Do you want to know how to grow poppies?
Growing your own poppies from seed is an easy way to add striking swathes of color to your garden, and a great filler for any unused space. The even better news? Once planted, they’ll come back year after year, forming graceful drifts over time.
You can plant them in borders or containers, or scatter them across the lawn as ground cover – whatever suits your style best! They also make excellent cut flowers that will last for weeks indoors. So what are you waiting for? Get planting today!
Poppy Seed (Papaver somniferum)
When is the Best Time of the Year to Plant Poppy Seed
The best time of the year to plant Poppy Seed is in the spring. The risk of frost in the spring is very low. Poppy seeds must be planted only in the spring when there is no longer a threat of frost because that’s when they will germinate. As well, soil can be adequately prepared for planting poppy seeds.
Poppy Seed plants should also not be planted in autumn or winter unless you are prepared to provide protection for them. If the Poppy Seed plant is exposed to frost before it has blossomed, then all of its available energy will be focused on flower growth and there won’t be enough left over for establishing a healthy root system because the roots need time to develop between winter and spring.
Where in the Garden Should You Plant Poppy Seed
Poppy seeds should be planted in clusters rather than rows. They make good companion plants to potatoes, tomatoes, corn, and onions because they attract natural predators of the pests that attack those vegetables.
They are tall growing annuals with beautiful red, pink or white flowers. Poppies grow anywhere from 1-6 feet tall, depending on the variety. Though most varieties of poppies grow well in full sun, some prefer part shade and may not produce as many flowers in a hot location.
Poppy plants can take anywhere from two weeks to two months to germinate, depending on the soil temperature and depth at which they are planted. The seeds should be very lightly covered with a fine layer of soil and pressed gently at the top to ensure good contact.
Seedlings should be thinned as necessary when they are about 2-3″ tall. The remaining plants should be spaced evenly throughout the garden, 8″-12″ apart.
Poppy seeds must always be refrigerated before planting as they have a very short shelf life. They should be soaked in warm water overnight before planting. Many people plant them directly into moist soil as soon as the seeds have been thoroughly soaked and soften, but others prefer to use a starter mix instead.
How Often Should I Watering Poppy Seed
There are a few factors that will determine how often you should be watering your poppy seeds. The first factor is the time of year, as poppy seeds will need more water during the dryer times of the year. The second factor is whether or not you planted both annual and perennial varieties together, as the perennials are likely to need less water than the annuals. That being said, if your seed packet doesn’t specify when you should be watering, it’s best to water on a regular basis – every few days is a good rule of thumb.
The best way to tell how often you should be watering is by looking at the poppy seeds; if they aren’t moist, or if the soil has started to dry out and turn a darker color, it’s time to water. If you wait too long and your seedlings start to wilt, it can take weeks for them to recover – and that means weeks in which they won’t be growing much, if at all.
You can also check the moisture of your poppy seeds by sticking your finger about an inch down into the soil. If it’s damp still, you shouldn’t need to water – or you should wait until this spot is dry before watering again. It may take a little trial and error before you figure out the perfect watering schedule for your poppy seeds, but once you do, it doesn’t take much effort to keep them watered.
When and How to Harvest Poppy Seed
The seed matures at different times depending on where the poppy grew, so timing the harvest becomes more difficult.
The pod will be ripe and the seed will be ready to harvest when the pod has turned from green to brown. The seed can be removed by squeezing the pod and then shaking it over a container. The pods will not all mature at the same time, so you will have to go through the garden several times to get all of the seeds.
Another way to tell if the pods are ready is to look at the petals. When they begin to curl and turn brown, then it’s time for harvest. You can also pop a pod into your mouth and chew it up; if the seeds inside are hard, then you should wait until they become soft before harvesting them. The seeds will be ready to eat when they are black. To harvest the seed, you can either cut the pods off of the stem or clip them off with your fingers. Be careful not to damage the plant when harvesting.
Different Ways to Store Poppy Seed
The most popular way to store poppy seed is in an airtight container. This will help to keep the spice fresh for a long period of time. Another benefit of using an airtight container is that it will help to protect the poppy seed from pests. However, one downside of this storage method is that it can be difficult to remove the poppy seed from the container.
Another way to store poppy seed is by freezing it. This is a good option if you only plan to use the poppy seed occasionally. Freezing the poppy seed will help to keep it fresh for a longer period of time. Additionally, freezing the poppy seed will prevent it from going bad.
A third option for storing poppy seed is by using a jar. This is a good option if you want to be able to see the poppy seed. Additionally, this storage method is good for people who want to be able to smell the poppy seed. One downside of using a jar is that it can be difficult to get the poppy seed out of the jar.
Ultimately, the best way to store poppy seed depends on your individual needs and preferences. If you are looking to store the poppy seed for a long period of time, then it is best to use an airtight container. If you only plan to use the poppy seed occasionally and need access to it at all times, then freezing or using a jar may be effective.
Other Things of Interest About Poppy Seed
- Poppy Seed is the most widely used herb in Eastern Europe
- Poppy seed can be found in many baked goods, particularly in poppyseed cake
- These seeds are also crushed into oil for Middle Eastern food and salad dressings
- Poppy seed can range in color from black to white depending on how much it has been processed
- The flavor of poppy seed is slightly sweet and nutty
- Poppy seeds do not contain opiates, but they are used to make poppyseed oil
- Poppy seed is also an ingredient in many teas. The tea can be either consumed or used as an herbal bath for the treatment of anxiety and insomnia.
- Poppy seed contains a high amount of protein and essential fatty acids, which are necessary for good health. Source
- The oil obtained from poppy seeds is used in flavoring many cigarettes.
Conclusion: Now you have a better understanding of how to grow poppies from seed. By following the simple steps outlined in this article, you can enjoy these beautiful flowers in your garden for years to come.