Poppies add elegance and an element of fantasy to any garden. Seeds are sown in early spring, spread around the soil surface and allowed to take root while it is still cool. If you grow annual varieties, you will be amazed to see these flowers add color to your garden again every year. Watch Step 1 to learn how to grow and care for poppies.
Part 1 of 2: Preparing to Plant the Seed
Step 1. Choose one of the poppy flower varieties
There are many different varieties of poppies – some from America, some from regions around the world. Although all poppies have thin petals that are colorful and look a bit like weeds, these flowers have a striking difference when it comes to care. Choose the variety that best suits your region and garden conditions. The following are some examples of poppy varieties and the right conditions for their growth according to the USDA zoning system.
- California poppies grow very well in USDA zones 9 - 11, the arid western regions of the Americas. This variety is easy to care for and can grow well in infertile soils.
- purple mallow poppy is another variety that can grow very well in infertile soils. This variety grows very well in zones 4 through 8.
- corn poppy, on the other hand, this variety requires fertile, moist soil to grow well.
- Celandine poppy is a forest flower that grows very well in eastern regions, zones 4 through 8.
Step 2. Buy poppy flower seeds
You can't transplant poppies, as the flowers won't grow well, so you'll need to buy seeds instead of buying plants that have sprouted. Common poppy seeds are available at every garden store, but if you want a unique variety, check online for more options. Purchase poppy seeds from a reputable source so they will germinate and grow well.
Step 3. Decide where you will plant the poppies
Most poppy varieties grow well in full sun, and can be planted anywhere without too much shade. You can plant poppies along the borders of your yard, in window boxes or in certain areas of your garden. Make sure the quality of the soil in the area you choose matches the poppies' needs.
- If you have a poppy variety that does well in infertile soil, you're in luck – you don't need to add anything to the soil to make it fertile. Many poppies thrive on rocky soil, which does not support other types of flowers to grow.
- For varieties that require fertile soil, till the soil and mix it with compost or animal bone manure to add the nutrients the poppies need to thrive.
Part 2 of 2: Sowing Seeds and Caring for Poppies
Step 1. Sow the seeds in spring or fall
Poppy seeds require a period of stratification to germinate. That means flower seeds must be exposed to cold air or frost before they will germinate. Usually a safe time to sow poppy seeds is in early spring, when there is still some frost. If you are in an area with mild winters, sow the seeds in the fall, so that the seeds get enough cool temperatures before the weather warms up in the spring. After 14 to 28 days, the seeds will begin to sprout and sprout.
Step 2. Remove dirt in the planting area
Poppy seeds are sown above the soil surface, not planted in holes. To prepare the soil, you simply loosen the surface of the soil using a garden rake, there is no need to dig it to a depth of 2.5 cm or more. Even doing so can make poppies more difficult to grow.
Step 3. Sow the seeds
Sprinkle poppy seeds over the surface of the freshly loosened soil. In the wild, poppies drop their seeds, which are small enough to be carried by the wind. Therefore, if you are going to plant poppies, scatter them and let the seeds drop randomly, rather than trying to grow poppies in rows, as it will be difficult to confine the seeds to the area where you are sowing them.
Step 4. Water the seeds
Keep the area moist by sprinkling water over the soil. Do not over-water, or you may drown the delicate seeds. The seeds will start sprouting when the weather is warm in spring.
Step 5. Spread the poppy buds apart
When you see plants starting to sprout, you can widen the distance between the poppy buds so that each plant has enough room to grow. Different varieties will have different instructions on the area required for poppies. This step is not really necessary, but it can help you in adjusting the appearance of the planting area in your garden.
Step 6. When the plant begins to flower, remove the buds to ensure that the plant will continue to flower
Poppies do well in infertile soil that other plants cannot grow.
Step 7. When summer has come, let the stamens on the flowers bloom
The flowers will wither but the stamens will remain. You can harvest the seeds for planting the following season. Some varieties even produce edible seeds, which you can use to make treats like poppy seed muffins.
Step 8. Water the poppies a little after they grow big
Most poppies don't need much water once they start to grow big. In fact, overwatering this plant can make the stems grow too long and unattractive.
- Water this plant moderately regularly when the flowers are in bloom or close to blooming.
- After flowering, simply water the plant when the top 2 cm of soil feels dry to the touch.