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Sow annual poppy seeds now

As plant nerds we all go through different plant fetishes. I’ve been through numerous “species obsessions” including the Geraniums, the lilies, and the Dianthus just to name a few. And currently I’m into Carex in a big way. But I’ve been in love with poppies (both annual and perennial) for about as long as I can remember. I even have a history of “smuggling” poppy seeds into the USA in my “unmentionables”J when returning from a year and a half of work/study abroad 28 years ago. The best germination success of annual species, for the home gardener in colder climates, seems to occur when the seeds are sown directly in February or March when the ground is free of snow. Also to ensure success I’ve learned to order fairly large quantities of seeds—one small packet just doesn’t cut it. I’m talking about getting ¼ lb. or even 1 lb. of seeds when available. I sow seeds of California poppy (Eschscholzia californica), Red Corn Poppy or Flanders Poppy (Papaver rhoeas), and Bread or Opium Poppy (Papaver somniferum) about the gardens in any available space. It is harder to find large quantities of opium poppy so it may require numerous smaller packets for best effect. A great source for seeds of poppies is Wildseed Farms Also remember to allow poppies to go to seed once you’ve got them established in the garden. You can even cut off the mature seed pods and spread them about in the desired location. Good luck with these gorgeous plants.

3 Responses to “Sow annual poppy seeds now”

  1. Kylee from Our Little Acreon Mar 12th 2009 at 7:32 pm

    Tracy, I remember very well the California poppies when I visited your garden two summers ago. There were a few in the bed right in front of your house by the porch and I was really struck by the randomness of seeing them scattered here and there amongst the perennials. I loved the effect and came home vowing to do the same. With California poppies. I got lots of foliage last summer and only one bloom! Is there a trick to them? Is this the trick…to sow them now?

  2. Beth Dayeon Mar 14th 2009 at 8:30 pm

    Tracy, you have inspired me to plant poppies this year. My yard is so bare. I bought a couple packets of seeds and tomorrow I’m going to sprinkle them in the bare spots. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

  3. Maryon Jul 20th 2009 at 4:20 pm

    I too was inspired…but alas. most of my poppies were weakand stringy. what did I do wrong? They had full sun.