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Garden Plants for Flower Arrangements: Plume Poppy (Macleaya cordata)

macleaya-cordataPlume poppy is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial native to east China and Japan where it grows in woodland margins, along lake and river edges, and within scrub. Plants have lobed and scalloped heart-shaped leaves that are eight to ten inches wide by six to eight inches long and are light to olive green on the top side and whitish gray on the underside. The creamy white flowers lack petals, and have two sepals and twenty five to thirty conspicuous stamens that give the flowers a feathery appearance. They are carried in branched panicles up to one foot long from mid- to late summer. The plants are vigorous and spread rapidly by both rhizomes and seed. They are an excellent choice for the back of the border and both the flower heads and leaves are valued in flower arrangements. The large panicles provide a delicate background in arrangements and the leaves can be used in large arrangements to advantage. After the flowers have fallen from the stems the stems back a beautiful backdrop in dried arrangements.

Cutting: Cut the flowering stems when all the flowers have opened.
Conditioning: Dip cut stems in boiling water for twenty seconds and then place in deep cold water overnight. Condition individual leaves the same way.
Preserving: Allow flowers to fall off stems and then put aside to dry.
Cultivation:

Size

      : 6-10’ H x 6’ W

Light:

      Full sun in cool climates; afternoon shade in hot climates

Soil:

      Average, medium moist, well-drained

Hardiness

      : Zones 3-8

Propagation

      : Seed, division in spring

Care:

    Control spread by deadheading and/or rhizome removal.

Recommended Reading:

Flowers: The Book of Floral Design
Tussie-Mussies: The Language of Flowers
The Complete Flower Arranging Book