Papaver pilosum ssp. spicatum
TURKISH SPIRE POPPY
Large poppies of pastel apricot silk give Papaver pilosum ssp. spicatum some of the most beautiful flowers of all the perennial poppies.
Unusual stacked stems of flowers
But Papaver pilosum ssp. spicatum is also very unusual, as the flowers open stacked up tall flower spikes (rather like a Hollyhock) instead of each flower having its own stem.
So the flowers open in a procession, starting at the top.
Hence the common name of Spire Poppy, and it does come from Turkey.
Procession of gossamer silk flowers
And these beautiful, pleated satin blooms have petals as fine as gossamer silk, that flutter in the breeze.
So it is a joy as they repeatedly bloom through spring & summer, producing a series of flower spires.
Decorative furry grey foliage
Flower spires emerge from a flat rosette of furry blue-grey handsome leaves.
Even the stems and buds are covered with grey fur.
So even when they are not in flower, your Turkish Spire Poppies are a decorative asset.
Long lived perennial clump
Papaver pilosum ssp. spicatum makes an enduring, hardy perennial clump.
And will please you by growing steadily stouter each year, and providing ever more flower spires.
But don’t be alarmed when it disappears in the winter – it is deciduous and winter dormant.
And it will be back bigger and better next year. 60cm H x 20cm W.
Frost & heat hardy.
SEED SOWING ADVICE: QUICK & EASY
Sow seeds at any time in punnets indoors / or sow in garden in autumn or spring.
Sow seed thinly onto the surface of good quality seed raising mix.
Press gently into surface but do not cover with mix.
Perennial poppies need light to germinate (annual poppies need the dark).
Keep moist but not wet in a well-lit position.
Temperatures of 16-20°C are optimum for rapid germination.
Seed germinates in 10-14 days approx.
SEED COUNT: 50 seeds per pack approx.
(Seeds are scarce this year).
GROWING: Papaver pilosum ssp. spicatum
– Height with flowers: 60cm. approx.
– Width: Flat rosette of furry blue-grey leaves to diameter of 20cm. approx.
– Growth: Stout perennial clump which increases each year.
Foliage is a low growing neat, symmetrical clump of large decorative leaves, flat to the ground.
Where to plant
– Position: Full Sun to Part Shade. Full Sun in cold districts, but in hotter positions they also happily enjoy some hours of shade, if it is well lit.
– Soil: Must have good drainage, as the strong fleshy roots will rot in soggy soil.
Can thrive in all soil types from sandy through average garden loam to clay based soils. Clay based soils should be opened up, and sandy or rocky soils should have organic matter added. They grow happily in soils with a pH on either the acid or alkaline lime side of neutral.
And they love fertilizer, compost or organic matter. Because they need plenty pf fuel to produce all those flowers.
Heat & frost hardy
– Frost: Fully frost hardy to -10°C approx.
Turkish Spire Poppies are heat tolerant, because they are native to places with very hot summers. And they also relish a very cold or frosty winter snap, because of their native habitat.
– Fragrance: Sadly none, but the blooms are so beautiful, you don’t notice the lack of scent.
– Beneficial for wildlife: Bees are as besotted by the silken flowers as we are. Because they gather so much pollen, they can hardly fly with their bulging pollen sacks.
And Butterflies are also fed by the flowers.
Easy low care
– Care: Low maintenance, with little work to do other than feeding.
– Deer & Rabbit resistant: Fortunately rabbits and deer don’t seem to like their furry, felty leaves.
Native to Turkey where they grow on rocky slopes, hence their love of good drainage, frost hardiness, and ability to withstand both heat and cold.