Papaver rhoeas (Corn Poppy, Field Poppy)

Scientific Name

Papaver rhoeas L.

Common Names

Common Poppy, Corn Poppy, Corn Rose, Field Poppy, Flanders Poppy, Red Poppy, Red Weed, Shirley's Poppy


Papaver commutatum, Papaver insignitum, Papaver intermedium, Papaver rhoeas var. strigosum, Papaver rhoeas subsp. strigosum, Papaver roubiaei, Papaver strigosum, Papaver tenuissimum, Papaver trilobum, Papaver tumidulum

Scientific Classification

Family: Papaveraceae
Subfamily: Papaveroideae
Tribe: Papavereae
Genus: Papaver


Color: Red
Bloom Time: Spring to the beginning of fall


Papaver rhoeas is a variable erect annual that grows up to 2.5 feet (75 cm) tall, forming a long-lived soil seed bank that can germinate when the soil is disturbed. In the northern hemisphere, it generally flowers in late spring, but other flowers frequently appear at the beginning of fall if the weather is warm enough. The flowers are large and showy, up to 4 inches (10 cm) across, with four vivid red petals, most commonly with a black spot at their base. The flower stem is usually covered with coarse hairs that are held at right angles to the surface. The capsules are hairless, obovoid in shape, less than twice as tall as wide, with a stigma at least as wide as the capsule.

Papaver rhoeas (Corn Poppy)

How to Grow and Care

Plant Corn Poppy seeds directly on top of cultivated soil. In mild climates, plant the seeds in late fall or early spring when soil temperatures are between 60 and 70 ºF (15 and 21 ºC). Corn Poppies thrive in full sunlight and rich, well-drained soil. If the soil is poor, incorporate 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.5 cm) of compost or manure before planting.

Water Corn Poppies when the top of the soil feels dry. Saturate the root zone thoroughly, as shallow waterings promote a shallow root system. For best results, water by hand with a hose or use a drip system to keep the foliage as dry as possible. If you use a sprinkler, water early in the day, so the foliage has time to dry before evening. Soggy soil and damp foliage place the plant at risk of rot and fungal diseases.

Spread 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) of mulch around the plants in the spring. An organic mulch such as shredded leaves or dry grass clippings keeps the roots cool, conserves moisture, and prevents the growth of weeds.

Apply a balanced liquid or granular fertilizer if newly emerging foliage has a yellowish appearance. Use the fertilizer following label recommendations. As a general rule, Poppies require no supplemental fertilization if granular fertilizer or compost are incorporated into the soil at planting time. See more at How to Grow and Care for Corn Poppy.


Native to Europe.


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