Poppy plants create a focal point in flower garden by producing bright blooms with large petals in early and mid summer. The plants grow in size from 6 inches to 4 feet tall, depending on the variety. Poppies prefer a dry soil and cool temperatures, are easy to maintain, and resistant to deer. The plants will become dormant after the blooming period.
Growing Poppy Plants
Choose a location to grow poppy plants that is full sun to partial shade and has a soil pH of 5.5 to 7. Poppy plants will grow in most soil types; however they prefer a well drained soil that is slightly dry.
Prepare the soil by tilling 12 to 15 inches deep and mixing in 2 to 4 inches of compost.
Dig a hole that is twice the size of the pot holding the plant. Turn the pot over and tap gently on the bottom and sides to remove the plant. Set the plant in the hole making sure the root ball top is even with the ground. Fill the hole and lightly pack the soil around the plant. Water the plant thoroughly to initiate root growth.
Apply an all purpose flower fertilizer once a month during the growing season. Water the area after application to assist with fertilizer absorption.
Place mulch around the plants to prevent weed growth and assist with moisture retention. Apply compost around the plants each spring followed by 2 inches of mulch.
Water poppy plants only when there are extended periods of no rain. Poppy plants prefer dry conditions, but not drought.
Deadhead the plants by cutting and removing the flower stem after the bloom starts dying. This will promote new bloom growth. Do not remove flower heads if you want to harvest the seeds.
Harvest seeds once the flower had dried and produced a seed pod. Cut off the seed pod and lay it on a flat surface to dry. Pull out the dried seeds and store in a dry location for future planting.
Apply 4 to 6 inches of mulch over each plant for winter protection after the ground has frozen. Remove the mulch in spring when the weather begins to warm.