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How to Grow Poppy Plants

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How to Grow Poppy Plants

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Poppies, a member of the Papaveraceae family, are flowering plants that grow to 18 inches in height and bloom in an array of colors. The flowers are short-lived but add a pop of vibrant color to the garden when in bloom. Poppies are hardy to USDA zones 2 to 10, depending on the species. Sow the seeds outdoors in the fall or winter.

Step 1

Choose a location to plant the poppy seeds. Northern gardeners can plant the seeds in full sun. In warmer, dryer regions, give the poppy some afternoon shade.

Step 2

Add a 3-inch layer of sand to the planting area and use a shovel or gardening fork to mix it to a depth of 8 inches.

Step 3

Scatter poppy seeds on top of the soil; do not cover them. Keep the soil moist, not soggy, until the seeds germinate.

Step 4

Thin the plants to 6 inches apart when they have their third set of leaves. To do this, pull the weakest-looking seedlings from the soil and dispose of them.

Step 5

Water to a depth of 6 inches when the soil dries.

Step 6

Fertilize the poppy plant when it reaches 10 inches in height. Use an all-purpose liquid fertilizer at the rate suggested on the package.

Things You'll Need

  • Sand
  • Fertilizer
  • Scissors


  • University of Idaho Extension: Poppy
  • Wayside Gardens: Planting, Growing and Caring For Poppies
  • ‭"‬California Master Gardener Handbook";‭ ‬Dennis R.‭ ‬Pittenger‭; ‬2002
Keywords: grow poppy plants, growing poppies, plant poppy seeds

About this Author

Victoria Hunter has been a freelance writer since 2005, specializing in gardening-related topics and the real estate industry. She is a former broadcaster and real estate agent who has provided audio and written services to small businesses and large corporations worldwide. She writes for Ancestry.com, GardenGuides and ProFlowers, among others. Hunter holds a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing.