific humidity adjustments.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Provide full sun and well-draining soil mix.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in full sun, well-drained soil, and space 12-18 inches apart.

    • Hardiness zone

      3-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    The Iranian Poppy (Papaver orientale var. bracteatum) starts its life as a seed, which when sown and in favorable conditions, germinates in spring. The seedling grows into a herbaceous plant, with a rosette of leaves at the base, concentrating on vegetative growth in the first year. In the following year, the plant enters the flowering stage, usually in late spring or early summer, producing large and showy red to orange blooms with a black basal spot. After pollination, often by insects, the flowers develop into fruit in the form of a capsule containing numerous tiny seeds. Once the seeds are mature, the capsule opens, dispersing them to start a new cycle. The plant then either dies back to the ground after seeding (if it is an annual or a biennial form) or goes dormant for the winter (as a perennial) to emerge again the following spring.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-early summer

    • The Oriental poppy, scientifically known as Papaver orientale var. bracteatum, is best propagated from seeds as it does not tolerate root disturbance well due to its taproot system. The most popular method of propagation for this plant is by sowing seeds directly in the ground during late fall or early spring. Sowing in fall allows the cold stratification process to naturally occur, which can help break the seed's dormancy, leading to better germination in the spring. To sow, scatter the seeds over well-drained soil and lightly cover them with a thin layer of soil, no more than 1/16 of an inch (approximately 1.5 millimeters) deep. Water the area gently and keep it consistently moist until germination occurs. Once seedlings have established and grown sufficiently, thin them to about 12 to 18 inches (30 to 45 centimeters) apart to give each plant ample space to mature.