How To Space Your Poppies

If you are considering beautiful poppies for your flowerbeds or containers, you'll be pleased to find out that they can grow almost anywhere. While in many northern states, poppies are considered annuals or biennials, some warmer southern climates allow for poppy plant perennials. Although growing and caring for poppy plants is relatively easy, there are some things that you should consider when spacing your poppy flower plants.

Give Your Poppy Plants Some Space

Generally speaking, you should give poppy plants as much space as you can in a flower bed or container. The root system of a poppy plant will not grow so deep, but it will expand laterally much farther than many other flower plants of its size. So, you should always make sure that you plant your poppy plants so that the root systems of each plant are a minimum of 1 foot or more apart.

Why Poppy Plants Require a Lot of Space

Poppy plants are very heavy feeding plants and require a lot of nutrients in order to vigorously grow and promote new blooms and flower growth. Planting poppy plants too close together causes the plants to have to compete or fight for nutrients in the soil. So, if you plant poppy plants to close together, it will usually result in underdeveloped poppy plants that are leggy or simply do not contain many blooms and flowers.

The roots of most poppy plant varieties only grow down into the soil 2 or3 inches but can grow outward as far as 10 inches to 12 inches. Poppy plants require frequent watering as well; so, planting the plants to close together with will not only potentially starve a poppy plant from needed nutrients in the soil - but could kill it from thirst as well.

Other Spacing Considerations

While it is a common practice for many gardeners to plant annuals and perennials fairly close and then transplant them to avoid overcrowding. This is usually not a good choice for most varieties of poppy flower plants. Poppy plants do not transplant very well at all and usually cannot survive the stress placed upon the root system when they are moved.

As with many other popular annuals and perennials, poppy plants also suffer from many varieties of fungal diseases when placed too close together. Poppies suffer from powdery mildew disease and many other when they are overcrowded.

Many experienced gardeners know that although poppy plants that are planted too close together may appear hardy and healthy in the beginning, the end result is usually a disaster. In most cases, overcrowding produces leggy plants, weak root systems and smaller than average flowers that are not nearly as bright and colorful as they should be. While you may be tempted to plant poppy plants closer than the recommended 1 foot distance intervals, you should be aware that many have tried and almost all have failed. So, if you need to fill in the spaces caused by planting poppy plants at wide intervals, consult with your local garden nursery staff to see what type of companion plants are suitable for your area.