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Poppies are a diverse genus, containing both annual and perennial species. As a general rule, those native to lowland meadows or stony ground are annual, with the perennials coming from mountainous areas, sometimes up into the alpine levels. A wide range of flower colours can be found.
There are about 70 species, coming almost entirely from the northern hemisphere, with just one native to South Africa.
Perennial varieties will grow in most soils, providing they are not very acidic, but prefer one that is humus-rich. Full sun is ideal, although some species will tolerate a degree of shade.