Mexican tulip poppy, a native of Mexico, is a tender perennial grown as an annual in most of the United States. Named for John Hunneman, an English bookseller and plant collector, it's a member of the poppy family, and will bloom all summer through autumn with its sprightly, yellow, poppylike flowers.
Description of Mexican tulip poppy: Mexican tulip poppy grows from 1 to 2 feet tall. The finely divided leaves are a handsome, blue-gray color. The long-stalked flowers are yellow, 2 to 3 inches in diameter, with bright orange stamens. There is also a double form.
Growing Mexican tulip poppy: Mexican tulip poppies must have full sun to grow and bloom well, and they tolerate drought. Any garden soil is satisfactory as long as it is well-drained. In frost-free or nearly frost-free areas of Zones 9 and 10, it will live as a perennial. In other areas, plant in the spring as soon as danger of frost has passed. Space 10 to 12 inches apart.
Propagating Mexican tulip poppy: By seed. Like so many members of the poppy family, it forms a taproot that makes it difficult to transplant. Sow seeds outdoors in place after frost danger has passed. Thin the seedlings to desired spacing. For earlier bloom, start indoors 4 to 6 weeks prior to planting outside. Germinate at 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, which will take 15 to 20 days. When seedlings have three leaves, transplant to individual peat pots that can later be planted into the garden, pot and all.
Uses for Mexican tulip poppy: Group them in beds and borders, in rock gardens, and beside paths. They grow well in containers on decks, patios, or by doorsteps. Because they tolerate drought, they're good for containers where watering is not regular, although flower size will diminish somewhat. They can be used for cutting.
Mexican tulip poppy related varieties: Glossy, yellow blossoms that set off against the gray-green foliage are the highlight of Sunlite.
Scientific Name for Mexican tulip poppy: Hunnemannia fumariaefolia