MySecretGarden

U.S.A., Washington State. USDA zone 8a. Sunset climate zone 5

Monday, June 14, 2010

Is My Poppy A Chameleon?

Can oriental poppies change their color?
I was eagerly expecting my Papaver orientale 'Manhatten' to bloom. The label describes it as a plant with exquisively colored dark-rose flowers. It was quite a surprise for me to see that my plant changed its color in comparison with last year.
This is how it looked in June 2009:
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Other pictures of this plant in June 2009 are here: Blooms. May-June
This is how it looks this year:
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The color is darker, more rich and doesn't have much purple tint.
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Why did my oriental poppy change its color? The soil is the same. What is different is the temperature and moisture level. Last year, the winter was cooler and the spring was warmer. This year, we had a warm winter and cool spring. In addition, May and the first half of June were rainy with only several sunny dry days.

The other difference is the plant's size. It got bushier than I would expect, but also much shorter which I didn't expect. The difference in height may be seen in the following two pictures.
Look how tall the plant was in 2009:
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This year, you can barely see it siitting low there:
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All in all, I am not disappointed in my poppy's new color. It's still beautiful. I am wondering how it will look next year. Will it change its appearance again like a chameleon?
Have you had a similar experience with your oriental poppies?

Copyright 2010 TatyanaS
poppies art

28 comments:

  1. They are wonderful. I love poppies and yours are beautiful..this year and last. I am wondering if the amount of rainfall and acidity might affect them a little. Seem like more sun..better light might make them bushier and shorter. My poppies change slightly from year to year.

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  2. The poppy is very beautiful! I have no idea why it changed. But I think that too is beautiful!

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  3. It's still very pretty. I had moved my Oriental Poppy last summer so I wasn't sure if the height difference was because of that, but I'm blaming everything on the weather this year :)

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  4. I'll take poppies any color!! I believe both are very nice colors..

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  5. Dear Tatyana, How intriguing it is to keep a log so that one can compare things year on year.

    I do know that poppies are very promiscuous and can, therefore, cross and, as a result, change from year to year. Perhaps this is the answer to your puzzle? Whatever, your new poppy is just as pretty and there is now the added excitement of wondering what next year will bring!!

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  6. Manhattan was one of my favorites in my gardens last year, but there is no sign of a bloom this year, and since it is with a number of other poppies, I'm not even certain that it is alive. I will try again! Yours are absolutely wonderful! Larry

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  7. Okay, so I don't have an answer, but I'd take either color and be totally excited. They're both gorgeous.

    Annelie

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  8. I don't grow Oriental poppies, but the color change is quite interesting. If they reproduce from seed each year, perhaps it has crossed with others nearby?

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  9. I don't have an answer either, but I love the fact that each year you can look forward to a surprise. How cool is that?

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  10. Hi Tatyana, I have seen colour changes in flowers, so not in papaver as I can not grow them.Yours is beautiful in its enigma. I have seen change of colours in the second year of growth in perennials. Perhaps it has to do with the hybridizing.
    For Wasabi seed you best check the Internet for suppliers and buy the seed from there if you do not find a seller near you. It is a hot and delicate taste.
    I thoroughly enjoyed your previous posts. Enjoy happy summer days. T.

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  11. Maybe that puppy has been watering them LOL! Just kidding.
    It probably is the wet and cool season. They sure are beautiful no matter what color they were suppose to be.Gorgeous!

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  12. Your experience gives me hope for my poppies. They are a most garish shade of salmon. Perhaps they'll soften to a nice peach and I can live with them. I guess I won't hold my breath for it, but I'll know soon enough. They should bloom any day now. Cross your fingers!

    Christine in Alaska

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  13. I don't grow that variety, if it is open-pollinated, then perhaps that is the explanation. My gaillardias change all the time.

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  14. Tatyana, I don't grow poppies, but I have a number of plants with interesting color characteristics. One of my delphinium varieties grows different color flowers on different stems of the same plant. (I asked a botanist friend if she could explain this to me, but she said I would need to consult a plant breeder.) I also have a number of plants that are temperature sensitive, looking more blue in cool temps and more pink in warm temps. The most dramatic is a Phlox paniculata called 'Blue Paradise,' that has electric blue flowers on cool, crisp mornings, but whose flowers turn hot pink in the afternoon sun. -Jean

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  15. A beautiful poppy whatever the colour - ive had the same with a peony Sarah Bernhardt, it was a beautiful pink for a few years, now it is very creamy, and green in bud. Ive had the reverse in tallness with one of my poppies, Pattys Plum, it was short last year, normal size and this year is almost 4ft tall! best wishes from England Betty x

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  16. Surprises are delightful, Tatyana, and she is a beauty! Mine seem always the same, which is OK with me too. I simply love oriental poppies, so excited when they bloom, and never met one I didn't admire.

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  17. My mom grew the orange ones for years and they never changed. These newer hybrid ones might not be as stable, or it could be the weather. I had something similar happen to an annual peony-flowered poppy last year. It started blooming a plumish color, then became the dark purple/black it was supposed to be. Anyway, yours is a lovely thing, much better than the standard garish orange.

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  18. What ever color they turn out, they are gorgeous.

    Jen

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  19. It's a beautiful poppy Tatyana. I like both but it is very interesting how the weather plays a part in its color. Have a good day. Becca

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  20. Both colors are pretty, even though you prefer the purple. I have a few chameleons this year too. My white nigella has both white and blue flowers this year, and my apricot impatiens are now bright pink. Hmmmm.

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  21. Tatyana, Do you suppose your poppy this year is a seedling instead of the same plant? I am sure you have thought of this. Often seedlings do not come true to the original color of the mother plant. Whatever ... it is a looker! Beautiful photos too! ;>)

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  22. Hi Tatyana, Both colors are lovely! Surprises can be fun:-)
    Bella

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  23. I have never grown a poppy in my life. But I wouldn't mind growing a flower that changes colour. Makes life more interesting :)

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  24. Your poppies are very beautiful!! I'm so jealous.. I wish they grew well down here in Louisiana!!

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  25. I love all your poppies, no matter what their color is. They are all stunning.

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  26. i had the same prob with 3 oriental poppies 1 each of red pink and white I planted them out this yr and to my shock they all flowered red although the 1st flower on the one was pink but all others came out red beautiful though

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  27. Carrie January 2016
    Finally someone who's shared my amazement that my pink and salmon poppies revert to red and orange over time. Or at least that's how it appears. I always start with 'Manhattan' or 'Queen Alexandra' or some such colors. The following year they bloom red or orange! Never fails. What is this reversion about? The plant labels are there beside them!

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  28. I have had the same question about my poppy. they are usually purple center and pink on the outside, one stem small and one bud. well last year I planted the same harvested seeds as I do every year I harvest them, and it turned into this monstrous plant. Like a bush! and the buds were massive and looked like peonies and they were fuscia, not the pale pink with purple center.... I was so so confused! This year the plant has come back in the same spot??.... not seeded which is odd, though there are others coming up not far away and it bloomed this morning and it is PEACH! I am so confused. I have been planting the same seeds for 5 years now, though last year I moved and I purchased a compost from the local dump that is like a soil, compost, mulch mix its amazing and all of my plants love it! I thought this may be the cause for a giant bush I mean it was 2 feet tall!

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