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Growing Poppies in Texas Zone 8

Poppy image by Ira from

We hear everything is bigger in Texas, and if you have occasion to drive from one side of the state to the other, you realize that old adage is definitely true. Because of its size, Texas consists of diverse geographical and climactic zones. If gardening in one of the warmer sectors such as U.S. Department of Agriculture Hardiness Zone 8, the home gardener may choose to plant flowers that can take the heat. Poppies, especially the California poppy do well in zone 8.

USDA Plant Hardiness zone 8 is further divided as zones 8a and 8b and cuts a diagonal swath across the center of the Lone Star State, and includes Dallas, San Antonio and Houston.

Take a sample of your garden or planting bed soil to your local county agricultural extension for testing. Explain to them whether you will plant only poppies or whether other plants will be companions in the plant bed or garden. This will assist them in giving you information about your soil's needed amendments.

Procure and add any recommended amendments to the garden soil per the agricultural extension analysis. Thoroughly blend into the soil and rake the top clean and smooth in preparation to receive the poppy seeds.

Mix the poppy seeds with sand as the seed is tiny and easily dropped and lost, or hard to control the amount as you are sowing seed. Sow the seed and sand mixture by scattering it evenly over the planting area if you want a naturalized, random bed of poppies. If you prefer to keep them in an orderly line, lay your rake handle in the garden dirt and press lightly for a long, straight indention, then sprinkle the seed mixture along the middle of that row.

Lightly cover the seeds with a dusting of 1/8 to 1/4 inch of garden soil as per the instructions on the seed packet for the variety you have chosen to plant. Water in the seeds keeping the soil moist without making puddles as this will displace the seeds.

The Texas A&M University Extension Service advises that planting should occur in autumn as the seeds prefer a chill-off period. Germination should occur in approximately 7 days. The A&M Extension horticulturists say to deadhead spent flowers throughout the growing season to insure continued healthy plants.


You may transplant mature poppy plants to fill in other locations. A&M horticulturists advise to dig a shovel scoop full of the dirt around roots as not to destroy any part of the poppies' delicate root structure. The new plants may be planted approximately a foot apart.

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