Poppies are one of the most colorful flowers to grow in the garden. Knowing how to grow poppy seeds will make sure that they survive in your garden for many years.
Most poppies are grown from seed. Poppies also self seed so that each year you will have more and more to enjoy.
|photo credit: hgtvgardens.com|
Start your poppy seeds by spreading the seed outside in fall or very early in spring. Scatter them sparingly or you will need to thin them later. The seed needs light to germinate, so be sure not to bury the seed. The seed also likes a cold spell, so sow in late Fall before the cold weather arrives, or you can sow the seed in very early spring.
In early spring, the cold weather will give way to warm spring sunshine and the seeds will receive sufficient moisture to germinate. In warmer areas where winters are mild, it is better to sow the seed in fall or in your coolest months. The seed will stay dormant until the weather starts to warm up. From germination to bloom is just a few weeks and the late spring show will be spectacular.
Grow the poppies in full sun and in well drained soil or the plants will become waterlogged and keel over. Make sure that you amend the area well with compost to give lots of nutrients to the plants as well as help with poor drainage. Use a slug and snail bait as those critters have a tendency to gobble up the tiny shoots as they emerge.
The middle of a perennial border is an ideal place for poppies as they will be taller than many edging plants, and with the oriental varieties dying down after bloom time, the vacant space they leave in the garden will not be noticed. If planted at the middle of the garden you could fill the gaps with other summer perennials such as phlox or salvias. If planted in the front of a garden bed you could fill the gaps with summer annuals.
After the poppies flower they produce an equally attractive flower head that contains heavy black, brown, grey, blue or white seeds. These will drop around the mother plant to give you more poppies for next year.
Alternatively you can harvest the seed head for fall crafts because they dry beautifully and hold their shape. Of course some of the seeds such as the annual breadseed poppy 'Papaver somniferum seeds' are edible and can be used in cakes, breads and other recipes.
|photo credit: publicdomainpictures.net|
There are several basic types of poppy seeds and they are all grown the same way.
Oriental Poppy Seeds - The most common poppy and comes in reds, oranges, purples and whites.
Peony Poppies - Spectacular fully double flower in reds, oranges, purples and white. Annual.
Meconopsis Poppies - Sometimes called the blue poppies but come in reds, yellows, purples and white also. Perennial.
Taffeta Poppies - Pastel colors and a feathery flower head that is very attractive. Annual.
Papaver Somniferum seeds - The bread seed poppy and a stunningly beautiful flower in a wide range of colors and shapes. Annual.
California Poppies - These are a totally different botanical family to the other poppies and are characterized by the name Eschscholzia. Shorter than the species poppies and self sow to cover an area in just a few years.
Whether you are planting a new garden space, or adding to an existing garden, grow poppies in your garden for early Spring colorful blooms. Poppies are carefree plants that will continue to grace your garden year after year. Soon you will wonder how you ever got along without those Poppy Seeds.