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8.2.09

Sowing Poppy Seeds

A few years ago I was gifted a handful of poppy seeds by a gardener on a gardening forum I participated on. The seeds came with the instructions to just "scatter them in your garden in February" and the promise that soon I'd have more poppy seeds than I knew what to do with. Not knowing any better, I followed the instructions to scatter the seeds in February. I got more seeds later in the month and scattered those too.

Then around the middle of March I started to wonder if scattering the poppy seeds when it was still winter and snowing in Chicago was the best idea. This is how I sow poppy seeds in my garden. 

lavender peony poppy, chicago gardening
(Lavender Peony Poppy)

How to Grow and Sow Poppies From Seeds



In April I spotted tiny green specs in the garden and wondered what they were. Once spring really got going I had hundreds of poppy plants growing and the mysterious green specs had been identified as poppies.


red double poppy, sowing poppy seeds
(Red double poppy)
That spring I learned to thin out the weaker seedlings because these plants like sun and the smaller ones never catch up to the larger plants. They flower at a small size creating small pods that are difficult to collect seeds from.


sowing poppy seeds, how to plant poppy seeds
I've been reading on a couple of gardening blogs that people have trouble growing poppies from seeds. Of course my knowledge of sowing poppy seeds is purely accidental but I'll share here what I do. Ever since the first year I've been sowing them in February in Chicago and I've noticed a few things. If I scatter them over frozen snow they end up in a few feet from where I intended to sow them-the tiny seeds bounce off of the snow and/or are pushed around by winds and snow drifts in the garden. Wet, melting or recent snow is the best because the seeds get trapped in place and reach the ground as the snow melts.

Sunlight improves germination-covering them with soil, mulch or shade from other plants will keep them from germinating. Since I sow them over snow they're one of the first seeds in the garden to get exposed to the sun in the spring. Poppy seedlings survive the late frosts without needing to be covered by cloches or garden cloth. Seeds can lay dormant for a few years if covered by soil. If you wait to sow your poppy seeds until the weather warms ups they're likely to get eaten by birds looking for a meal.

Today I only sowed a few poppy seeds in my garden. Last year these plants started to attracted attention that I didn't want so I'm reducing the amount of plants I grow. In previous years I made sure to grow a vine or a lot of sunflowers along the front gate to obstruct the view of what became known in my neighborhood as "the poppy field." In reality my garden is the size of a postage stamp but it became much larger in local lore. Keep that in mind if you're planning on growing poppies of any kind-nosy neighbors, stupid kids and shady characters may have to be dealt with. Now to figure out what to do with all these seeds...

Related links:
How to Transplant Poppy Seedlings in the Garden. Post about when/how to transplant them.
When I collect Poppy Seeds-previous blog entry
Natural Methods of Pest Control-Previous blog entry w/video- aphids on poppy plants.
Bees visiting my garden-YouTube vid of bees visiting poppy flowers.
How to Save Seeds-My post with tips on collecting seeds from your garden for next year. 

96 comments:

  1. I haven't had much success with poppy seeds and you know we have plenty of sunshine! That mauvy one you've photographed is fantastic. Maybe I'll have to try again :-)

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  2. Your method for starting poppies is great. They are probably my favorite flower. It looks like you have some great specimens there.

    That said, wildcasting is the only legal way to grow poppies. If you are caught manipulating them in any way, it can be argued that you are manufacturing illegals. It's a silly argument for a flower, but it happens.

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  3. Anonymous5:08 PM

    This part of your entry made me laugh pretty hard:
    "Last year these plants started to attracted attention that I didn't want..."
    I'm a little curious what's the story behind those words. Maybe your neighbors thought you were growing Opium Poppies?

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    1. Anonymous6:08 PM

      They were opium poppies. Almost all ornamental poppies are opium poppies.

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  4. Great post. I really missed these when you were on the lam last year. And thanks for publishing a full feed!

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  5. I'm crazy about poppies and grow them in vast numbers--they grow very well here because of our cool springs and falls, but I know others have had problems getting them started because of hot temperatures.

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  6. Thanks for a great post, Mr. Brown Thumb. I think I was part of one of the discussions you referenced, about having trouble with poppy seeds. (I've grown them in past gardens, but can't seem to get them established here.) I was just starting to suspect something you've touched on here--that maybe poppy seeds need a stratification period (exposure to cold and moisture) before they will germinate. I think I've been planting them too late, and I'm going to try your method, which means I'd better get plantin'! Thanks for the ideas.

    Oh, and I think it's just the "Opium", or breadseed, poppy (Papaver somniferum) that we need to worry about getting arrested for, right?

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  7. I never realized that poppies were hard to grow. I do the same thing you do, I just sprinkle them on dirt during the winter.

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  8. Well, I've learned something today. I've had no luck with poppies in the past, either, though some here in Central Texas do grow them. But the need for moisture and cool weather pretty much leaves my garden out of the loop...on to something else that likes drought and sweltering heat! Thanks for taking something off my list!

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    1. Anonymous2:07 AM

      Actually, i used to live in El Paso, TX stick them in your fridge for a day or two (the bottom part).... then make sure you plant them where you want them to come up. and when you plant them keep them close to the top... as close as you can... and be very careful when you water them... best way is just to lay the hose next to them and leave it one for while on low.

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    2. I'm a medical marijuana patient with extream pain constant. I'm growing my marijuana under high pressure sodium, with a shit load of side lighting. Can I germinate with all that light and use a very light and fluffy soil. Also while keeping constantly moist with cold water, or could I throw icecubes on my soil every few hours, so the soil stays constantly moist? I also read acidic soil helps as well, I don't know for germination or what. Please help!!!!!!!

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  9. Inquiring minds want to know, think I can scatter some in one of my outdoor pots ? Those blooms have me longing for Spring :)

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  10. Nikki-You should they're pretty awesome. The bees love them. I've set up a photo blog at http://photoblog.mrbrownthumb.com and posted a few pics. I'll add more of the poppies later.

    Red-Yeah, I know some plants just make people act ridiculous.

    Anyonymous-Yeah, that's it. Some people thought I was growing them for drugs and a couple of um, urban entrepreneurs offered to buy the green pods from me.

    Katie-Thanks for the comment. I went back to a full feed after I could put ads in it. ;0)

    Jodi-I've seen yours and I covet the dark blooms you get.

    Donna-I think yours was one of the comments I saw on a blog. I think you're right about the Papaver somniferum-but I don't think an overzealous neighbor or police officer will see a distinction. A year ago my sister let the police in because they said someone told them I had a "marijuana farm" in my house. After searching the house they left after only discovering cacti & succulents under my grow lights.

    Fern-Thanks for letting me know I'm not all alone and you get the same results.

    Diana-Thanks for stopping by and glad I could be of help ;0)

    OhioMom-I don't see why you can't. The only thing I'm thinking may be a problem would be having a pot deep enough for the tap root. I've only seen the taproot when I'm pulling up the dried plants but it is a few inches long. So a deep enough pot would be needed. If you need some seeds hit me up.

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    1. Mr brown thumb: i have been looking for tazmanian poppy seeds and the only ones i have had luck finding is on amazon but i never feel like i can trust any of those sellers. I want pure organic unwashed un sprayed no pestiside seeds that are reasonably priced and in a larger quantity. I like cooking with them and i also want to try and plant my own. I purcahsed some in 8oz packs from a health food store and out them in moist soil but theyre not germinating. Would you happen to have any tazmanian seeds i can purchase in 8-16oz bags? Or would you know where i can find them from a trustworthy source? My local nurseries do not papaver somniferum and i dont know where else to look. I have tried all local stores with no luck. I dont see the big deal about papver somniferum seeds. They were my grandmas favorite flowers and she grew them every year before she passed away. I found some of her recipes and i kept them for cooking but i really just want to be able to grow my own tazzies. Please let me know if you can help. Also i posted at the bottom of the forum askimg anyone for help with germinating my current health store seeds. Should i wet a paper towelland wrap them in it and place it in the fridge in a plastic bag for a day or two and then put them in soil? I am so confused and just dont know what to do. I am not having luck woth these seeds at all. Thank you

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    2. Brooke Lynn, I don't have a source or seeds for Tasmanian poppies, but if you are looking for poppies to cook with do a search for "bread seed poppies" as those are the ones that are commonly used in cooking. I know a lot of garden seed companies carry bread seed poppies.

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    3. Mr. Brown Thumb.. As you have secured seeds from another source, my hopes are that you may be willing to share as well?

      I am. Just starting a garden myself. Since it is fall now I thought I might start with a pot then transfer later or get the seeds from my flowers and go from there unless you recommend otherwise.

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    4. There's an Australian company that sells papver somniferum seeds from a variety of regions and for a good price too (there's Indian white, Afghan, Californian, "blue poppy" food grade seeds etc).
      Since it is a legal grey area I would google their name, keeping in mind that a lot of plants have been used in shamanic rituals over the ages (if you can't figure out the source now, well, sorry). However, they do not ship internationally with many of their seeds.
      Also, from my own experience, poppy seeds can take ages to germinate- I sowed a small amount a couple of months ago and nothing happened and I was certain I had messed it up, then all of a sudden I have dozens of seedlings! So don't give up if they don't germinate straight away.

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  11. I enjoyed your post & you have a very informative & nice blog. Enjoyed stopping by.
    Debbie

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  12. I was reading the Horizon Herbs catalog last night and noticed that their instructions for planting poppies were very emphatic: "Must be sown in cold soils!"

    I have a packet of seed that I didn't get around to planting last year, which is just as well, because I would have planted them too late. Now I just have to find an inconspicuous spot...

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  13. LOL I think your "urban entrepreneurs" would have been very disappointed. Even if you grow opium poppies, they don't develop the narcotic properties that make them so, um, popular in certain circles. It's too cold where we live for the narcotic compounds to develop fully.

    And, no, I absolutely have no personal experience with that. I had to research it for something I was writing :-)

    I'm going to try your method this year. I have some of the standard orange poppies here that were planted by my house's former owner. But I have seeds for some really pretty pink ones that someone sent me.

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  14. I just bought a pack of poppy seeds today at Wal-mart. I'm very curious how you grew them. Was the soil worked or hard?

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  15. Debbie, Glad you liked it.

    Entagled, That's funny. When I was writing my post I researched some and came across a site that said that a cold period didn't help them. Now I'm wondering who is right. This works like a charm for me so maybe the Horizon people have it right.

    Colleen, No matter how much you explain it to people they'll always believe what they see on tv or goes around in emails. I remember a few years back on Garden Web there was a lot of talk every time a new email made the rounds with people issuing "Warnings" about the latest plant some kid took to get high and died from. I think I linked one of the youtube vids above and in the older comments there you'll find a lot of references to drugs or my reason for growing poppies.

    Jordan, Thanks for letting me know WM has seeds available. I have to get there to check them out. The ground was a little broken up from previous things being planted. But one thing I can tell you is that they like poor soils. So if you have a spot that doesn't have a lot of organic material or fertilizer they'll do good there.

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  16. They are such an easy plant to grow in the garden. I've had them in the past and like you just scattered the seed in my garden in early spring and was rewarded with lots of blooms.

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  17. Yep, it is pretty funny, isn't it? I grow morning glories on the fence behind my garage, and a couple of years ago there was this trend in local news stories about teens getting high from eating morning glory seeds. Around that time, I started noticing a couple of my local teenage stoners hanging around my garage. LOL I wonder how many seeds they ate before they gave up on the idea.

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  18. Perennial Gardener, Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience with growing poppies from seed.

    Colleen, Ah, morning glories are another one of "those" flowers/seeds that make people start clutching their pearls. One thing I've wondered about-is it true the seed growers coat them with something that will make you sick before you can get high in order to deter people from buying the seeds to get a buzz?

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    1. Anonymous8:24 AM

      Unfortunately it is very true. The coating is actually worse than the seeds. The seeds pretty much guarantee you'll throw up even if you get the desired effects, the added poisons will make you throw up and feel like you're going to die while on a psychedelic. Bad combo.

      Delete
  19. I LOVE poppies...one row of Shirley poppies in my garden one year got me hooked. Your lavender one is a beauty. I have also had good success with winter-sowing poppies, but they need to be planted out before they get very large.

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  20. Thanks, I'm planning on planting lots of poppies this year, and now I know that earlier is better, and benign neglect is the way to sow. Thanks!

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    1. Anonymous8:38 PM

      For Austin, TX.... do you know when the best time to plant the poppy seeds are?

      Delete
  21. Anonymous5:02 AM

    Hi there, just out of interest, if a poppy lover bought some orange poppy seeds and left it too late for them to get frosted, could she fling them in the freezer for a few nights to have the same effect and then plant them out in warmer spring?
    Donna

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  22. Donna, go ahead and sow them in the garden now anyway. I've had good success with sowing them in the spring, too. I just do it in the winter out of habit and convenience.

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  23. Anonymous6:29 PM

    I've had the same trouble growing poppies from seed, and the funny thing is, areas of my yard are full of self-sown orange popplies. I'm trying to get some bright pink ones going to mix in with them. Does anyone have seed for bright pinks?

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  24. I have one beautiful poppy and would like more. It has just finished blooming and the petals are off but I saved some of the stems. The pod is still quite fresh. How do I get the seeds out? Do I wait until the pod is dry on the stem? And when should I plant them? I live in Toronto, Ontario Canada.

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  25. @ Richard,

    At the bottom of the post I have link to the post that shows what the seed pods look like when they are ripe. Basically they just fall out if you shake them at that point or you can break the pod.

    It has been a few days since you posted so perhaps you've already figured it out...but if not...I wait until the pod is dry on the stem. And I sow my seeds in the winter as described in the post above.

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  26. Thanks so much for this "guide" - I just started growing poppies myself, and while there's a bunch of growing guides out there, this was the first one I came across that actually mentioned the sowing!

    Someone said earlier that Papaver Somniferum (opium poppy) does not develop the alkaloids when grown in the US or anywhere cold. This is not true. However, growing the plant is perfectly legal. The only thing ILLEGAL is tampering with it and ingesting it (ie. as tea, etc.). But no matter where you grow the plant, it'll have the alkaloids. Heck, you can derive the alkaloids from the seed you sprinkle on your breakfast if you have enough! So watch your kids and animals if you're growing Somniferum. :)

    My family has been growing P. Somniferum for a while. Though, not for the shady purposes - the Hens & Chicken pods especially are pretty in floral decorations, and my family is very much into that. :) We even supplied seeds to the local florists for a while.
    I myself am still a newbie though. This was my mother and grandmother.

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  27. Hi Janni,

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing your info. Much appreciated.

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  28. Anonymous8:45 PM

    recently grew some flemish antiques absolutly one of the best flowers i have ever grown! you CAN start them off with some time in the fridge but this is certainly not the best method.

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  29. With this advice, I might have to try growing them again this year (we even have plenty of snow). I sowed some last year and they grew, but never got beyond a green leafy stage. I love poppies, so I was planning on just buying some to have this year. Maybe seeds will work after all!

    I also love the "shady people" story. I've actually read that there is no such thing as an 'opium poppy' - they all can be used for that purpose, some are just better suited to it. I'd just be happy with some poppyseed bagels.

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  30. Yup I totally agree with the winter sowing method you've described. The snow melt helps bring them down into the soil.
    Same method works for larkspur or annual delphinium. In fact, if you sow them too late, it'll be too warm for them to germinate - just like the poppies!!

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  31. Anonymous,

    Thanks for the tip. I'll have to look into them and see if I can get some because the pictures of the Flemish Antique poppies are out of this world! Thanks for commenting.

    Jenna, Good luck with yours. I've never had that happen so I can't say I can offer a tip to combat it, but I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.

    Miriam,

    Nice to see you here and thanks for the tips re: the larkspur and delphinium. I have a couple of larkspur that self-sow in the garden so I never give them much thought. Appreciate it.

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  32. Anonymous1:59 PM

    the McCormick Brand of Poppy seeds found in any grocery store happen to be one of the finest versions of P. somniferum you can get (come from genetically modified Tasmanian plants grown for Purdue and other Pharmaceutical companies in the USA and Europe)

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  33. Anon,

    Since they're genetically modified do they come true?

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  34. I swear I submitted a comment here, but since I dreamed I was reading tweets (very realistically), who knows? Anyway, poppies are one of those things I have trouble with as well, and I winter-sow them, so it's not like they're not getting their cold stratification. I sowed a bunch that are supposed to be black and at least I have foliage, but no buds. And they're the annual kind so they better move it along.

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  35. Oh, I'm an idiot--this is a different poppy post. I really, really need to get more sleep. How did I get here? This is not my beautiful house... this is not my beautiful wife...

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  36. Anonymous3:48 AM

    Thanks for posting, man.
    I've been trying to grow poppies for the past two months now, but I'm afraid I sowed them too late, and any chance of germination would be a long shot by now.
    I live near the North East, and part of the problem is that the summers here get way too hot for any kind of growth.
    But once Autumn arrives, I'm sure I'll achieve better results.

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  37. Anonymous,

    Hope you have success sowing your poppies seeds in the fall.

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  38. Anonymous1:10 PM

    Helo,Ive had trouble growing poppies here in Northern Florida,(nature coast).Started them in trays and seed pellets,read they dont transplant well and have to agree.So,I tried sowing them strit in the ground,and in some large planters outside.Had to battle the ants that were taking them back to their underground lair,(probably for food).Anyay,there are now some growing but the leaves are not the large cabbage like leaves I see in articles.they are smaller,although some towards the bottom are a bit larger.I wonder if this is because they are stunted,I did start them late or the soil isnt ideal.Also its been real hot here.Im finding them in places I didnt broadcast and have qustioned my sanity( am I looking at weeds instead??)but many of them I have followed from sprouts so they cant all be weeds...????

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous12:54 PM

      Overfertilized/

      Delete
  39. I have problems with my poppies - in particular i,ve got a lot of thick tall foliage but no any buds at all. What can be the reason for that?

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  40. Anonymous9:52 AM

    I planted a great deal of poppies in mid summer (mid july) this year. I live in the great lakes region and I have plants growing all over the place. Some plants are up to a foot high but, will they flower and will they return next summer? I've planted chick and hens, gigantiums and perisian blues, what should I expect?

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    1. Anonymous7:16 PM

      What should you expect, ?
      a lot of friends Visiting !

      Delete
  41. @Olga, Sorry for the late reply. With little info I can't say really give advice on what could be the reason behind having little blooms. It could be that your soil is very rich and maybe the plants produce more foliage because of that. It could also be that maybe you planted too much, too close and there wasn't enough light for the production of blooms. Or it could just be a matter of time until your poppies bloom.


    @Anonymous, Unless you planted perennial poppies then you should expect to save your seeds and sow them again next year. In the course of growing some poppy seeds will fall to the ground and come back on their own, but you should harvest seeds just to be safe.

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  42. I live in california - do I still just scatter the seeds or do I need to put them in a quarter inch deep?

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  43. Anonymous9:06 PM

    Thanks for posting this! Does it make a difference if they are annual or perennial types? I know it’s already March, but I bought some last week (annual California poppy) . I think I’ll run out and scatter some tomorrow! Or should I wait until we get more snow? Right now there is nothing left.

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  44. Eti, You can scatter the seeds or you can cover them lightly.

    Anonymous, Not really. Poppy seeds germinate better with some cold and wet temps. Go ahead and sow them now.

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  45. Anonymous2:55 AM

    i live in Maldives. A little Very sunny island nation.i have been trying to grow poppy for a long time. but they just do not germinate. any ideas? could it be because its too hot?

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  46. Maia Mittelstaedt6:02 PM

    Thanks for posting about how you sow your poppy seeds in the snow. I read somewhere that I should sow them in October here in Eastern Washington state but will now wait until the snow and hope the birds I feed won't get them!

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  47. Anonymous8:15 AM

    Hello, I'm new here and I was wondering how to grow a poppy field. I have a several acre area and I want it to look like a tuscany field. Any suggestions on a cultiver?

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  48. @Anonymous from the Maldives, You know I'm not familiar with your area so I can't say for sure. But I can tell you from experience in my garden that they need a cool and wet period to germinate and for the seedlings to settle in. Once they've settled they're not affected by the hot conditions.

    @Maia Mittelstaedt, If I sowed mine in October the weather could warm up in October or November here and cause them to germinate then be killed by by the frosts.

    @Anonymous, I've never sown that many poppies myself but I would think you just need to sow a large amount of seed at the right time in your zone.

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  49. Anonymous7:13 PM

    hi im having trouble germinating my poppy seeds is there special thing i need to do to the seed first like freeze the or heat them and how long it usually takes for a seed to sprout or something and when do i know that they are all too old and arnt fertile anyomre thanks from q

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  50. "these plants started to attracted attention that I didn't want"

    Lol...
    People always used to ask me at the hippy commune if I had any plants in my garden that would get them high...

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  51. Anonymous6:03 AM

    I let a few seeds fall when harvesting. Never too many poppies! But make sure to thin in early summer for happy plants, and to keep them from becoming out of control weeds.

    Harvest the seed when seed heads open into a bowl. Sift thru a sieve. Use in any recipe that calls for poppy seed (muffins, bread etc).

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  52. Anonymous6:26 PM

    Papaver somniferum Are some of the most beautiful flowers . It's sad that we are not allowed to freely enjoy their beauty and medicinal properties.

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  53. Anonymous8:35 PM

    My poppies have just started to sprout, and I'm so happy they're finally here! But I have a few questions because I'm new to gardening and all. Will my poppies survive when it rains, or are they hardy enough to be able to withstand it? Should I baby them, or should I just let nature take over and see what happens? My apologies if these sound like dumb questions, but I'm just so excited. I really want them to survive. Well, any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Peace, love and empathy.

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  54. Poppies are simply elegant! I appreciated this post and it got my mind swirling about all the types of plants that can be winter sown. Frost seeding and easy to seed save, this plant is no brainer in my garden. On year's there is no snow this is a lot easier!

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  55. I just scattered the poppyseeds a few days ago and I'm located in southern california. I did so right before a big rain storm and covered them lightly with soil and a small bit of fine mulch. About how long do they take to flower?

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  56. Anonymous9:42 AM

    hi i live outside usa and it is pretty hard to find poppy seeds for planting purposes..but there are poppy seeds available for cooking purposes in supermarkets..and they too are very expensive..because i do a lot of baking at home and love poppy so much i was wondering if it is possible to grow a plant with the seeds available in the supermarkets or not..plz guide.

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  57. Great post! I just moved out into a rural house in Western Qc about a year ago. One growing season under my belt and I inherited a few perennial poppies. In fact,the poppies that I saw when visiting before buying the property was one of the reasons I fell in love. I have been musing on how to boost my plantings and grow more varieties. Thanks very much for the info and I have subscribed to your feed.:)

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  58. Thank you for the information. Just what i was looking for.

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  59. I am trying my hand at poppies for the first time this year, I am afraid I may have done it too late... If I start the seeds inside rather than out, do you think I might have some luck since it will be cooler in here than outside right now?

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  60. gopack876310:02 AM

    I had carved out an area of our lawn about 3 feet by 18" at its widest a couple of years ago, planning to add a little color to the area in front of our steps. I had planted red Wax Begonia's in the area, only to have contractors and the occasional salesman tromp them down or the kids mow them off. Mid-March, my 8 year old and I were cleaning up outdoors and he found a packet of Poppy seeds I bought last year and never opened. The packet had obviously been wet at some time and it was quite faded. I told him they were no good and to throw them away. He insisted on planting them; his Cub Scout pack has been planting herbs and Marigolds in egg shells and 2 liter bottles, so shall we say "the seed has been planted". Anyway, we scuffed up the soil, sprinkled them over it and he "stomped" them in. We watered them and essentially forgot about them. Weather here is Southwest Iowa is really strange this year has gone from seasonable to nearly 90 degrees and hot one day and worrying about frost later in the week. I had overseeded the lawn on Monday and watered it in, watered most of the day yesterday and today, I went out to set up the sprinkler in another area and have found that the Poppies (it has to be the Poppies) have sprouted up over night; who knew? Incidently, your Poppy-planting method of dropping the seeds over the snow is also my Mom's preferred way to overseed the lawn. She lives in Rockford, IL, and has done it for years.

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  61. Thanks for the info. I wanted to plant a few seed but maybe I´ll rethink the plan. I don't want then everywhere.

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  62. Hello,
    What happens if you have a cluster of poppies and choose not to thin them? Will they continue to flower, or will their growth be stunted? I want them to be radiant and beautiful, but I'm uncertain whether I should thin them out. To thin or not to thin. That is the question.

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  63. I always scatter seeds and forget. Its a nice surprise when them bloom. Its my understanding you can plant store bought seeds.

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  64. Anonymous3:28 PM

    Hi I have always loved poppies, and as I walk around the streets of London there are an abundance of different types and colours, I have been know to be very cheeky and knock on peoples doors to ask for seed heads or seeds, just not planted any yet (thanks for the tips), but my question is if you pick a poppy in flower and put it in water would the seed head still develop normally and produce seeds, because the flowers are being damaged or destroyed before the seed head has developed. I don't want to lose these beauties HELP sorry did not mean to shout Thanks Kareena

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  65. Anonymous12:10 AM

    I recently purchased some poppy seeds & was told to put'em in the freezer over night before planting. Now I'm reading similar advise here. I don't doubt what I've read but my question is how do they do it in Asia, Afganistan & Turkey ? When does it snow in these countries, hot weather is kinda norm over there, isn't it?

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  66. Anonymous4:18 PM

    Oh, hell yeah. Winter sowing is where it's at! Ya dig? Peace

    ReplyDelete
  67. SO! I mixed my seeds with a bit of sand, picked a spot in the yard and I'm standing outside in 10 inches of snow, ready to hurl the bits into the wind. I am looking pointedly at you, Mr. Brown Thumb.

    Now?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. J. Hovahkiin, Don't just toss the seeds around if you don't have many. Rather think about where you want to sow them and sow the poppy seeds evenly in your soil. The best time to sow the seeds is right before the snow falls so they are blanketed down into the ground and don't get blown away.

      Delete
  68. I purchased many different types, Blue Himalayan, Princess Victoria Louise, Raspberry Royal, Flemish Antique, Danish Flag, and on and on. My question is can I broadcast them all together or should I separate to prevent cross pollination? If they are to be separate how far apart is enough and how much do you thin yours for good growth? Love the tips I'm reading. Thanks so much!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Renee,

      You can broadcast your poppy seeds together. If you have a big enough space you can just toss them into the air. If you have a smaller space, or want to be more thoughtful: follow the suggestions in my post on sowing small seeds http://mrbrownthumb.blogspot.com/2012/03/how-to-sow-small-seeds.html and you won't have to worry about thinning them out. I haven't ever grown Blue Himalayan because the seed is too expensive for me, and because nobody in my area (Chicago) that has tried them has had success sowing them. Blue Himalayan poppies need really cold and wet conditions to germinate and while they are seedlings. I think our spring is too warm for them.

      Delete
  69. Thanks for the ideas...I can start throwing them out now! I am surprised how hardy they are in England...my Californias have survived the winter (south facing against the house!!) I have the lavender one above with gray leaves....stupendous and never fails...poppies are my lucky streak!

    ReplyDelete
  70. I'm growing some poppy here in Australia. I find out that when the specs comes out, they are very thin and easy to fall over while watering. What should I do in this situation? :) thank you :)

    ReplyDelete
  71. Anonymous9:41 PM

    MY SEEDS germinated , but they seem to be very top heavy and leaning over, not able to support themselves at i inch tall. is this normal?

    ReplyDelete
  72. Anonymous3:35 PM

    Hello Mr. Brownthumb! Your site is very helpful. I got interested in Poppys this spring when I found some growing at my daughter's old farm house by her barn, probably planted decades ago by the former owners. I should have taken a photo of them when they were blooming, as they are done now, but I wanted to plant some at my house. I do have a few of the seed pods (not dry yet) and was wondering if you could tell what variety of Poppy they were by looking at them if I sent/posted a photo. They were found growing in the east, mid-atlantic area of the USA. Thanks for your great site, by the way.

    ReplyDelete
  73. Aw, that's a shame that your yard would get that sort of attention. Luckily, I don't think anyone would have that problem out here (no yard as of yet - sigh) -- poppies are everywhere. There are hundreds of California, Flanders, somniferum, Iceland, and Oriental poppies just along the water. Nevermind how many have popped up in yards, houses under construction, sidewalk cracks. It's really neat to see the variety.

    Thanks for maintaining such a lovely, helpful blog!

    ReplyDelete
  74. I am having an extremely hard time getting my poppy seeds to germinate. Please help me! I have read two different methods of germinating and neither works. I live in central texas and it said to scatter some in good soil in august. I have one flower bed i scattered some in and then i put ice cubes on top to moisten the soil so i do not over water and i leave it outside so they can get sun all day. It has been 5 days and i see nothing and the seeds look the same. I tried another method i saw on youtube where you run a papertowell under water and squeeze so it is just moist and not drenched then put the seeds in the middle and wrap it and then put in a plastic bag and leave outside in the sun. This method has also not worked. I have never grown poppys so i am probably doing something wrong. If anyone has any advice to give me i would highly appreciate it. I dont know how much or how often to water them or ehat to do to get them to germinate. My email is mis.brookelynn@gmail.com

    Any and all tips are appreciated. Thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brooke Lynn, Poppy seeds need more than five days of moisture and cool weather to get them to germinate. I would not recommend the baggie method for germinating poppy seeds in the garden. See the video above for tips on how I get my poppy seeds to germinate. the other thing I would recommend is seeing if you can find some Texas garden bloggers who have experience with growing poppy seeds in your area. It could be that you're trying at the wrong time of the year?

      Delete
    2. Thank you for your replys! I have tried every method and i am just waiting but dont see results :( i have tried looking at other tx forums and people will ask the same questions and some people will say late fall or august or the thread ends up leading to other topics so i have not had luck finding much info. I gave up on the baggy method and i found some more unnamed seeds at the nearest store 30min away that i scattered on some soil and i water daily. I leave the planter pot outside during the day so they can get sunlight and bring them inside at night as i read they like cooler temperatures at night. I really hope they grow but i will keep trying. Thank you

      Delete
  75. Thanks for providing such great info as I am a bit of a "black thumb" tbqh...I have a habit of killing most plants that come into my care.
    I'm in Australia and it's early Autumn here and, although we don't have super cold winters (no snow and not many frosty nights either), I figured I'd sow some seeds anyway as I had just received them and was excited :)
    Well, I got a pinch of these tiny white seeds and tried to scatter them evenly, which was damn tricky considering how miniscule the seeds are, and hoped for the best but 6 weeks later there were still no signs of life.
    After I decided I'd managed to stuff things up again all of a sudden, around 10 days ago, seedlings started to pop up all over the place- I hadn't even bothered watering the area or doing anything at all really.
    I'm now counting dozens of the little buggers and they seem to be doing really well.
    Interestingly enough, I also sowed some in a little portable seedling "greenhouse" and transplanted a couple of the sturdier looking seedlings into that thinking they'd do better under a controlled environment- well, they're doing ok but nowhere near as well as the ones that have just been left to their own devices.
    I live in a southern coastal area, so our soil is very sandy but they seem to be thriving nonetheless.
    Now I'm going to study up on transplanting seedlings and how best to thin them out, so thanks again for making the job a little less intimidating and hopefully this will be my first successful foray into gardening :)

    ReplyDelete
  76. I was wondering it is April and I too am from Chicago I tried starting poppies the usual way in a wet napkin in between two plates with no luck. Is it to late to sow them outdoors?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Roger, the ideal time to sow them outdoors in Chicago has passed, but there's no reason you can't still try it. Go ahead and sow your poppies outdoors now. Like immediately, and hopefully it stays cool enough for them to germinate.

      Delete
  77. Anonymous5:50 AM

    Does it work to gather and plant them as soon as the petals begin to fall off the blooming poppy's?

    ReplyDelete
  78. ok i just read the answer as someone else asked lol thanks

    ReplyDelete
  79. i love the video and your gentle voice. i had to laugh when you said "poor soil" and you're crumbling between your fingers the most beautiful humus i could hope to get after amending for years in the dense clay of my western colorado garden. some people here have glorious poppy patches, but mine have never thrived. next year i'll try your method, which makes a lot of sense, and hope for the best. thank you!

    ReplyDelete

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