What are the Germination Requirements of Breadseed Poppy Seeds?

Gardeners and landscapers prize the Papaver somniferum poppy for its green foliage and delicate white blossoms. It's sometimes called the breadseed poppy because chefs can use it in baked goods, according to Washington State University. The plant's very fine seeds self-sow after blossom production and, given the right germination environment, will grow into new poppy plants.

Soil pH

Like most plants, poppy seeds grow best in slightly acidic soil, according to Poppies International. Slightly acidic soil has a pH ranging between 6.5 to 7.0, according to the Toronto Botanical Garden. Many garden stores sell soil testing kits that can pinpoint the soil's current pH levels. A pH that's too low can be raised with agricultural lime, while soil that's alkaline can be lowered with urea phosphate. The amount needed to adjust the pH appropriately varies depending on the soil amendment and the degree to which the pH needs to be adjusted. Your local cooperative extension office can offer further directives.

Soil Temperature

Breadseed poppy seeds germinate best in soil that's 59 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Purdue University. This makes them less cold sensitive than many other varieties of poppies, which prefer warmer dirt.

Soil Texture

The seeds experience optimal germination and growth in well-drained, deeply tilled soil that's kept consistently moist. Though the poppy can tolerate sand and clay soils, a medium-heavy loam is best, according to Purdue University. Gardeners can amend soil as needed with fine, organic matter such as aged compost until the soil is crumbly in texture.


Poppy seeds must be spaced sufficiently to allow for adequate growth once they germinate. Purdue University recommends that the seeds are sown 4 inches apart. If rows of poppies are being grown, gardeners should space each row apart by a foot.

Keywords: breadseed poppy seeds, poppy seed germination, growing poppy plants

About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.