Dead Or Rotted Plants - Poor Soil Drainage
Poppies will die if their soil is waterlogged over the winter. To improve drainage, build the growing bed higher than the surrounding soil and add lots of organic matter (peat moss, leaf mold or sand).
Plants Die Back In Summer - Normal Dormancy
After oriental poppies bloom in the early summer, their foliage dies back and virtually disappears by the end of July. During the hot weeks of summer the plants are dormant. As fall approaches they begin to produce new young foliage that persists over the winter and produces the new blooms.
Leaves Curled And Distorted - Aphids
Aphids are soft-bodied, pear-shaped sucking insects, about the size of the head of a pin, and may be green, brown or pink. They sometimes cluster in large groups on poppy leaves and stems, especially new, tender ones. Plant growth slows and leaves may turn yellow or brown. Foliage wilts under bright sunlight, or sometimes curls and puckers. Oriental poppies aren't usually severely infested, but if aphid populations look heavy, spray the pests with insecticidal soap every 3 to 5 days. If that doesn't work, spray them with pyrethrum every 5 to 7 days for 2 weeks. For more information see file on Dealing with Aphids.
Leaves Discolored and Distorted - Leafhoppers
Leafhoppers are wedge-shaped, often brightly-colored insects 1/4 to 1/3 inches long. They hold their wings above their bodies like a roof. They dart sideways or hop suddenly when disturbed. Nymphs and adults suck juices from poppy leaves, buds, and stems, weakening the plants. Affected leaves are finely mottled with white or yellow spots; they eventually shrivel and drop off. Sticky honeydew from the insects' feeding may give foliage a glazed appearance and foster growth of sooty mold. If you've had problems in the past, apply a preventive spray of insecticidal soap and seaweed extract to vulnerable plants during the first month of growth. Later, spray pests with insecticidal soap laced with isopropyl alcohol to control any serious infestations. For more information see the file Controlling Leafhoppers
Plant Stunted, Leaves Yellowed; Lesions On Roots - Nematodes
Nematodes are not insects, but slender, unsegmented roundworms less than 1/20 inch long. They dwell in the soil, sucking on plant roots. Infested poppy plants will look sickly, wilted and stunted, and often have yellowed or bronzed foliage. Their root systems are poorly developed and sometimes even partially decayed. Plants eventually die. Add lots of organic matter (leaf mold or compost if you have it) to the soil to encourage beneficial fungi. Soak the soil near affected plants with fish emulsion diluted in water which may repel the nematodes. For more information see file on Dealing with Nematodes.
Deformed or Dwarfed Flowers - Tarnished Plant Bug
The 1/4 inch tarnished plant bug is mottled with markings of yellow, brown and black. Look for a black-tipped yellow triangle on each of its sides. The active insect sucks young poppy shoots and especially buds, causing deformed or dwarfed flowers. Tarnished plant bugs appear in early spring, becoming more numerous toward the end of summer. In the morning, when the bugs are least active, spray them with pyrethrum laced with isopropyl alcohol once every 3 days. If the infestation is heavy, dust plant surfaces with sabadilla. Thorough fall and spring cleanup of plant debris may prevent infestations entirely. For more information see the file on Controlling Plant Bugs
Water-soaked Spots On Leaves - Bacterial Blight
Bacterial blight can cover all above ground parts of the poppy plant with black or water-soaked areas ringed by translucent markings. Remove and destroy affected plants. A sulfur spray or other fungicide may provide some control. For more information see the file on Controlling Fungal Disease
Foliage Burned - Dog
Dog urine may discolor and kill poppy foliage. Spraying foliage with an anti-transpirant gives some protection. For persistent problems, screen the plants or spray them with an aerosol pet repellent. Dealing With Dogs