The bread seed poppy, also known as the opium poppy, is an annual flowering plant with attractive white, red or lavender flowers. It is easy to grow from seed in many climate zones. If you live in an area where the summers are very hot, this poppy will thrive better when you grow it in partial shade. In cooler summer climates, it tolerates full sun. Although it prefers to grow outdoors, where it often reseeds itself and naturalizes, some people grow it as a houseplant.
Prepare a planting area in fall by pulling all weeds from a sunny or partly sunny spot in your garden. Spread a 2-inch layer of organic compost over the soil surface and then dig it in to a depth of about 8 inches. Rake the area level.
Broadcast poppy seeds over your prepared area, then cover them with a fine layer of additional soil/compost. Water well and keep the area moist through the winter if rains are insufficient to keep the soil moist.
Thin young 2- to 3-inch tall poppy plants to stand about 1 foot apart.
Start your seeds indoors in early spring if you want to control their growing conditions more closely than plants you grow outdoors. Fill nursery pots or flats with potting soil, then water them well, until moisture flows out the pots' drainage holes. Sprinkle the fine seeds over the soil surface, and barely cover with more potting soil.
Keep your pots or flats in a sunny spot indoors to protect sprouts and young growing poppy plants from frost. Keep the soil moist. Thin seedlings to 3 or 4 inches apart when they are 2 to 3 inches tall.
Transplant your young poppy plants to their outdoor location after your final spring frost. Plant them about 1 foot apart in your prepared garden bed, then water them well by running a sprinkler over the area for about 20 minutes.