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How to Grow Oriental Poppies From Seed

a poppy image by Tomasz Zawada from

The Oriental poppy is a beautiful plant for perennial flower gardens. Poppies give a soft appearance to landscaping, with delicate petals and multiple-colored varieties which bloom two times each year. While it can be tricky to meet the needs of a poppy seed to get it to germinate, growing Oriental poppies from seed can yield wonderful results when well cared for.

Choose a cold area of your home, such as a garage or shed, to grow the seeds in, or use a cold frame outside if you have one available. Poppy seeds prefer a cool 55 degree F temperature for optimal germination.

Add seed starting mix to your seed pots to fill them up to within a ½-inch from the top rim of the pot. It’s best to plant in late winter, because of the temperature needs of the seeds, but if you have a room or greenhouse where you can maintain the temperature you can plant at any time.

Pick up a pinch of seeds and lightly scatter or sprinkle them around the center of your pot. Mist the seeds with a spray bottle to dampen them lightly. Place a piece of folded newspaper over your pot, but don’t press down.

Peek at the seeds to check for sprouting every three to four days for a period of two to three weeks. Make sure the soil and seeds are still moist and recover the newspaper after each checking. After the seeds have sprouted, remove the newspaper and set the seed pots in a window with full sun.

Water the seed pots as regularly as needed to keep the soil damp. When the seedlings reach 4 inches tall they can be transplanted outdoors to a full sun area of your yard with good drainage.


Your poppies should bloom in the spring and again in late summer. During the period of time between blooms your poppies may die back, but this process is normal so resist the urge to dig them up, thinking they are dead.


Oriental poppies don’t respond well to root disruption. Therefore, do not thin the growing seedlings at any time and try your best to keep the root ball intact when you transplant the poppies outdoors.

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