There are both annual and perennial varieties of poppies. Most poppies produce red or orange flowers, but other colors are available. Start seeds directly in the garden as poppies do not transplant well. They have a single long taproot that is easily damaged during transplanting, causing the death of the plant.
In the spring, after all danger of frost has passed, prepare a a well-drained garden bed in full sun or partial shade. Lay a 3-inch layer of compost over the bed and till it in to a 6-inch depth to improve drainage.
Sow seeds 8 inches apart in rows or clusters. Sow seeds on the soil surface and cover with ¼ inch of soil.
Water the bed until it is evenly moist throughout. Wait for germination to occur, approximately five to seven days after the seeds are sown.
Keep the soil moist with frequent light watering the first week after seedlings emerge. Gradually reduce watering until you are only watering deeply once a week, providing approximately 1 to 2 inches of water at one time.
Apply a 1-inch layer of organic mulch around the plants once they are 6 inches tall. Mulching preserves soil moisture and keeps the roots of the plants cool.