How to Grow Poppies


Poppies are easy to grow from seed, preferring cool temperatures for optimal germination. Once established these vibrant flowers require little irrigation once established.

Lt. Col. John McCrae’s 1918 poem “In Flanders Fields” popularized the red poppy as an emblem of remembrance, prompting citizens from many nations to wear this flower every November 11 in commemoration of those lost during wartime.


Poppies add bright color and an attractive, wild aesthetic to a garden, drawing visitors’ eyes with their tissue paper-like blooms that feature 4 to 6 petals connected by stamens in a range of vibrant reds and warm orange hues that form informal patches of color that bloom from mid-spring through summer. Some poppies may be annuals while others are biennials or perennials; most varieties are easy to care for yet vulnerable to insect pests and disease.

Poppies need full sunlight and well-drained soil in order to thrive in gardens, so seed them early spring in 12-24 inch rows covered by 1/8 of an inch of soil and keep moist until their seedlings emerge – this typically takes 7-28 days. After they appear, thin them before reaching 6-8 inches tall before water sparingly until flowering commences; providing ample moisture may promote lush foliage but won’t produce beautiful blooms as efficiently.

Papaver orientale (oriental poppy), Papaver rhoeas (field poppies), or Papaver somniferum (opium/breadseed poppy) seeds are easy to raise from seed without needing transplanting or moving around your garden. Sow directly where they will grow with 1/8″ of soil covering. After seed germination occurs, thin the seedlings to 6-8 inches apart before watering lightly and consistently until flowers appear.

Poppy flowers have long been considered symbols of hope, love, and peace. While the beautiful blossoms make an excellent addition to bouquets, proper harvesting and post-harvest handling is necessary for optimal vase life. For maximum success, cut the flowers at their cracked bud stage for optimal results.

Once the blooms have faded, harvest the seeds by gently shaking pods over a bowl to collect tiny, flat seeds inside them. Or wait until the seeds turn light brown before harvesting and storing them in an unheated and excellent area for up to two years before harvesting again.


Poppy leaves are both ornamental and attractive in their own right, even as their flowers bloom during summer. Their delicate green leaves feature fine-toothed or lobed textures with purple undertones; these stem-bound leaves hold onto flower heads; in a garden setting, these leaves may even be pruned back for renewed growth and second bloomings.

Poppies in mild climates can either be annuals (dying after one growing season), perennials that return year after year, or biennials that complete their life cycle in two growing seasons. Peacock poppies (Papaver rhoeas), for example, produce stunning blooms each year that boast different hues; others, such as the opium poppy (P. somniferum), may be considered invasive and limited by specific regions.

Opium poppy flowers bloom for several weeks during the summer, reaching 5 inches (12 cm). Their flowers typically feature scarlet with dark blotches at their bases or orange with yellow edges; after their petals fall off, they leave round seed pods behind.

Poppy seeds must be handled delicately to prevent them from blowing, washing away or being carried off by wind currents. It is best to mix your poppy seeds with fine potting soil before sowing or use a seed dispenser, damp toothpick, or tweezers to evenly space them out before sowing. Once planted on an angle so the excess water drains quickly once finished, water lightly so as not to leave behind wet mud in their place.

Poppy plants generally require little more than planting, watering, and fertilization to thrive; however, they may become damaged by extreme heat or wind or become susceptible to fungal disease. To avoid any issues altogether, provide adequate drainage while keeping the soil moist but not saturated – mulches may help control weeds while conserving moisture; when it comes time to apply fertilizer, use a slow-release product once your plants have become established and before buds start appearing.


Pollinators such as bees are drawn to the rich pollen found on poppy blooms, drawing them close for pollen collection and, eventually, pollen harvesting. Within days, many poppies drop their petals to form an attractive seed pod filled with ripened seeds that have an appealing aesthetic in your garden – some gardeners harvest these pods and seeds for culinary use, while others let the flowers fade into the landscape. When growing poppy seeds for culinary use, it is wise to select cultivars with large pods, such as breaded poppies (Papaver somniferum) are best as these cultivars boast beautiful rattle-like pods, making them beautiful additions in both landscape and florist settings alike! If growing poppy seeds for culinary use, consider selecting cultivars such as Breadseed poppies (Papaver somniferum) because their large rattle-like pods make them particularly stunning additions when chosen correctly! If growing poppy seeds for culinary use, then breadseed poppies (Papaver somniferum) are ideal, with large rattle-like pods making them beautiful gardens as well as being highly prized florists! If growing poppy seeds, consider growing these beautiful flowers. Breadseed poppies (Papaver somniferum) flowers produce large rattle-like pods such as Breadseed poppies (Papaver somniferum), with large rattle-like pods make them beloved among gardeners! When selecting cultivars that produce big pods, as these flowers are grown for culinary use, consider selecting cultivars that produce Big papaver somniferum) for maximum effect to be chosen over flowers for them being sought out by florists for full effect for culinary use when used by florists! When growing poppy seeds to use for culinary use, their large rattle-like pods will produce perfect in gardens. If bread (Papaver somniferum), as these species (Papaver somniferum) make perfect to florists alike due to their large rattle-like pods, make these ideal choices as these make beautiful gardens! If used, you may produce Biggerum, which will work just perfectly as these have big pods large enough. They also tend to have large rattle-like pods (Papas.), which will produce big enough produce. Big C to flowers are used too as well!). Breads may have big pods, but flower bouquets are not to flowers. Make these beloved by flowers which florists.) when grown too!! buds compared to another cultivar, which produces Big!) can have these can – the case; consider cultivar allowing florists.) make for this purpose too). These will not disappoint either and are loved as these as breads; think Breads! Thematic as their large rattle-like so they can also often favor. as so perfectly due their big enough. – breads. If this too. –

Poppy flowers come in all sorts of colors and sizes, from miniature thimbles to impressive dinner-plate-sized blooms. Annuals, biennials, and perennials alike can be found across the world, from tundra regions to hot desert regions, most commonly found in northern climates.

Poppies are beloved flowers, but they also possess edible and medicinal uses. Poppies’ seeds can be used in making pastries and baked goods, while their milky sap helps ease headaches and menstrual cramps. Their pods contain alkaloids such as morphine and codeine for additional pain relief.

Poppies are relatively straightforward to grow from seed, yet their best results come when transplanted directly into a garden rather than pots. Dig a hole the size of their root ball, add well-rotted organic matter to the planting site, backfill, and water well afterward. When planting colorful cultivars, it’s wise to choose an area with sufficient shade; otherwise, their petals could lose their vibrant hue in direct sunlight.

Opium poppies are perhaps the most iconic of all poppy plants, having grown on shelled fields during World War I to honor fallen soldiers and inspiring John McCrae’s poem “In Flanders Fields.” While these flowers were once produced for drug production in America, opium production is now illegal for commercial purposes in this country; nevertheless, they remain popular garden ornamental plants because of their bright colors and gentle movement when exposed to windy conditions.


Poppies produce many seeds that can either be collected and collected to use later or left to sprout in your garden as perennial plants. Poppies grow bases measuring just 1mm (0.04 inch in length), kidney-shaped and grayish blue to dark blue in hue. Their small sources (about 1 mm or 0.04 inch) have a slight nutlike flavor and contain between 44-50 percent fixed oil, specifically linoleic and oleic acids containing 44 to 50% selected oil content, respectively, making these an excellent source of protein as well as calcium, iron, potassium magnesium manganese and phosphorus content!

Poppy flowers draw pollinators and produce seed pods that quickly burst open, revealing vibrant petals within. Both the seeds and poppy plants themselves can be consumed; some species also possess medicinal qualities due to containing various alkaloids like morphine or papaverine (Table).

Growing Tips: For best results, sow directly in late fall or spring as soon as the soil can be worked. Surface sow lightly over an area about one square meter squared; cover barely with soil; best in calm, early spring conditions in rich soil with moderate moisture levels and no flooding issues. For improved distribution and germinated seeds faster results when mixing tiny seeds with sand when sowing. Annual and perennial varieties often self-seed but should be thinned annually to avoid becoming overgrown.

One of the best-known cultivars of poppies is “In Flanders Fields,” named for reportedly appearing spontaneously on shelled fields to honor fallen soldiers, prompting John McCrae’s poem. A similar species known as “Hen and Chicks,” though, has smaller seeds with a more nutty, less bitter flavor that are often called for as part of cultivation programs.

Recipes that call for poppy seeds typically call for soaking them for 12-24 hours to soften the shell and loosen any inner roots, making extraction more straightforward. The process can be expedited by placing the source in the refrigerator for two to three days; once dry, pour the pod into a bowl to remove any debris; this seed can then be used directly or stored for future use in containers.