Height 60cm (2ft)
Planting distance 30cm (1ft)
Flowers early to late summer
The prickly poppy (Argemone mexicana) from Central America has majestic orange and yellowfrom early to late summer. With their sweet scent, they are attractive to bees and other insects. The flowers are carried 60cm (2ft) above ground on sprawling prickly stems accompanied by grey-blue, thistle-like leaves. The flowers can reach up to 10cm (4in) across.
Grow them in informal planting schemes in borders, preferably where they can be left alone to scatter their seeds.
Prickly poppies grow best in light well-drained soil in a sunny border. Sow directly in the flowering site in, and thin out to 30cm (1ft) apart when seedlings are large enough to handle.
Staking is not a good idea as it may damage the succulent stems. Dead-head to encourage a longer flowering season.
For flowers in early summer, sow seeds in trays under glass in early spring. Keep them at 18°C (64°F). Prick out seedlings into small pots, harden off and plant out in late spring.
Pests and diseases