Poppy That Brings Color To Your Yard And House

By: Thomas Fryd..

The beauty of the Oriental Poppy as a garden flower is recognized by all, but many fail to appreciate its value as a cut bloom. With a simple treatment of the stem, it can compete with any flower for home decoration and at shows; either by itself or in combination with other flowers, it is a consistent winner of blue ribbons.
Ordinarily, a poppy starts to wilt soon after it is cut, as the milky juice seals the end of the stem and prevents it from replacing water evaporated from its petals. Singeing the end of the stem with a candle flame, dipping in boiling water or crushing will prolong the life.
To keep the blooms fresh for their normal span, cut the stems the varying lengths you wish and bring them in immediately to the gas or electric range, hold the ends of the stems just above the flame and keep them there until the end is charred and glows like a coal, and the last inch or two is well burned. This will take from two to five minutes. Then place the flowers in water. They will last from three days to a week, and the stems will never get flexible or the petals wilted. Petals simply drop as they would on the growing plant when they get old. The vase can even be set out in the sun without any wilting.
For best results, fresh blooms should be cut early in the morning; if you are early enough, you will find many blooms that have thrown off their green caps but are still in the process of unfurling their silken petals. If you are later, then select blooms that have no pollen dust on their petals. If pollen dust is objectionable, the anthers can be removed with small scissors.
Poppies can even be cut in bud and mailed to friends if you have something new you wish them to see. Burn the end of the stem, place in cool water for several hours, then wrap a pad of absorbent cotton around the end of the stem. Cover it with waxed paper and a rubber band to hold it on. It should be a bud that would open in a day or two at the latest, and this is a little difficult to judge, because poppies show no color in advance (any that shows color at the side is defective, and may remain unchanged for a week or more before opening). The only guide you have is that the sheath gets thinner, a little drier and not quite as green when it is ready to break. With a little practice, you will be able to judge it by feeling the bud, which is slightly softer, but I believe you get finer and larger blooms by letting them open on the plant. .
All Oriental Poppies make fine cut flowers, but there are several of delicate pastel shades that are especially fine for floral arrangements, especially with the addition of oriental phalaenopsis orchids. Since some of these delicate tints bleach after a few hours of hot sun they are always seen in areas with indirect sunlight just like phalaenopsis moth orchids; hence, I have always called them cutting poppies. Exact color descriptions are very difficult to give.
All our modern Oriental Poppies have fine stiff stems that do not need staking under usual conditions, but if your location is very windy or plants are crowded between tall perennials, a ring peony support or a bamboo stake may be necessary to keep them straight.

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Various methods have been published on oriental phalaenopsis orchids. Most of these methods can be found on our evergrowing library at www.plant-care.com/orchid-house-plants.html.

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