It took a very long time to find a reliable high-quality source of these seeds, they came all the way from Turkey, we then had to wait over 3 months until the first flowers bloomed to confirm they were the correct variety, it was worth the wait though, as you can see from the photos they are quite spectacular! The tallest plant we had grew to nearly 6 feet high and the bottom of the stem looked a bit like a tree trunk! The leaves also become enormous. The flowers are very large and have rich pink petals with purple centres. This is why we decided to nickname them BFGs – Big Friendly Giants!
The flowers varied quite a bit, most have just 4 large petals in subtle shades of pink and purple, although some of them had extra petals and almost looked like pom-poms! In the centre are large seed pods and spectacular stamens; even before the petals fall off, the pods start growing really big and end up massive, if you cut the pods off just after they flower, you may get more flowers about 3-4 weeks later. If you leave the pods to develop and dry out on the plant you will end up with more seeds than you know what to do with!
Once collected the seeds can then be refrigerated for 3-21 days and should be ready to sow again!
These poppies are widely known to be some of the biggest, we planted some regular ‘giants’ at the same time in the same soil and these were considerably bigger. That said, if you want them to grow really big, you have to treat them as you would, say, a prize marrow or pumpkin! In order to maximise their potential they should be sown early (October-February) in good quality, well drained soil, and fed regularly, they like a lot of nitrogen throughout the growing stages, we fed these pretty much every week, and also used Epsom Salts to enable them to maximise their use of the nutrients. They also like a lot of sun. It’s best to position them somewhere that will get the longest amount of full sun throughout the day, preferably facing south. They also need plenty of space if you want them to grow very big, at least 2 feet (600mm) between plants. The soil we had the most success with was a mixture of local clay-heavy soil mixed with coir, organic compost, perlite and a little sharp sand.