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How to plant these poppies

05/15/2013 in poppies

Sometimes, I trade/share some of my seeds. More than any other flower, people seem to be interested in the poppies.
Who can blame them… I started my garden with them back in ’89. Poppies and chicory… the chicory didn’t make it… the rodents kept eating it…


As easy as these things are to grow in the vegetable garden, I tend to forget that there are people that will try to grow them outside the garden, even after being warned to plant them in the vegetable garden…

I scattered them in spots where I’d previously had luck with poppies, but no luck this time.

Some things wrong with this statement…

  1. poppies are naturalizers… if they were happy, they should still be there.
  2. You need to prep the soil… no scratching the top of the soil… get in there, and shovel dig the bed, and then add soil amendments, just like if you were planting lettuce
  3. Also… When scattering new seed, it’s a good practice to hold some seed back… so if something happened to the initial planting, the seeds can be planted again


Once planted, they should always be there… unless you make a deliberate effort to get rid of them… Matter of fact… the only time I ever lost a patch was when the electric company brought their heavy equipment and drove it back and forth over the top of my flowers… They didn’t survive that!

When planting these seed in poor soil… you probably shouldn’t expect much…

And… when the soil is really good, and you sow the seed too thickly… You will need to thin… if you allow them to thin themselves… the result will not be pretty.

I started my purple strain with white poppies and double red



They both still show up…

Someone that wanted a project could take these seed and select for about anything… I haven’t made any effort to keep the doubles around, although I had some nice double whites last year…


In selecting for color, I take a multi-pronged approach… I use the flagging that you can buy at any hardware store to mark the plants with the best flowers…

And… sometimes, I get colours that I’d as soon not keep in the gene-pool…


Personally, I want a lot of colours in my poppy blend, but someone who wanted stable colours would probably end up tossing a lot more plants on the weed pile.

You will need to use bird netting to protect the plants from the goldfinches, if you want to save seed to share…


As cute as the goldfinches are… they can’t have all the poppies…


Any other questions? comments? please use the form!

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9 responses to How to plant these poppies

  1. I love poppies. I grow a different variety then yours. Mine are the California poppy family. I have the golden yellow, and a lovely sunset. Mine are all container grown, and seem to do quite well on the deck.

  2. Donna said on 05/16/2013

    Enjoyed your poppy show. You are right, they need to like where they are planted for sure.

  3. When I have sown poppy seed, nothing happens, they appear elsewhere in the garden in some of the most amazing places. I keep sowing seed to try and have a double black, but nothing comes up, I give up!

    • stone said on 05/17/2013

      I’m sorry to hear that poppies don’t like your English garden, Pauline…
      I’m still trying to wrap my mind around that…
      But… don’t give up, instead… lets figure out how and when and where you’ve been planting.
      In your zone 8 garden, planting time should be the same as here… mid October.
      There does tend to be one other difficulty here that I forgot to mention in the above post… winter rye tends to do a good job of crowding out the poppy seedlings.
      As wet as it seems to be in your cottage garden, might it be too wet or too shady where you’ve been sowing?
      Might need to stake out a bit of high ground for a raised bed… like you did with the tulips…

  4. Donna said on 06/10/2013

    I know I commented already, but I have a question. This year right before each pod opened, something can along and bit them off. Did not eat them, but it looked like the animal did it to tick me off. No deer, but we have rabbits, possum and a raccoon. The poppies are about two feet off the ground too, and just the heads were bitten off. The yard is fenced in, so it was not kids or dogs. I was perplexed.

    • stone said on 06/10/2013

      I’ve read that the deer will do that sort of thing… Are you sure that you don’t have deer? What about mooses… Is Bullwinkle hanging about?

      I had voles chewing the pods open this year, and… I’d much prefer to feed the birds then the rodents.

  5. I Reeeeeally would like to try growing poppys here in florida. If someone can send me seed, Not only will i replace the seed with seed from those flowers when they seed,but also, I will send right away roma basil seed from my plants which currently(9-27-2013) are 4 feet tall and have leaves 3 inches wide and some even have grown to 4 inches.
    I began all of my basil ‘bushes from seed and always have a new crop growing.
    I want the poppy seeds to grow them along the edges of the basil beds (15) each 5×5.
    poppys seem to be the best thing to plant there because first, the reseed, second, they are thin enough so as to not block out ALL of the light from the basil,and 3 I think the contrast of the dark green basil and the blue tinted plant portion of the poppy will look nice even before the poppy flower opens.

    If there are any takers on this deal, contact me at

  6. There’s one thing you failed to mention that happened this year in my garden. Poppy seedlings were sparse. Then I found the bottles of poppy seeds that I THOUGHT I scattered last fall. Too late.

    California poppies never fail to scatter their own seeds. Unfortunately too many of the seedlings were in the lawn but there is plenty of bright bloom. Corn poppies are showing up, too.

    • stone said on 05/06/2015

      I don’t have that experience.
      My poppies need thinning if I sow them… But the goldfinches drop just the right amount of seed for a good stand.
      California poppies on the other hand… Don’t come back for me.
      Corn poppies tend to come back sparse, and orientals and Iceland poppies don’t live long enuff to produce viable seed.

      Poppies in the lawn… Yay!
      The less turf we’re mowing…. The better!

      Ok… Just checked your poppy report…
      I actually did mention that we get a sparse showing in poor soil…
      Looks like you need to find a stable.

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