Mexican Tulip Poppy Care: How To Grow a Mexican Tulip Poppy

Mexican Tulip Poppy Care: How To Grow a Mexican Tulip Poppy

By: Becca Badgett, Co-author of How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden

Growing Mexican tulip poppies in the sunny flower bed is a good way to have long lasting color in those sometimes hard to fill areas where a medium height plant is needed. Hunnemannia fumariaefolia is low maintenance and inexpensive when grown from seed. Let’s find out more about what Hunnemannia poppies are and how to use them in the landscape.

What are Hunnemannia Poppies?

Gardeners not familiar with the Mexican tulip poppy may be wondering, “What are Hunnemannia poppies?”. They are members of the Papavercae family, as are other poppies. Flowers on the 1 to 2 foot (0.5 m.) plant are shaped like ruffle-edged tulip flowers and exhibit the delicate characteristics of the typical poppy flower.

Mexican tulip poppy info indicates they are tender perennials in the warmest USDA Zones and grow as annuals in areas with cold winters. Native to Mexico, growing Mexican tulip poppies is as simple as sowing seed into a sunny flower bed. Each plant forms a multi-branched clump, so allow adequate room for growth when planting. Mexican tulip poppy info also says to plant or thin seedlings to 9 to 12 inches (23 to 30.5 cm.) apart.

You can also start growing Mexican tulip poppies from seedlings found at your local nursery. Mexican tulip poppy info says flowers begin to bloom in summer and in the right conditions, continue blooming until frost arrives.

How to Grow Mexican Tulip Poppy

Choose a sunny area with well draining soil. In colder climates, sow seeds in spring when the chance of frost is past. Till soil several inches (5 to 10 cm.) deep, as Mexican tulip poppy info says the plant forms a deep taproot. As with most tap-rooted plants, growing Mexican tulip poppies don’t transplant well, so plant seeds into a permanent spot in the landscape.

Seeds can be started indoors in biodegradable containers four to six weeks before the last frost possibilities. Maintain temperatures of 70-75 F. (21-14 C.) during germination, which takes 15 to 20 days.

Growing Mexican tulip poppies in containers is an excellent option, as they’re drought tolerant and continue to flourish in the unwatered container. Watering of all poppies should be limited and Mexican tulip poppy info says this plant is no exception.

Other Mexican Tulip Poppy Care

Fertilization and deadheading are part of Mexican tulip poppy care. When growing Mexican tulip poppies, work organic material into the soil. This will decompose and provide nutrients. Organic mulch around growing plants feeds them as well.

Remove spent blooms as needed and prune foliage that becomes tattered. Use the flowers in cut arrangements. Pinching and pruning encourages more blooms.

Now that you’ve learned the ease of how to grow Mexican tulip poppy, add some this spring when planting your spring annuals. Sow the seed behind those colorful annuals that won’t hold up to summer heat.

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Identifying Poppy Plants

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While poppies (Papaver spp.) run the gamut from flowers 1 1/2 to 6 inches across, with heights from 5 inches to 4 feet, they do share a number of characteristics that help you identify them. California poppy (Eschscholzia californica) and Mexican tulip poppy (Hunnemannia fumariifolia) share similar traits and, like other poppies, are members of the Papaveraceae family. You'll find poppies growing in full sun, and, since they are prolific self-seeders, you'll also see them in large drifts.

Hunnemannia Plant Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Tulip poppy, Mexican tulip poppy, Golden Cup.
Life Cycle: Hardy Perennial commonly grown as a Half Hardy Annual by gardeners.
Height: 20 to 24 inches (50 to 60 cm).
Native: Central America.
Northern America: Zones 6 to 10. As a perennial in zones 9 to 10.
Flowers: Summer and autumn.
Flower Details: Yellow, Gold. Poppy/Tulip shape. Solitary. Four petals.
Foliage: Greyish-green. Fern-like. Linear lobes.
Sow Outside: Cover seed. Late spring or autumn in warm areas. Spacing 10 to 14 inches (25 to 35cm).
Sow Inside: Best started outside. If starting indoors use peat pots. Germination time: two to three weeks. Temperature 70°F (21°C). Seven or eight weeks before expected last frost. Transplant outdoors a few weeks after the last frost.
Requirements: Full sunlight. Good drainage. Average soils. Drought tolerant.

Planting Guide - Poppy Seeds

Quite possibly the most popular wildflower in America, poppies deserve a rightful place in every garden, wildflower meadow and pasture. Offered in a delightfully surprising range of colors and growth habits, poppies grace their locations with great charisma. Even their name is suitably evocative!

Growing Poppies in Your Garden

The true poppies are Papaver, of which we carry 15+ varieties, including annuals, biennials and perennials, such as the poppy Papaver somniferum the common poppy, Papaver rhoeas, and the large flowered herbaceous P. oriental, the Oriental poppy. But there is also the Eschscholzia californica family and we carry 12 of those varieties. Poppy blooms may be single, double or semi double boasting amazing texture and size. Their flower colors range from vibrant to subdued – from deepest crimson, bright orange and yellow to soft pink, dusty peach, rose, lilac, and cream. Soft smooth petals or textured crepe paper ruffles all combine to create a flower that will match or blend any garden’s theme.

When & How to Plant Poppy Seeds

Poppy seeds need to be cold stratified to germinate. Learn how to cold stratify your seed here.

Poppies are not easy to transplant and actually do not fare well if their roots are disturbed, so starting them indoors is not recommended. Directly sow poppies outdoors in early spring even if threat of frost still exists. Poppies are frost tolerant and germinate best in cool weather and soil, sow your poppy seeds as early as the ground can be worked. If you are gardening in zones 8-10, plant your poppy seeds in December & January and they will bloom for you the following spring.

Poppies bloom profusely under cool growing conditions. They are known for self-sowing, sometimes with abandon, and you may find seedlings popping up all around the garden bed. They are not invasive and the seedlings are easy to pull up if they land in unwanted places.

Growing Guide

Select a site in full sun, one that receives at least six hours of direct sun daily. In warm climates, plants do best with some protective shade at midday. Poppies grow in almost any kind of soil with good drainage. They do not mind a high soil temperature and a minimum supply of moisture in the soil.

Because poppy seeds are so small, mix the seeds with some sandbox sand to help you distribute the seeds evenly. The light-colored sand will also act as a marker on the soil surface of where you have planted the poppy seeds and where you haven’t. Poppies germinate best with some light so do not bury the seeds. Cover them with a very thin layer of fine soil or just press them into the soil by stepping on them for smaller jobs and using a weighted roller for bigger jobs.

Keep the soil moist but not soggy until seeds germinate. If the soil temperature is at least 55 F expect germination in 10-15 days.

Possible Problems

Poppies can thrive for years in poor, neglected areas like an unkempt side yard while other times they simply won’t take, no matter how hard you try. Keep them moderately well watered in hot, dry weather, and do not fertilize.


You will find that once you successfully plant poppies you will see more and more of them year after year. The seed is so small and fine that the slightest breeze can carry it from one part of the garden to the other…and another. The silvery leaves and lovely blooms appear as welcome surprises each spring.

Poppies are beautiful in your garden and many of us want to bring that beauty indoors. This can prove difficult because poppies can, at best, last 2 to 3 days as a cut flower. Sometimes, they wilt right away. If you would like to use them as a cut flower, consider arranging them with some sturdier flowers or greenery to help keep their stems upright.

Shipping Schedule

Seeds are shipped year-round, while perennials & bulbs are shipped seasonally. Pre-ordered bulbs ship at the proper planting time for your zone. Spring pre-orders are placed any time before March 1. Fall pre-orders are placed any time before September 1. These items will not ship immediately, but will be delivered at the ideal time for planting. Orders containing both seeds and bulbs may be split into multiple shipments. Click here for more shipping information.

Pre-Ordered Spring Bulbs & Perennials Shipping Begins
Zones 9 - 12 Late February to Early March
Zone 8 Early to Mid March
Zone 7 Mid to Late March
Zone 6 Early April
Zone 5 Late April
Zones 2 - 4 Late April to Early May
In-season orders ship immediately at the time of purchase to all zones until inventory is depleted.
Saffron Crocus & Bearded Iris Shipping Begins
All Zones Late August
Pre-Ordered Fall Bulbs Shipping Begins
Zones 2 - 4 Mid September
Zone 5 Mid to Late September
Zone 6 Late September
Zone 7 Late September to Early October
Zones 8 - 12 Early to Mid October
In-season orders ship immediately at the time of purchase to all zones until inventory is depleted.
Pre-Ordered Fall Perennials* Shipping Begins
All Zones Mid October
*Amaryllis Bulbs, Hosta Roots, Lily Bulbs, Papaver Roots, Paperwhite Bulbs, Peony Roots & Siberian Iris Roots

Product Description

Poppy Seeds - Turkish Tulip

In bold red with black centers, Turkish Tulip Poppies are a fairly rare specimen that we think is worthy of being a part of any poppy collection.

Fast Facts

Name:Poppy Seeds - Turkish Tulip
Botanical Name:Papaver glaucum
Life Cycle:Annual
Light Requirement:Full Sun
Planting Season:Spring
Plant Type:Tall green stalks with brilliant red blossoms with dark center
Features:Open Pollinated, Attracts Pollinators, Drought Tolerant, Container Garden, Easy to Grow & Maintain
Color:Red, Black
Plant Height:Up to 36 inches
Plant Spacing:6-8 inches
Planting Depth:1/16 inch
Sowing Method:Direct Sow
Cold Stratification:Yes direct sowing is recommended in late fall or early spring for zones 2-8
Seeds per Packet:500 mg
Hardiness Zones:3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Ships:Year Round

Planting Instructions

Poppy seeds need to be cold stratified to germinate. Learn how to cold stratify your seed here.

Papaver Rhoeas act as perennials in moderate climates, but they perform as annuals where freezing temperatures and snow occur in winter. These poppies germinate most successfully in cool to moderate temperatures and they are, in fact, frost tolerant. Poppies flower best under cool spring weather conditions. Bloom decreases on poppies as temperatures increase in summer months.

In growing zones 3 – 7, the Red Corn Poppy, Shirley Poppy – Mixed Colors and the Shirley Poppy – Mixed Double seeds can be planted in late autumn or early spring when a light frost is still possible.

In zones 8 – 10, these poppy seeds should be sown in late autumn or winter.

Poppies only need soil that is ordinary and moist, but well drained. The seeds should not be planted deeply they just need to be compressed into the soil, as they need light to germinate. The best method for planting is to mix one part seed with 5 parts sand and scatter over the prepared growing area.

These varieties of poppy seeds generally germinate in about 20 days. You can thin the seedlings to 6” to 8” apart after they emerge.

If planting in rows, then plant the seeds 6” to 8” apart.

Poppies do best if planted directly outdoors in their intended location rather than transplanting them. However, if necessary, they can be started in biodegradable peat pots indoors before the last spring frost. The entire peat pot can then be planted outdoors once the poppy seedlings are established.

Poppies should be watered regularly, but they can tolerate dry conditions. It is not necessary to fertilize poppies.

Red Corn Poppy and Shirley Poppy varieties can reach 2’ to 4’ in height at maturity with flowers up to 2” across.

It generally takes about 60 to 90 days for poppies to bloom after the seed is planted. This timing depends very much on your growing zone and when you plant, along with Mother Nature’s cooperation. The bloom season for poppies is spring to summer. Poppy plants will bloom for a few weeks, but the length of bloom time can be extended by regular watering and application of mulch for moisture retention, as well as regular dead-heading of spent flowers. It is also recommended that the seed be sown in successive plantings to extend the bloom season of the poppies.

Watch the video: POPPY FIRST FLOWERS 2013