How to Grow Poppies

5 min read

Poppies are used for a variety of reasons and they are known for the outstanding aesthetic that they create. Some people use poppies as the base for a garden, while others use them as a border. Whatever the case may be, it doesn’t change the fact that poppies add an amazing layer of color and grace. However, poppies are not simply used in a recreational manner. There are numerous cultures and religions that use the poppy flower for various symbolic meanings. There are over 100 different species in the poppy family, though many people are familiar with one. The opium poppy is the most popular of them all. However, there are other common ones such as the oriental poppy, corn poppy, and the Flanders field poppy. In this piece, you can expect to see poppy growing tips, planting advice, seed preparation, and general care tips for poppy growth.

Poppy Growth Tips

Poppies need some level of heat to thrive. However, you must ensure that the temperature around them is not too high. If they are overheated, they may end up not having a healthy growth pattern. If the heat in your area is not too intense, then you have no issue. However, if you have blazing heat, then partial sun is your best bet. Note that germination requires light. This means that you need to balance this with ensuring that the heat isn’t too intense. For best results, at least six hours of daily light is necessary during the germination phase. A poppy’s oil preference is that which is well-drained. Fertilizing need only take place once annually, as even poor soil is habitable for poppies. Mixing poppy seeds with sand makes for a more even spread throughout the soil. Also, sow the seeds directly into their permanent space for optimal growth.

Seed Planting

Before planting poppy seeds, it is necessary for you to go through a preparation phase. Be sure that you prepare your soil beds prior to the planting process. If the soil has a high clay or fertilizer content, it must be adjusted before you begin. Use a rake to break apart small lumps in the garden. Following this, you may get rid of lumps and stones. Try to dig in two inches or more of compost for better drainage of clay-filled soil. Once you’ve done that, you can begin planting. Sparingly sprinkle your sand and seed mixture throughout the focus area. After germination has completed, you may thin the plants after they have achieved 5 cm in height. For thinning, about 25-30 cm is enough. Feel free to cut back at stems that seem ready for new growth. Prepare to enjoy the fruits of your labor every year.

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Container Growth

There isn’t much difference between doing this and growing your poppies in a traditional flower bed. First, you must fill the desired container with acceptable soil. This soil is best left unfertilized or lightly fertilized. You need a trench in the soil for the planting of the seeds. You can use the tip of your finger to make an acceptable one. Once you have your trench, sprinkle the seeds into it. You may then cover the seeds with soil. Until germination has occurred, the seeds must be kept in a sunny area. Note that the soil must also be kept in a moist state. You can thin the plants to being 10 cm apart once germination has occurred and the plants are empty. Do not water the plants unless the top 1 cm of soil has dried. Again, sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Poppy Planting Conditions and Purposes

There is no single set of conditions that defines what is optimal for the growth of every species of poppy. It is best to do your own research based on the species that you plan to grow. Note, however, that the general steps surrounding the sowing of the seeds are applicable across the board. There is an incredible catalog of shapes and colors that people grow poppies for. Some people use their seeds in household activities such as baking. Others want to bring wildlife to their gardens. Poppies are very effective at bringing in creatures such as hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees. The good thing about poppies is how versatile they are as their seeds can be sown in many places. Indoor and garden beds and borders, as well as containers and pots can all work. What you want to do with poppies is up to you.

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General Maintenance

Poppies don’t require the level of special care that many other plants do once they get going. However, you do need to follow the seed preparation and sowing tips above to get to that point. The plants are self-sustaining, which explains why they can thrive in so many different circumstances. In fact, they make their own seeds routinely. This is the reason that they can continue to reproduce yearly. Little to no human intervention is needed for this to take place. You can encourage this, however, by leaving a couple of the spent flower heads once flowering season is over. This encourages the formation of seed pods. You can also elect to plant different plants yearly. If so, break stalks of dead flowers below the head and remove them. Doing so improves new flower development.  It also helps with an extension of the flowering period.

Recap

In this article, you learned a bit about the majestic poppy plants. This learning included some cool details, as well as basic information for growing them yourself. Here’s a little recap of that information. Poppies come in over 100 different species, and they have religious, recreational, and cultural significance. Poppy plants don’t require much maintenance post-germination and growth. The seeds need six hours of daily light exposure without too much heat up until germination. The soil should be fertilizer free or low on fertilizer, as well as low on clay. Poppies have numerous applications, which include household tasks such as baking. The seeds are self-sustaining, and they require little assistance for reproduction.

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