Icelandic and Italian Poppy Care Page

What to Expect Upon Arrival:

Poppies (both Icelandic and Italian) arrive mostly closed in tight pods to protect their petals during transport. We always include a few extra flowers in each order in case some blooms get damaged in transport. Allow 12 hours for your flowers to hydrate before arranging. They will begin to open quickly once in your vase. See tips below for accelerating their opening!

Important Steps for Making Your Cut Poppies Last:

  • Sterilize your vase before every use as bacteria and fungus in your vase are the main reasons for early decline of flowers.
  • Give your flower stems a fresh cut at an angle before placing in WARM (ALMOST HOT) WATER. Warm water is only needed during these first few hours of hydration.
  • Change vase water every few days and top off the vase water daily. These flowers drink a lot of water!
  • Icelandic and Italian poppy varieties do not need to have their stems seared. After years of testing, we have found that a simple trim of the ends before placing in your vase (with warm water) is best for making your poppies last. You can read more below!

Tips to Accelerate Opening Pods:

  • To accelerate opening your poppy pods, put them in a WARM LOCATION (sun room/sunny window/warm porch). Once open, return them to a cooler location for the longest vase life.
  • Sometimes poppies need a little help coming out of their cute pods even after the first step. If some do not open after a day or 2, do these steps! Start at the base of the pod, where the pod meets the stem, and gently peel off the pod shell to expose the petals. Your poppies will now begin to open up. You can see how we do it here!

To burn or not to burn:

Most internet recommendations you'll find on how to care for poppies advise you to burn, sear or boil the stems and we don't necessarily agree.  Here's our take on it based on multiple experiments we've conducted:

Heat does open the pods faster and the flowers faster.  This goes for both hot water and hot ambient temps.  The trade off is that the flowers don't last as long in a vase.  This technique will then be useful if you are trying to open poppies quickly for an event, or if some of your pods are extra stubborn.

Cold water and cool ambient temps result in a slower opening process, but open flowers will last longer in a vase if not burned/boiled and last even longer in a cooler location.

You can use this principle to your advantage if you want to preserve your open poppies for an extra few days for a later event, by putting them in the fridge.  Poppies are not ethylene sensitive, so will not be detrimentally affected by the presence of fruit or vegetables in the fridge.  Just make sure they don't get frost bitten by being too close to the cold air vent.

So there is some merit to burning/boiling the base of your poppy stems, but only in certain situations and it does result in shorter vase life, so use this information to guide you appropriately for your specific flower needs.