What to Plant With Poppies: 12 Companions for a Stunning Garden Display

This carefully chosen border of bright Oriental Poppies (Papaver orientale), deep purple spikes of Sage, and architectural Ornamental Onions (Alliums) will make your late spring to midsummer garden look better. Bearded Irises (Iris germanica) add a touch of elegance to the group, making a border that is both visually and texturally interesting.

Asian poppies are known for their big, showy, brightly colored flowers that stand out in the garden like fiery exclamation points. They’re also perennial, drought-tolerant, and generally deer-resistant, making them both beautiful and practical.

Adding vertical interest to the mix are the flower spikes of Sage, likely of the Salvia variety. With their deep purple to violet-blue blossoms, these spikes offer a cool contrast to the poppies. Sage plants are also hardy and drought-tolerant, making them excellent for low-maintenance gardens.

Ornamental Onions, or Alliums, bring an unexpected architectural element to the composition. Their flower heads are shaped like globes, which give them height and a unique geometric pattern that will stand out. They’re also excellent for cutting and drying, providing multi-seasonal interest.

Accenting the border are Bearded Irises, known for their elaborate, ruffled petals and strong, upright stems. These irises add a different texture and level of sophistication to the arrangement with their unique shape and delicate look. Like the other plants in this border, they are usually easy to take care of, can handle drought, and don’t attract deer or rabbits.

This planting combination is not just visually striking but also pragmatic. Most of the plants shown have won horticultural awards, can handle drought, and deer and rabbits don’t bother them, so they’re great for both new and experienced gardeners. Enjoy this long-lasting, easy-care border in your own garden!.

With their delicate, papery petals in colors from bold red to pastel pink, poppies bring romantic, cottage garden style to any landscape. But what should you plant with these ephemeral beauties to keep the garden going after their blooms fade? Certain flowers, perennials, bulbs, and shrubs can make perfect companion plants for poppies, prolonging your garden’s season of color.

##Ideal Poppy Companion Plants

Here are some of the best options for what to plant with poppies:

Spring Blooming Bulbs

Early spring bulbs like daffodils hyacinths and tulips share the poppies’ love of full sun. Underplant poppy seedlings with bulbs so they can take over once the bulbs finish flowering. The fading bulb foliage will help camouflage the dying back of spent poppies.

Late Spring to Summer Perennials

  • Bearded Iris Choose reblooming varieties to overlap with poppies. The sword-like iris foliage helps hide poppy dieback.

  • Yarrow Wispy, long-blooming yarrow fills space once poppies fade. Look for colorful varieties like ‘Paprika’.

  • Catmint: With its blue flower spikes, catmint picks up when poppies wane. The billowy shape contrasts nicely with poppies.

  • Garden Phlox: Tall phlox blooms after poppies, hiding their declining foliage. It attracts pollinators poppies leave behind.

Summer to Fall Bloomers

  • Aster: Heat and drought tolerant asters bloom just as poppies decline. Purple varieties bridge the gap beautifully.

  • Goldenrod: A native plant, goldenrod overlaps with late poppies, pairing golden yellow with poppy reds or oranges.

  • Jupiter’s Beard: Red valerian blooms through summer into fall, covering up fading poppies with bright color.


Ornamental grasses make excellent companions for poppies. They tolerate the same growing conditions while hiding faded foliage.

  • Feather Reed Grass
  • Blue Fescue Grass
  • Switch Grass
  • Maiden Grass

Shrubs & Vines

Plant medium to tall shrubs and vines behind or among poppy drifts. Their height provides support and their spreading forms conceal declining poppy plants.

  • Spirea
  • Hydrangea
  • Rose of Sharon
  • Lilac
  • Honeysuckle Vine

Planting Poppies with Companion Flowers

When planting poppies with companion flowers, consider the following tips:

  • Place permanent plants first – Bulbs, grasses, shrubs, and perennials should be planted before sowing annual poppy seeds. This prevents disturbance later.

  • Mass poppies together – For best impact, plant poppy seeds in sizeable drifts or clusters rather than spacing singly.

  • Poppies as fillers – Use poppies among established plants to provide a flush of color before companions bloom. The poppies act as living mulch.

  • Deadhead poppies – Once finished blooming, promptly deadhead spent poppy flowers. This improves companion plant visibility.

  • Allow self-seeding – For continuous color, let some poppy seed heads fully develop to self sow the next generation!

Example Poppy Companion Plant Combinations

Here are two container and garden bed planting schemes using ideal poppy companion plants:

Cottage Garden Poppies & Companions

  • Poppies
  • English Lavender
  • Siberian Iris
  • Coral Bells
  • Feather Reed Grass

Patio Pot with Poppies

  • Poppies
  • Dwarf Daffodils
  • Trailing Lobelia
  • Creeping Jenny

When planning what to plant with poppies, choose companions that offset the poppies’ fleeting flowers with prolonged color, mask their dying foliage, and share their cultural needs. With thoughtful plant pairings, poppies can be part of stunning displays that last well beyond their ephemeral yet exquisite blooming period.

Alternative Plants to Consider

what to plant with poppies

what to plant with poppies

Plants In This Garden

Oriental Poppy ‘Raspberry Queen’ (Papaver orientale) has huge, cup-shaped, crepe-papery, bright pink flowers with dark purple eyes and black spots at their base that are really stunning. From late spring to early summer, plant it in small groups. Its bright flowers will add color to your borders and catch people’s eye.

Hardiness 3 – 8
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Late) Summer (Early)
Height 2 – 3 (60cm – 90cm)
Spread 1 – 2 (30cm – 60cm)

Multiple award-winner Allium ‘Globemaster’ is a beautiful ornamental onion with huge inflorescences full of dozens of small star-shaped violet flowers forming a 10-inch (25 cm) globe-shaped cluster! This spectacular bulbous perennial blooms from late spring to early summer and has long-lasting blooms. Its seed heads are ornamental and stay around for weeks after the flower has died.

Hardiness 5 – 9
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Late) Summer (Early)
Height 2 – 3 (60cm – 90cm)
Spread 1 – 2 (30cm – 60cm)

Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna,’ a plant that has won many awards, is a favorite among gardeners because of its beautiful, glowing dark purple stems and tall spikes of rich, violet-blue flowers that bloom in late spring or early summer.

Hardiness 4 – 9
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Late) Summer (Early, Mid)
Height 1 – 2 (30cm – 60cm)
Spread 1 – 2 (30cm – 60cm)

Iris ‘Venita Faye,’ which has won many awards, is very pretty with its soft pink standards, lilac falls that are a little lighter in the middle, and light coral beards that are lightly white-tipped. This beautiful Bearded Iris always gets lots of attention, whether it’s in the garden or at home, where the flowers will last a long time in a vase (at least a week). It produces 3 stems with up to 9 buds for a long-lasting display.

Hardiness 3 – 9
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Late) Summer (Early)
Height 3 – 4 (90cm – 120cm)
Spread 1 – 2 (30cm – 60cm)

Plant poppies the easy way + my first harvest of 2021


What grows best with poppies?

Companion Plants: Plant behind large perennials, like Baby’s Breath (Gypsophila), Siberian Iris or herbaceous Peonies, as mentioned above, to camouflage the hole left behind when Poppies go dormant in summer. Other good companion perennials include Phlox, and Hollyhock.

What not to plant next to poppies?

Poppies do a great job of attracting beneficial pollinators to both ornamental and edible gardens. Just avoid planting Poppies of any kind near Brassica plants in the kitchen garden, including broccoli, cauliflower, leafy mustards, kale, brussels sprouts, collards, and cabbages.

Where should I plant poppies in my garden?

When it’s time to plant your poppies, Rose says to choose a sunny spot in your garden with visible soil. “The seeds need to be in contact with sunlight to germinate, so if you have a lot of mulch, pull it back to plant,” she says. Unlike some other types of plants, you won’t be sowing poppy seeds one by one.

Do poppies come back every year?

Growing your own poppies from seed is an easy way to add striking swathes of colour to your garden, and a great filler for any unused space. Even better news? Once planted, they’ll come back year after year, forming graceful drifts over time.

How do you grow poppy flowers?

Growing poppy flowers can be as simple as planting seeds or dividing roots of existing plants. Plant poppies from seed into poor to average soil in a sunny location for a good start to growing poppy flowers in your garden. Poppies grow from a taproot.

What are poppy flowers used for?

Growing poppy flowers have been used for medicinal and culinary purposes over the centuries. The seeds of the poppy are currently used in flavoring for breads and cakes and for the production of poppy seed oil. Growing poppy flowers can be as simple as planting seeds or dividing roots of existing plants.

When should you plant a poppy seed?

Perennial poppy roots are often only available in autumn and should be planted in fall several weeks before the ground freezes. Perennial poppies are often purchased as started plants, but annual poppies are easily grown from seeds. Poppy seeds should be cold-stratified for several weeks.

Should you plant a poppy in spring or fall?

If you plant in spring, you are not likely to see flowers the first year, as poppy seeds need to undergo the naturally cool weather of winter for germination. For this reason, planting during fall will mean that the seeds naturally stratify outside, germinate in the spring, and plants flower in the late spring.

Leave a Comment