Poppy Flower Seeds – Germinating and Growing Poppies

Poppy Flower Seeds – Germinating and Growing Poppies 

Simple Tips for a Garden Bursting with Color

Papaver paeoniflorum 'Scarlet Peony'

Papaver paeoniflorum 'Scarlet Peony'

A popular garden plant around the world, using  poppy seeds to add life to a garden is easy to do. With a huge variety of species allowing for different colors, sizes and flower shapes to be incorporated into any garden, growing poppies is extremely rewarding. In addition, while many gardeners may prefer annual varieties or perennial specimens which return year after year, the ease in which poppies produce seeds means that ensuring a continuous supply is easy. And whether you want large blousy blooms, small delicate dwarf varieties, or elegant flowers that will make a statement, there is always a poppy to suit your needs.

Learning how to grow poppies is easy

While poppies will quite happily seed themselves around the garden creating surprising bursts of color where you may least expect it, sowing seeds is done best in peat pots. This careful management of seeds allows for gardeners to grow strong, healthy plants which can be placed where you want them, instead of where Mother Nature decides they should be. Learning how to grow poppies is easy, and done once gardeners will quickly wonder why they haven’t done it before. Fill pots with a seed compost not too rich in nutrients to avoid prolific leafy growth at the expense of flowers, and scatter seeds thinly across the surface. Cover with a thin layer of compost and water to ensure that the soil is moist. This is best done using a watering can with a fine sprinkling head attached, or a spray bottle to mist. The tiny size of annual poppy seeds will mean that any heavy watering will cause them to be displaced from where they’ve been sown. Alternatively stand the pot or tray in water and cover with a plastic bag, allowing the moisture to rise up through the compost.

Poppy flower seeds will start to germinate after 14 to 28 days

Seeds should be sown in spring, or for hardier annual varieties such as those included in the California poppy family, early to mid fall. These, providing that they are kept sheltered and frost free throughout the winter, will mature earlier than their spring sown counterparts, ensuring an early bout of flowering. After approximately 14 to 28 days depending on the variety, poppy flower seeds will start to germinate, sending up tiny spindling green shoots. At this time, when seedlings are large enough to nip with fingertips, it is important to ensure that numbers of thinned out to ensure that a few strong, healthy plants develop instead of large numbers of weedy plants which will ultimately not flower well.

Annual poppies in particular do well in poor soils

Keeping pots moist, young poppies will quickly grow and once they are just a couple inches tall can be planted into their final positions whether it is a container or flower bed. Poppies in particular do well in poor soils, lending them to be suitable for areas of the garden which may be inhospitable to other plants. As flowering starts ensure that buds are removed as petals fall to keep plants producing blooms. Meanwhile, as the summer season starts to wane, let a few seed pods develop and ripen so that seeds can be collected and used for next years beautiful flowers.

Soon you will find it hard to remember a time without poppies

With such ease and simplicity, poppies are a welcome plant to all gardens. Reds, oranges, whites and pinks will brighten any outside oasis, provide splashes of color which are easy to keep and maintain. And with poppy flower seeds easy to collect and germinate, once a gardener includes poppies in their garden they will find it hard to remember a time without them.

Now that you understand how truly easy it is to grow poppy seeds

We strongly recommend http://www.onestoppoppyshoppe.com One Stop Poppy Shoppe for the largest variety selection anywhere!

  1. Rich
    04/26/2012 at 08:22

    HiHow long will the first flower show after germination?

  2. Debbie
    05/02/2012 at 08:11

    Hi, I’m looking to plant a large area and was wondering what is the rule of thumb for number of seeds per square foot?


  3. dorothy
    05/17/2012 at 12:39

    hello my name is dorothy i have a place that a guy gave me his poppies when can i dig them up to place them in my garden

  4. karen edwards
    03/01/2013 at 10:00

    I have lots of deer. Do they like poppies? I am so tired of them eating their favorites of my beautiful plants.

  5. 03/02/2013 at 10:10

    Hi Karen, Poppies are naturally deer resistant. They taste horrible. I have never had any problem with deer eating my poppies, however they will trample them to get to the other plants that they love. I have had trouble with rabbits eating the tender new growth of the oriental poppies, and moles seem to like the roots of the orientals.

  6. Julia
    03/03/2013 at 19:34

    Will they do well in clay? I’ve been amending like crazy, so it isn’t too heavy. My california poppies do well in what amounts to really bad soil so…?

    03/04/2013 at 06:30

    I have purchased a number of your poppy seeds. I would like to start them early. Would it be best to start in a greehouse @75degrees or a hot-house 50-60 degrees?
    Is it a myth about planting them on the snow? I did not produce one poppy last year. I am determined to have poppies this spring. Thanks for your advise.

  8. 03/04/2013 at 17:31

    Hi Julia! Clay is fine as long as you dig in a 3 inch layer of compost/manure.

  9. 03/05/2013 at 08:36

    Hi Taffy! No it is not a myth. People swear by it, however I have personally never tried that. I cannot recommend the greenhouse, but if the hothouse is as cool as you say, you could try that. Poppies always do best when planted directly into the garden. They like cool temps for germination and resent transplanting so be sure to use 2 1/2 inch or larger peat pots. As far as your trouble last year, make sure not to bury the seed. Just press firmly into the soil, or walk on the planted area. Don’t use any weed suppressors, chemical fertilizers or pesticides with poppies. They just don’t like it. Always use a slug/snail bait. Hope this helps.

    03/05/2013 at 11:19

    Thank you Julia. That helps alot. I have one more question. The hothouse has constant heat lights in ceiling. I know I am supposed to cover the oriental poppy with cardboard at night. Should I cover all the poppy seeds at night? Thanks again. With your help, I’m sure to have lots of poppies come spring. Taffy

  11. 03/06/2013 at 16:42

    Hi Taffy, I’m afraid so. Poppies germinate in the dark.

  12. 03/08/2013 at 11:36

    If I bought poppy seeds in the autumn and sprinkled them in the ground, would there be a good chance that they’ll germinate on their own in the spring?


  13. 03/09/2013 at 07:51

    Hi Sue, Oh yes. Please wait till very late in the year as you do not want your poppies to actually germinate until next Spring. Melting snow and Spring rains will provide the moisture requirements to get them off to an early start.

  14. Gareth Pringle Cockcroft
    03/10/2013 at 08:33

    Hi, I live in Wales,GB and intend sowing my oriental poppy seeds in my greenhouse but I’d like to know if I need to put them in an electric propagator. Thanks

  15. 03/11/2013 at 11:22

    Hi Gareth, No please don’t. Poppies like cool temps for germination.

  16. kelley
    03/12/2013 at 11:20

    i was wonder what is the proceedure of transplanting the poppie i just transplanted my poppie and im hopin it will still produce flower this year!

  17. 03/14/2013 at 14:34

    Hi Kelley, the best is to sow the seed in biodegradable pots, then plant out the entire pot.

  18. 03/20/2013 at 17:02

    Hi there. Hey I have seeds for 2010. Will they still be good?

  19. 03/22/2013 at 17:08

    Hi Tami! Absolutely they will be fine, poppy seeds can keep for years.

  20. Charles Trew
    04/29/2013 at 11:08

    I tossed about 15 seeds into a small flower pot, like 5 in. diameter, and it turns out they are all sprouted! So how do I thin these out, or do I need to?

  21. 04/29/2013 at 11:24

    Hi Charles, if you want to save the seedlings, scoop them from the pots with a spoon taking as much dirt as possible and then plant elsewhere. The California poppies are not as sensitive to transplanting as other poppies. 1 plant in this 5 inch pot is enough.

  22. 05/06/2013 at 12:38

    is it too late to germinate annual p[oppies now in zone 5?

  23. 05/06/2013 at 14:00

    Hi Heidi, No it is not too late. You can plant through the month of May.

  24. JennPratt
    01/03/2015 at 07:52

    I sowed seeds for two of the blue perennial poppies directly outside and didn’t get one poppy :(. I want to try again…do you think sowing in pots and keep on three season porch where it’s cool would be ok starting in the spring?

  25. 01/04/2015 at 12:41

    Hi Jenn,
    Sowing them in pots in a 3 season porch is perfect. Use 3 or 4 inch peat pots so as not to disturb the roots when planting out. Sow them in the beginning of April.
    Kind regards,
    Julie @ One Stop Poppy Shoppe

  1. 02/16/2011 at 10:34

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