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How to Feed Poppy Plants

By D.C. Winston ; Updated September 21, 2017

The poppy family, known botanically as Papaver, is a family of flowering annual and perennial plants with hundreds of species that produce tissue-like flowers in a range of bright colors over tall, slim stems. They produce seed heads after bloom and thrive in moist, rich soil and, for most species, low-frost environments. Poppies are grown for their seeds, their medicinal properties and for their flowers. They are light feeders and benefit from small amounts of fertilizer and organic soil amendments applied annually.

Fertilize your poppy plants with a complete, balanced, slow-release fertilizer in the spring after the last frost. Select a fertilizer with a guaranteed analysis of 10-10-10 or 12-12-12 and use the dose recommended on the label. Spread the granules evenly around the base of the plant and nestle them into the top inch of soil.

Top-dress the soil, over the slow-release fertilizer, with a few inches of aged manure or compost or a combination thereof. This will act to enrich the nutrient content of the soil and feed the poppy plants. It will also serve as a mulch to hold moisture in the soil and keep competitive weeds away.

Water the fertilizer, compost and/or manure top-dressing into the soil well until drenched but not so wet that there is standing water around the fleshy roots of the poppies.


Things You Will Need

  • Slow-release fertilizer, 10-10-10 or 12-12-12
  • Compost
  • Aged livestock manure
  • Water