‘Prinzessin Victoria Louise’
Papaver orientale ‘Prinzessin Victoria Louise’ is often voted the most spectacular of all the Oriental Poppies.
No wonder with apricot-salmon pink petals, looking like they have been cut from silken satin, dramatically enhanced by purple hearts and black central blotches.
Such opulent and huge flowers always draw all eyes to Papaver orientale ‘Prinzessin Victoria Louise’.
Opulent huge blooms
Each huge bloom can be up to 20cm. across, and an established clump will produce a heart stopping show in late spring and early summer.
‘Prinzessin Victoria Louise’ is sometimes also known as “Coral Reef’ because of the beautiful coral pink colour.
(See “Growing” section below for details about how & where to grow)
Extended season of interest
But the season of interest extends well beyond spectacular flowers.
You will find the plump buds are a real design feature before opening, and fascinating as the silken petals begin to peep, then slowly unfurl.
Architectural seed pods follow the flowers, and are also highly prized by floral artists.
The foliage clump is neat, symmetrical and low growing. So it is a textural garden asset even when not in flower.
Hardy despite their exotic beauty
Oriental Poppies are not particularly thirsty plants, despite their exotic looks and huge flowers.
They are also fully frost hardy, and will tolerate a range of soils. They are not difficult to please.
Good garden companions
Plant stunning Oriental Poppies with autumn bloomers like Perovskia, Echinacea or Rudbeckia.
So these autumn show stoppers take over the display from the Poppies.
Then the one spot provides spectacular flowers from spring to autumn end.
Our Poppy’s foliage is just a neat, low clump in autumn while the autumn companions strut their stuff with colour.
Hardy, resilient & long lived
If your Oriental Poppies disappear underground in the hottest part of summer – do not panic.
This summer dormancy is perfectly normal for Oriental Poppies, and is their natural protection against excessive heat. They will be back again with an even bigger and better clump at the start of autumn.
Oriental Poppies are hardy, resilient, and very long lived clumps once established in their spot. So please leave them in your will to your grandchildren.
They can tolerate soils with low fertility.
Though generous fertilizer and compost will produce even more numerous and massive blooms.
Sumptuous cut flowers
Even one Oriental Poppy in a vase is a show stopper. While several will stop you in your tracks.
Cut them either early in the morning, or at evening, just as the buds are about to open.
Sear the ends of the stems with a match flame before putting straight into cool water, for a longer vase life.
Remove the outer green calyx from around the unfurling petals for even further flower life.
Growing: Papaver orientale ‘Prinzessin Victoria Louise’
– Height with flowers: 60cm. approx.
– Width: 45cm. approx.
– Growth: Stout perennial clump which can go summer dormant in high heat. Foliage is a low growing neat, symmetrical clump of large decorative leaves.
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.
Heat & frost hardy
– Frost: Fully frost hardy, even in hard frosts to well below -10C. They shrug off frosts.
Oriental Poppies are heat tolerant, as they will have a short summer dormancy if it turns very hot. (Important not think they have died and dig them out if they have a little rest over the hottest period – this is perfectly normal. They will return from underground as autumn begins). Because they are native to places with very hot summers, they have adapted to cope with it by going dormant when the heat climbs too far. Also because of their native range, they relish a very cold or frosty winter snap.
– Fragrance: Sadly none, but the blooms are so dazzling, you don’t notice the lack of scent.
– Beneficial for wildlife: Bees are as besotted by the huge flowers as we are. They gather so much pollen, they can hardly fly with their bulging pollen sacks. Interestingly the pollen is black or purple.
Butterflies are also fed by the flowers.
If you leave the decorative seed heads to dry on the plant, the small seed eating birds will thank you for such well stocked larders. Each pod produces countless seeds. Do not worry, Oriental Poppies are in no way invasive.
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 hairy, whiskery leaves. Just as well, as a gardener could turn very nasty if they ate my treasured Oriental Poppies.
Native to Turkey, Armenia and Iran where they grow on rocky slopes, hence their love of good drainage, frost hardiness, and ability to withstand both heat cold.