TUTORIAL:

Growing Papaver Somniferum Poppies

(Part 1 of 5):



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When, Where, and How to Grow Somniferum Poppies (1 of 5)


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  • Week 1

    Preparation & Germination

      During Germination, & throughout their Seedling Stages, Temperatures MUST be between º33 and º65 Degrees (F) or º1-º18 Degrees (C).

      It can take up to 2 Weeks for germination. Make sure to follow our Tips in the Videos on how to Protect them from Birds & Slugs during those first few weeks.

      YES, they DO need LIGHT to Germinate and they HATE being Transplanted.

    But can withstand warmer Temps when Mature

    Seeds take roughly 2 weeks to Sprout. Alternatively, you can plant half your seeds in the Fall, and half in the Spring, but if you get a lot of snow in your area, they’ll die.

  • Week 2-3

    Planting Poppy Seeds

    Poppies CAN be very easy to grow, and can also grow almost anywhere in the world, and require very little maintenance (once they get going). Generally speaking, growing poppies can be done almost anywhere.

    HOW to plant, simply cast seeds on top of loose, moist soil. No need to bury them – but you can gently press them into the ground, or toss a very thin layer of soil on top. You can mix your Seeds with Sand to Spread them as you cast them, but SALT works best, as it retains Moisture, prevents clumping, AND deters Slugs from eating sprouts. 

    Papapver Somniferum Poppy Seedling Sprout
    1 to 2 Weeks

    • WHEN to plant will depend on which USDA Zone you are located in, but generally, seeds will sprout whenever Temps rise above Freezing (32, as Poppies prefer cool Temperatures during the Germination and Seedling stages. 
    • Poppy Seeds can be planted in either FALL, early SPRING, or BOTH (depending on how Mild your Winters are.
    • Results of Planting in Fall will provide earlier, and much larger blooms the following Spring, whereas Planting in Spring will still result in a spectacular display of Blooms, but just in early Summer.

BELOW, I WILL REPLY TO ANY QUESTIONS YOU HAVE ABOUT GROWING 

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196 Comments

  1. Gweneth H.
    06/04/2014 @ 2:28 am

    Thanks so much for this wonderful Tutorial. I ordered some of your seeds early this summer and all of them have bloomed beautifully!!
    The shipping was a bit slow, but well worth the wait! (besides, I don’t expert you guys to be expert shippers. You’re already expert farmers/breeders)
    Thanks!!
    -Gwen

    Reply

  2. JohnnyPoppySeed
    06/18/2014 @ 9:12 am

    Hi. I have a few questions. Do Poppy seeds need light to Germinate? If so, can I start them under a Light indoors, the Transplant them outside once they sprout? Because I tried germinating some outside, and some inside (but without a light).
    The ones outside sprouted, and are about 3-4 weeks old (about 3″ to 4″ inches tall too) – But I noticed the at the base of the plant is very flimsy and weak. So much so, that the plants are kinda laying on their Sides. Should I be concerned?
    They seem healthy, but I’m afraid this may effect their development or won’t be able to support them once they’re top-heavy.
    Thanks!!

    Reply

  3. OrganicalBotanicals
    06/18/2014 @ 10:14 am

    Hey Johhny. lol Nice name!!
    – YES, Poppies DO need light to Germinate and they also need Cool Temperatures to Germinate. If the Daytime Highs in your area are reaching anything above 75ºF, it will be much more difficult. But there are always solutions to this, such as planting them in a Location that provides Mid-day shade. Even though Poppies prefer FULL SUN, they’ll still grow in spots that get “Part-time” Full Sun (you’ll just get smaller plants, that aren’t as robust). SEE OUR TUTORIAL PAGE ON THIS HERE

    -Poppies HATE Transplanting and they’re the most Sensitive little Bitches in the Botanical Kingdom (maybe they should use some of their own medicine huh?). So if you must move them, Start them in Peat Pellets, Peat Pots, or anything else you can put directly in the ground without disturbing their Roots. Usually, there’s an “Acclimation” period of a couple weeks if you move them from Indoors, to outdoors. Or you can grow them to Maturity in Larger Pots. I recommend 5 Gallon Pots but again, these sensitive bitches want well-draining Soil, and with Pots, Soil tends to compact every time they get watered. So what I do is line the bottom of the Pot with a 2″ inch layer of Round Drainage Rocks that won’t plug the drainage holes. Then, pour some Perlite on top of the Rock Layer. This will fill all the Gaps between the Rocks to support the Soil, while still allowing water to flow like a RaceHorse’s urine Stream. Then you can add your Potting Soil Mix (which should also contain a good amount of Perlite mixed in – don’t use heavy Composts in Pots. If anything, use Organic Fertilizers like Bone Meal, Blood Meal, Feather Meal, Greensand, etc). If you really want to get technical, you can layer your Fertilizers based on their needs during different Growth Stages. So obviously you’d put your Phosphorous at the Bottom for Flowering, but Nitrogen THROUGHOUT as they are Nitrogen Dominant.

    -The flimsy, weak Stem base is perfectly normal!! (SEE OUR VIDEO about this) In fact, this becomes essential for them once they mature. DO NOT Cover them with Soil or you’ll ruin them. The reason they develop in this way is to provide themselves with extra flexibility, so that once they do mature and become Top-Heavy with Pods, their stems won’t SNAP on a windy day. The reason for this, actually has to do with reproduction. Sometimes the crowns of the Poppy Pods will “POP” at Maturity on a hot Summer day, which shoots seeds in all directions. But sometimes, depending on the Variety, or environment, they won’t. So instead, on a Windy day, that “flexibility” will allow them to lay down without snapping the Stem (and it’s vital that the plants stay in the ground for the seeds to mature). So they’ll actually finish maturing while laying down sideways (I’m talking about in Nature, of course – when we had a windy, late summer day once, I came home to all my poppies laying down and spent the rest of the day propping them all back upright). But in Nature, this gives them a much better chance to reproduce since all it takes is a Deer to step on one, or a Bird to Peck at them (birds love Poppy seeds btw, to beware).

    Hope this helps.
    I’ve updated our Video Tutorials HERE as I’ve shot some footage on how to keep your Seeds & Sprouts safe from Birds & Slugs.
    It’s also Featured on WikiHow.com HERE (and am one of the Original Authors)
    So check back here often.
    Thanks!
    -OrgBot
    CLICK HERE to go back to the Section of this Blog that sent you here)

    Reply

  4. Damien
    06/19/2014 @ 7:42 am

    Hi. I put mine indoor on top of peat pellets and lightly pushed them down a bit. Within 3 days I saw little white things coming out of some of the seeds. Was happy. But in the next few days these white things died off and white mould began to cover the whole surface of the peat pellets. This was indoors and also the peat pellet tray was covered by a plastic dome like a small greenhouse. Frustrated now… Any suggestions? 🙂

    P.S. I kept the peat pellets moist by putting water at the bottom of the tray. About 2.5 cm of water.

    Reply

    • OrganicalBotanicals
      06/19/2014 @ 8:38 am

      Hey Damien. Yeah, those little white hairs are actually the Seeds gripping onto the Soil. But it sounds like something that typically happens when there was too much moisture, and not enough air circulation.
      It’s even happened to me. You gotta make sure you take the lid off and don’t allow there to be stagnant water.
      You said they were indoors? Any reason for the lid if they were indoors? You only would need to use that if they were outdoors to keep the birds from eating them (or frost from freezing them if it were early Spring).
      Also, what kind of light were you using indoors? And what was the average indoors Temp.??
      But like I said in the Post above, Poppies are Sensitive little Bitches – What Variety were you trying to plant?
      -OrgBot

      Reply

  5. Damien
    06/19/2014 @ 8:40 am

    P.S. To my previous comment. I read more of your page and realised that I was trying to grow them in quite a HOT room. You said they prefer cooler. My mistake.

    Reply

    • OrganicalBotanicals
      06/19/2014 @ 11:19 am

      Hey, no problem. But each Variety responds to temperature and/or Moisture differently depending on Genetics.
      But I guess mistakes are how we learn to be better- and I appreciate you sharing your concern here in the Blog so that others can hopefully learn something too.
      I actually shot a whole New Segment of my Tutorial Video (above – but have not yet added it into ) where I talk about all that didn’t get covered in the original Tutorial.
      Most of it has to do with Germination since it’s usually the one area people struggle most with.
      SO if you SUBSCRIBE FOR OUR UPDATES either here, or on Twitter or Facebook. I will be announcing it when it’s finished.
      Until then, please don’t hesitate to submit other questions u may have at anytime – I’ll gladly advise.
      -OrgBot

      Reply

      • Damien
        06/20/2014 @ 5:32 am

        Thanks so much. I subscribed everywhere I could. The temperature was a steady +19C (+66F) and there was zero air circulation and plenty of very stagnant water. I will try drip/ spray next time instead of filling the bottom of the tub full of water. I am planting Papaver Somniferum (blue, apparently). Also I do not have a lamp. I was depending on what little sunlight passes through the window. From what I understood from you, I should try:

        – no stagnant water (use drips or spray)
        – running air
        – special light if indoors
        – lower temperature (during the day outdoors is not 12-16C (53-60F) during the day and considerably lower at night (9C/ 48F).

        P.S. Those white things coming out of the seedlings seemed to be pointing anything but down. Is that an issue? Since that is the beginning of a root system.

        Again, really appreciate your help. Very useful site and pages.

        Reply

        • OrganicalBotanicals
          06/21/2014 @ 6:36 am

          Hey Damien.
          These are good questions you ask and I hope other can benefit from them too.
          You actually have the right idea about watering from the bottom – especially when using Peat Pellets (which is what I prefer).
          That way the seeds won’t get washed away, moved, or disturbed when watered, and it also promotes root growth.
          But what you want to do is allow the water to drain, and just water them fairly often (at least until they sprout)- as long as the water and the air keeps circulating.
          This might sound like twice the hassle, but what I do is buy some Peat “POTS” (any size will do, but I just get small ones that are just big enough for the Peat Pellet to fit into.
          In case u don’t know, the Peat Pots are just those little Bio-Degradable Pots that you can plant directly into the grown.
          All the ones I’ve seen have a drainage hole at the bottom – so I’d put a little Potting Soil in the Pots, then I’d put the Pellets into the Pots, making sure that when I bury the Pellets into the Pots, the Pellets slightly protrude above the Soil Line of the Pot (maybe 1/4″ inch or so).
          But at the same time, the Soil Line in the Peat POT, is slightly BELOW the very top of it’s own Rim. (imagine a Mote surrounding your Pellet in the center).

          In fact, you won’t need to imagine much, because that’s actually how you’d want to water your Seeds. This will allow a well draining way to water, while still doing it from below the seed.

          An alternative to Watering them from below, is Ice Cubes (which also reduces Temps.) Put an Ice cube on top of each Pellet (or set a Pellet on TOP of an Ice Cube depending on your area of planting (it could last all the way up until they sprout in some USDA Zones. But it’s one of my secrets I have never shared before this Blog Post.

          The only reason I asked about stagnant water, was because that is what will cause the Mold. Mold likes anything that’s wet, warm, and does’t move. So there’s not really need for a “Fan” to be blowing on them if that’s what you’re thinking.

          If you must start indoors, they MUST have light. The only ones you can use while keeping Temps down are Fluorescent Tube Lights. I use the 4″ ones and you can get the Ballasts at a hardware store for like $20 bucks (and you can keep it on for 24 hours/day)

          Any particular reason you’re starting them indoors? What USDA Zone are you in?

          I try not to encourage starting indoors unless u absolutely have no other choice because, it takes them an additional 2 weeks to Acclimate at which point their Growth will be stunted.

          So if you have a way of protecting the Seeds and Sprouts from Birds, Pests, & Slugs our-doors, put your container full of your Pots/Pellets in a spot that get at least a half-day of Sun (I use a clear Storage Bin about 8″ deep, but since the Lid isn’t Clear, I use it up-side-down (then prop it up a half inch on one side with a rock or whatever to allow for air). I show that in my next Tutorial too.

          Aynways, if possible, Poppies like FULL SUN. The you give them, the more they’re give back to you.

          P.S.- Yes, those white things reach in every Direction possible – this is the Seed’s way of figuring everything about it’s environment -from things as simple as “which way is up”, to other things Such as their surroundings (are there other plants, seeds, or poppies competing for the same Real estate?. Then they also grip the solid with these hairs to avoid being blown or washed away.

          -Hope this helps,
          -OrgBot

          Reply

  6. communityclerks1
    07/06/2014 @ 6:09 am

    Nice Tutorial!! Thanks!!

    Reply

  7. John
    07/06/2014 @ 5:28 pm

    I’m new at growing poppies and I also have some questions I wanted to ask you about. For one, I was curious as to what soil/medium has worked best for you overall for poppies in general and also specifically with the Izmir Afghan strain? Secondly, I wanted to know what you thought the best time would be to move my poppies outdoors and/or to start new seedlings outside. I was thinking the fall since I live in hot Florida but wanted to see what you thought.

    Reply

    • OrganicalBotanicals
      07/11/2014 @ 12:06 am

      For Soil, they really like any soil as long as it’s loose and well-craned. I wouldn’t recommend “moving” poppies unless you have to (even if they’re in movable containers) – only because of the time it takes for them to acclimate to the outdoors.
      But the best time would be right after your last frost. You could also Plant in the Fall and they will “over-Winter” to give you earlier blooms the following year – But only if your Winters aren’t too harsh. Cuz if you get a lot of snow, that will usually kill them.

      Reply

  8. marcodeim
    07/15/2014 @ 3:53 pm

    Hi, I will be placing and order as soon as I get some information regarding your poppy seeds you have on your site. The pictures and details of your products are amazing and as a customer I am extremely appreciative of that, so thank you. The first question is, are the “Tazzies” you offer the notable 30% average alkaloid strains are commercially grown in Tasmania as the description suggests? The second question is which of the poppies you would chose for the greatest success in growing in a medium sized indoor greenhouse, the White Afghan Peshawar or the Tazzies?

    Thank you and kindest regards,
    Mark

    Reply

    • marcodeim
      07/15/2014 @ 4:32 pm

      P.S. What is the best method that will quickly extract the seeds from the dried pods without destroying the pods? I need massive amounts of seeds for baking and haven’t figured out an efficient method yet. I did not fully understand what was in your video regarding this, the small vent holes on the tops of my dried pods are always completely sealed, maybe I have a strange variety? Thanks again.

      Reply

      • OrganicalBotanicals
        07/20/2014 @ 2:06 pm

        To answer your Question regarding the Harvest of Seed. Take a narrow object with a pointy tip (such as a Nail) and simply poke the thin membranes around the top of the crown where the Natural Holes are supposed to be. This should not require much force.
        It will become obvious to you where to Poke, because it will penetrate quite easily into the places where the natural hole haven’t opened.
        There will be divider walls that won’t allow you to poke in the wrong area which will act as your spacer guides.
        Thanks!
        -OrgBot

        Reply

    • OrganicalBotanicals
      07/20/2014 @ 1:58 pm

      @marcodeim – Sorry you hadn’t received my reply, but I did reply to your original Message that you sent via our Contact Us Page. But YES, the “Tazzies” ARE indeed the ones you’re talking about. I would normally charge much more for those, but their Germination Rate isn’t as good as I had hoped, therefore, the Price is much lower so that Clients will get more Seed for the Buck.
      The Poppies I suggest for your Indoor Greenhouse are our “Izmire Afgani’s”, which are superb in their overall quality and they are Quick Maturing Variety (only 55 days from seed to pod). Their Yield is out of this world!! Although a bit Pricey, they are worth every penny.
      Hope this helps.
      -OrgBot

      Reply

  9. Mark
    07/20/2014 @ 2:28 pm

    Hi, Thank you so much for the response, it helped me tremendously in picking the right flower instead of a whole lot of trial and error. Your website is amazing and the info you have on growing poppies is invaluable.

    Thanks again,
    Mark

    Reply

    • Mark
      07/20/2014 @ 2:39 pm

      P.S. This is “marcodeim” from the above questions. Thank you!

      Reply

  10. ListingDock
    11/15/2014 @ 8:40 pm

    This Tutorial offers some great tips on growing Poppies!!
    Thanks!!

    Reply

  11. James J.
    11/18/2014 @ 10:34 am

    Thanks for all the advices ! Great site & infos. Continue the good work really appreciated.

    Reply

  12. Jay P.
    11/22/2014 @ 1:45 am

    Great tutorial! I bought some of your poppy seeds last Spring and couldn’t have had the great outcome of awesome flowers and pods i had, without the information in this Tutorial.
    Jay P.

    Reply

  13. liber8tor
    11/25/2014 @ 9:15 am

    I live deep in hardiness zone 9-10. (Almost tropical) I waited until cool weather because I read that Soms like cooler/cold. I germinated in nice big containers and also open-sowed some.

    They all germinated in about 7 days, but now they refuse to grow? They have been sitting there as tiny micro- seedlings for about 7 weeks. now…still not growing. Healthy, green,…… but stunted.

    I thought that maybe it had something to do with Soms requiring a lengthy germination period under the snow. Fortunately, we are not going to get any snow in this area. lol

    I am a master gardner and have a healthy collection of Orchids and other specialty plants, but these little Soms are the most tricky, timid , sensitive plants I have ever tried to grow.

    Any ideas? Maybe Soms just won’t grow in this latitude.

    Reply

    • OrganicalBotanicals
      11/26/2014 @ 3:05 am

      They won’t start growing until they feel it starting to warm up. I sometimes “over-Winter” poppies here in WA by planting in Fall, and they just stay at one single size until it starts to warm, them you’ll get early blooms!
      -OrgBot

      Reply

  14. ricky
    12/30/2014 @ 7:41 am

    I’ve recently purchased a small mixture of seeds about 4 days ago and can’t wait for them to arrive so as to see which ones are best to grow here at the Floor/Bama line . I’m not sure how long shipping is expected but should I start them outdoors then bring indoors for maturity?

    Reply

    • ricky
      01/01/2015 @ 3:11 pm

      Any info at all is helpful

      Reply

      • OrganicalBotanicals
        03/28/2015 @ 11:43 am

        No, you won’t be able to bring them to maturity Indoors. They require too much light.
        -OrgBot

        Reply

  15. PoppiesXYZ
    01/13/2015 @ 10:06 pm

    Thanks for this highly educational post.
    I have yet to come across any SINGLE Website with such an extensive array of accurate & educated Tips, Information, and Tutorials.
    -PoppiesXYZ

    Reply

  16. Susan
    01/24/2015 @ 1:47 pm

    Should I Cool the poppy somniferun seeds before sowing? If they are started inside, but not in peat pots, would you transplant to garden before the roots hit the side of the insert cell?

    I did this once before and didn’t remember it took this much attention. Thanks for all the good tips!

    Reply

    • hiroko rowena
      02/05/2015 @ 8:53 am

      From my experience, it helps to cool them, yes. What do you mean by “Insert Cell”? Are you talking about a Peat Pellet? Or something else?
      -hiroko rowena

      Reply

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    01/29/2015 @ 6:37 pm

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    Reply

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