How To Grow Poppies

Overview

Poppies can be found in most areas of the world, and the bright blooms are often seen growing in the wild. Poppies, a cheerful element in any flowerbed or landscape, are simple to grow, and their diversity makes them especially fun. Poppies are available in both annual and perennial varieties, in double and single blooms, and not only the familiar orange, but shades ranging from white to pastel pink to red and even blue.

Step 1

Purchase a packet of poppy seeds and some small plastic pots at a garden center or nursery. Plan to start the poppy seeds indoors about two months before the last expected frost in your area.

Step 2

Fill the plastic pots with all-purpose commercial potting soil and sprinkle a few seeds on top of the soil. Be careful, because poppy seeds are very tiny and four or five seeds per pot will be plenty. Mist the soil lightly with a spray bottle several times a day until the seeds germinate.

Step 3

Put the pots in a fairly dark, cool place, between 50 and 65 degrees F. The poppy seeds will germinate faster if you create mini greenhouses. Put the pots in clear plastic bags and use a twist tie to close the opening very loosely. This will keep the seeds warm and help to retain moisture.

Step 4

Move the seedlings to a sunny window once they pop through the soil. Leave them inside until the ground has warmed and the last frost has passed. When you're ready to move them outside, choose a sunny, well-drained spot. Remove any weeds with a hoe, and work some compost into the top of the soil.

Step 5

Plant the seedlings and water them well. Once they're established, they'll do better in dry conditions and should only be watered occasionally. Feed them with an all-purpose fertilizer about once a month.

Step 6

Pinch off the flowers after they've finished blossoming. If you want to save the seeds, remove the blossoms and spread the seed pods on a newspaper to allow them to dry completely, and then put them in a container and save them for the next spring.

Things You'll Need

  • Poppy seeds
  • Plastic pots
  • Potting soil
  • Clear plastic bag
  • Twist tie
  • Hoe
  • Compost

References

  • Tips for Growing Poppies from Seed for Spring
  • How To Grow Poppies
  • How to Grow Poppies
Keywords: poppy seeds, perennial, compost

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a longtime writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the "East-Oregonian Newspaper" and "See Jane Run" magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.