Friday, February 20, 2015

Tips On How To Grow Oriental Poppy

Scientific Name: Papaver somniferum L.
Family: Papaveraceae (Poppy Family)
Oriental poppy plants (Papaver orientale) have remained a garden favorite ever since. Once planted, they require no special care and will last for many years. Their original vibrant red-orange color is still the most popular for growing, though oriental poppies come in a variety of colors that will match or blend any garden’s color scheme.
How to Care for Oriental Poppies
When asked how to care for oriental poppies, the rules are few. Careful placement is essential. Once planted, these beauties don’t like to move.
Don’t plant them in soggy ground. They hate wet feet.
Do fertilize them, but only once a year.
Do plant them with favorites whose growth habits will cover the garden bald spots when your poppies go dormant in the heat. Oriental poppies relish the cool temperatures of early spring and fall. Their bright blossoms open just as most spring bulbs are finished and before the summer flowers begin.
How to care for oriental poppies includes allowing them to die back. So many novice gardeners have killed their oriental poppy plants through misdirected concern. In the heat of summer, they water, water, water, in an effort to save their dying plant. In the end, the excess water is what kills them.
When is the Best Time to Plant Oriental Poppies?
Before we talk about when is the best time to plant oriental poppies, let’s talk a bit about their life cycle. New growth begins in the fall when temperatures are cool and getting colder; new shoots sprout from the sleeping roots. Foliage unfurls until it forms a mound. This mound of green will stay there through the winter. It won’t grow much, but it won’t die, either.
In spring, the growth begins again and the clump sends up long stems of bright flowers. By July and August, the heat is too much for the delicate foliage. Oriental poppies are supposed to go dormant in midsummer. In fall, when the weather cools, they come back stronger than before. The clumps will become larger each year, but will never be invasive.
So, based on their growth habits, spring and fall answers the question of when is the best time to plant oriental poppies and the rule of green-thumb is spring where the winters are cold and fall where the winters are warm.
Planting Instructions
Plant in spring, spacing plants 2 to 3 feet apart, depending on the variety. Prepare the garden bed by using a garden fork or tiller to loosen the soil to a depth of 12 to 15 inches, then mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost. Dig a hole twice the diameter of the pot the plant is in. Carefully remove the plant from its container and place it in the hole so the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface. Carefully fill in around the root ball and firm the soil gently. Water thoroughly.
Apply a thin layer of compost each spring, followed by a 2-inch layer of mulch to retain moisture and control weeds. During the summer months, when plants are dormant, watering is needed only during periods of drought. In autumn, poppies will resume foliage growth until frost, and these green leaves will remain over winter. After soil has frozen, apply a 4- to 6-inch layer of protective mulch to prevent heaving during periods of temperature fluctuation. When the weather warms up in spring, gradually remove the winter mulch. Plants can be divided in early spring or summer.
Growing Oriental Poppies
When talking about how to grow oriental poppy, we should begin with propagation. Nurseries rarely carry potted oriental poppy plants because they are difficult to transplant. Once sown, they do not like to be disturbed. Therefore, the easiest method for how to grow oriental poppies is to sow the seeds directly into the ground.
Select a site that gets plenty of sun – at least six hours a day – and turn over the top inch or two of soil. Poppies aren’t particular about their soil, but they are fussy about drainage. If the drainage is poor, amend the soil with a couple of inches of compost before you plant.
Sprinkle the seeds on top of the soil. Do not cover them. Oriental poppies need light to germinate. Water the area regularly, keeping it moist but not soggy until the seeds germinate, which should take about two weeks. When the seedlings are about one inch tall, thin them to six inches apart.
Tips on How to Grow Oriental Poppy Indoors
How to grow oriental poppy indoors is much the same with a few slight alterations. As stated before, these plants do not transplant well. Therefore, to successfully sow your seeds indoors, you must use biodegradable pots that will go into the ground along with the plant.
Fill your pots with planting medium to about a half inch below the rim. Water the pots well before you plant. Sprinkle only a few seeds in each pot to leave the new seedling roots plenty of room for growing. Oriental poppies have tiny seeds. To make sowing easier, try sprinkling your seed on a sheet of white paper and use a damp finger to pick up a few at a time.
Once seeded, cover the pots with plastic to retain moisture and place them in a sunny window. Your seedlings should germinate in 7 to 14 days. Reduce the number of seedlings to one per pot when they are about one inch tall. Do this by pinching off the unwanted plants so the roots of your new oriental poppy plants remain undisturbed.
When is the best time to plant oriental poppies grown indoors? A cloudy, windless day is ideal for transplanting. Remove the top half inch of each pot before setting it in the ground. The plant’s crown should be at ground level.
Growing oriental poppies in your home garden is a decision you’ll never regret. Their easy care, long life, and beautiful flowers make them a gardener’s delight.
Oriental Poppy 1 Oriental Poppy 2 Oriental Poppy 3 Oriental Poppy 4 Oriental Poppy 5 Oriental Poppy 7 Oriental Poppy 8 Oriental Poppy 9 Oriental Poppy 10

Rhapidophyllum hystrix

Common Names: needle palm, porcupine palm
Family: Arecacea/Palmae (palm Family)
The needle palm is a terribly talented plant that is beautiful, rugged, extremely cold hardy, fast growing and one of my landscape favorites. Rhapidophyllum hystrix is a small shrubby fan palm that grows to about 6 ft (1.8 m) in height. It produces suckers freely, these multiple stems creating an ever widening rounded clump of indeterminate width. Over time the tightly packed stems will form an impenetrable thicket. The needle palm doesn’t form a trunk but instead has a slowly lengthening crown that may grow to about 4 ft (1.2 m) long and about 7 in (17.8 cm) in diameter. The stems are composed of old leaf bases, fiber and long slender spines. They are usually erect but in older clumps they may lean or grow prostrate along the ground as they compete for light and space. As each stem matures, more slender spines grow from from between the leaf attachments. These “needles” are dark brown or black, very slender and sharp and grow from 4-10 in (10-25 cm) long.
Each stem carries about 12 erectly held leaves that are about 4 ft (1.2 m) long. The foliage is glossy deep green on top with a dull silvery white underside. The slender petioles (leaf stems) are smooth and are 2-2.5 ft (0.6-0.8 m) long and 30-36 in (76-91 cm) wide. The fan-shaped leaves are deeply indented with each leaflet 1-2 in (2.5-5 cm) wide and 15-20 in (38-51 cm) long. The tip of each leaflet is bluntly squared off and notched as if trimmed with a pinking shears.
The needle palm has a tightly compact inflorescence (flower structure) that is about 6-12 in (15-30 cm) long and held close to the stem, barely peeping above the leaf bases. Obscured by foliage and fiber and protected by the sharp needles it is often not visible without serious effort. Tiny yellow to purplish-brown flowers are held on the inflorescence with male and female flowers borne on separate plants (although hermaphroditic individuals are also reported). This palm flowers irregularly with blooms typically appearing in spring and early summer.
I have observed (and grow) two forms of needle palm that have slight differences in form and foliage. One form is shrubbier, suckers more and has leaves with smaller leaflets that are in greater number. The other tends to sucker less, has larger crowns, with fewer leaves that have fewer, but wider leaflets. I’ve observed the shrubbier form in North Florida growing on hillsides while the other form seems to be more common in Central Florida where I’ve observed it growing on flat, moist forest floors.
Needle palm seeds are red to brown and roughly spherical. They are about an 1 in (2.5 cm) in diameter and have a fuzzy fleshy covering. They are protected by the sharp needles and are difficult to access – since animals can’t get to them and most die in place.
This palm is native to the southeastern United States. Populations can be found in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and South Carolina. Needle palm grows on shady wooded slopes as well as in moist bottomlands along streams.
Needle palm prefers fairly moist, well drained soils with lots of organic matter but is very adaptable to less than ideal conditions. Light applications of fertilizer a couple of times a year in spring and summer will reward with faster growth rate.
Light: Full to partial shade.
Moisture: Moist, well drained but tolerant of dry conditions.
Propagation: By seed or by division of clumps. Although it takes a lot of effort to dig and separate a large needle palm it is relatively easy to successfully transplant the suckers. Seeds germinate in about 6 to 12 months. I regularly scan beneath my needle palms for the occasional seedling. I dig these, pamper them in a pot for about a year before planting them in landscape.
The needle palm is a perfect, low maintenance plant that makes an excellent specimen plant for small spaces near the patio or entryways. In the shade garden the needle palm provides a rich green backdrop of flowering plants and it blends beautifully with azaleas and camellias in the filtered light under a high canopy of pine.
Mass plantings of needle palm can also serve as security hedges. The thick growth and lethal needle form and impenetrable barrier that will deter most creatures, especially human.
Established plants are drought tolerant and are perfect for shady xeriscape plantings. Surprisingly the needle palm is also happy to grow in wet soils and can even survive flooding and standing water. Use near ponds and streams and swampy forests. Needle palm is also useful around swimming pools where it’s clean habit and ability to take continual splashes with chlorinated water make it a good choice although don’t plant too close to walkways so passersby aren’t pricked by the nasty needles.
Being one of (possibly the) most cold hardy palms, gardeners in cooler places can add this pretty palm to their plant palettes. It won’t successfully grow in places where the ground often freezes, but in locations like Atlanta, Georgia; Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, British Columbia the needle palm can be planted in protected areas to everyone’s evergreen delight!
The needle palm grows happily in containers and although not often seen used as such, it is durable enough to grow indoors if you have the space to accommodate it.
Plantings of needle palm are able to trap and “swallow” fallen leaves and other debris. There’s no raking and this “automulching” further reduces maintenance – I told you this was a talented palm!
Rhapidophyllum hystrix 1 Rhapidophyllum hystrix 3 Rhapidophyllum hystrix 4 DCIM100MEDIA Rhapidophyllum hystrix 6 Rhapidophyllum hystrix 7

Ravenea spp.

Common Names: Majesty (TM) Palm
Family: Arecacea/Palmae (palm Family)
This is a beautiful feather-leafed palm whose symmetrical form and smooth, flared trunk combine to create living sculpture for the landscape. For the same reason Majesty palm has become a popular plant for indoors as well. Smaller specimens are vigorously marketed as houseplants while larger plants are common inhabitants of office and shopping mall interiors. This palm is such an item of commerce that even its common name, Majesty®, is a trademark. Alan Meerow, author of Guide To Landscape Palms reports that there is confusion as to the identity of Majesty palm. Usually identified as R. rivularis, he suspects that this palm is actually R. glauca, a smaller palm growing to less than 20ft (6m) in height whereas R. rivularis grows to about 40ft (12m).
Native to Madagascar where it, like much of the island’s unique plant life, is rapidly disappearing.
Tolerant of many different soil types but needs sufficient fertilizer to look its best – feed every 3 months or whenever its deep green color begins to fade.
Light: Majesty palm will grow in bright sunny areas but tends to look better in partly shaded areas as an understory plant.
Moisture: Needs moisture, water when dry.
Propagation: By seed – which you will probably not be able to find. The good news is this palm is inexpensive and widely available at most discount garden stores and nurseries.
Majesty palm does well in containers both indoors and out. Use on patio, deck, or in sun room. If you live in a frost free area plant one of these beauties as a specimen in a partly sunny area where you can admire its shapeliness from the house or deck.
Ravenea 1 Ravenea 2 Ravenea 3 Ravenea 4 Ravenea 5 Ravenea 6 Ravenea 7 Ravenea 8 Ravenea 9 Ravenea 10 Ravenea 11 Ravenea 12