How to Grow Papaver Somniferum From a Seed


If you like to bake bread, bagels, muffins and other goodies that call for poppy seeds, the Papaver somniferum is the right poppy to grow. The unripe seedpods of this poppy are also the source for the illegal drug opium, but seeds of this plant are legal, as is growing the plant. Papaver somniferum produces lavender or red flowers, depending on the variety, and often reseeds itself at the end of its growing season, making it unnecessary for you to start more seeds the following year.

Step 1

Clear all weeds and other unwanted plants from a sunny area of your garden in fall (if you live in an area with fairly mild winters) or early spring elsewhere.

Step 2

Spread about 2 inches of any type of organic compost and other materials such as peat moss or wood chips on top of the soil where you plan to plant your poppy seeds. Then dig these materials into the soil to a depth of 8 to 12 inches.

Step 3

Broadcast your seeds on top of your prepared area and then cover them with a small amount of soil---1/4 inch of soil is recommended for these small seeds.

Step 4

Water the area after you plant your seeds and keep the soil surface moist until the seeds germinate.

Step 5

Thin young poppy plants when they are 2 to 3 inches tall. Leave 8 to 12 inches of space between each plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Papaver somniferum seeds
  • Compost and other organic materials
  • Shovel
  • Water


  • FAQ: Growing
  • Papaver Somniferum

Who Can Help

  • The Thyme Garden: Poppy, Opium Seeds
  • Legal Issues
Keywords: Papaver somniferum, opium poppy, bread seed growing

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, GardenGuides and eHow. She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.