TUTORIAL: How to Grow Somniferum Poppies FULL GUIDE

Grow Poppies (MOBILE Version)



  1. deej13
    04/13/2016 @ 9:37 am

    I sowed some poppies a few weeks ago and this morning I discovered small pastel yellow egg-shaped things dotted with white spots growing on the edge of the bed just behind my seedlings. I’ve researched it and it doesn’t sound like any common mold I’ve read about or something an insect may have left behind. I’m very new at this, I just need to know if this is harmful to the seedlings or I should just leave it be. Have you heard about these?

  2. HulGil
    05/13/2016 @ 1:06 pm


    Fantastic site on growing poppies you have here.
    I have about two dozen Peshawar White poppies growing that I planted exactly one month ago. I’m eager to see how they fare.
    I have them on a gentle slope facing southeast to get the morning sun…they get shade at about 2:30-3 p.m. They’re doing well so far. Zone 7, eastern U.S.
    Can you provide any additional information about Peshawar White poppies? (Reliable information about them seems hard to come by.)
    These are described as non GMO and 75 days to flower. They are not the same as the Elka Whites from eastern Europe are they?
    Regarding poppy genetic variation and interbreeding, would you recommend raising only one strain year after year, or a variety of somniferum strains and letting them freely interbreed? I wish to select the best plants for the hardiness zone where I live.

  3. HulGil
    05/15/2016 @ 12:44 pm

    Thanks for the reply, OrgBot.
    I had a couple of other questions regarding the Giganteum strain.
    Were they bred for increased seed production and are their alkaloid contents comparable to other strains grown for opium production?
    Do other strains occasionally produce large pods due to genetic variation?
    How many seeds are produced on average per pod of Giganteum? How many average per pod of non giant strains?

  4. Mike01100
    06/12/2016 @ 1:30 pm

    Je vie en France merci pour se site mes pavot somnifère pouce mais sont tous petit ils sont 10 dans un seul pots moyen je pense qu il ont pas assez de place je vais ressayer sa avec vos conseil
    Merci l Amérique

    • OrganicalBotanicals
      04/17/2016 @ 11:06 pm

      Hmmm, It would help if you could take a Pic and Upload it on our Plant ID Page – and I will do my best.

  5. mastershake
    06/20/2016 @ 2:19 pm

    Ok so Im a new poppy grower, I started some danish flag, Tasmanian purple, and Gigantium(not sure on spelling) in april and they germinated fine. I started them off in small pots under a cfl and transplanted them to 1gal plastic pots. Im unsure what to do at this point, they are inside under HID light on a 12/12 schedule and they are larger now very leafy and range from 6″ leaves and 6″ tall down to 3″ at the smallest. Can I put them outside? Will they start flowering? Its June 19th now. Im in the SF bay area Ca. Im unsure what to expect because I got a late start, I dont know what makes poppies go into flower? Please any advice on what to do would be greatly appreciated!!!

  6. auralharmony
    06/27/2016 @ 1:12 pm

    Actually found your site by accident, very informative…I am a baker and a gardener. I purchase poppy seeds in 25 pound boxes for baking, the seeds left on the counter I throw outside for the birds, well this spring I ended up with 9 large poopy plants and from what I see on Google image search they are Tasmanian white /purple. The other day I was weed whacking and hit one, the milky stuff came out orange colored, I always thought the sap was white. Long story short I looked it up and found something about a Norman poppy. I wanted to use these seeds even a little amount for my baking but now I am concerned that they are the Thebaine version, as a gardener I know that GM seeds are never released by large companies to the public so I am thinking that some poppies just have darker sap than others, what do you think? I can’t imagine the seeds I purchase in bulk would come from a possible deadly plant especially since I get these unwashed.

    thank you!

    P.S. I looked at interest at your ishmar red/white poppy seeds, if I purchased now are they still viable next spring?

    P.S. I saw your ishmar red/white poppies, if I buy seeds now

    • OrganicalBotanicals
      06/23/2016 @ 5:56 pm

      Pour envoyer une photo , s’il vous plaît le télécharger sur notre page ” ID usine ” – vous verrez un bouton qui dit ” Choisissez Fichier ” puis sélectionnez la photo à partir de votre ordinateur et cliquez sur «Envoyer» .

  7. John Tilley
    08/05/2016 @ 8:37 pm

    Thank you for the effort you put into this project. Very informative. Can’t wait to grow my beautiful poppy garden.

    • OrganicalBotanicals
      06/21/2016 @ 7:58 am

      That Timeline isn’t strict to the date, and Varies in each area. As long as your temps aren’t pushing 95(f)+ or more each day, then put them outside.
      I have Poppies of all Sizes on our Farm. Some which have finished blooming. Some that are about to bloom, some are not. Size doesn’t have a thing to do with them Blooming. They can bloom at ONE INCH. I’ve also had 7′ Footers blooming.
      Depends on several variables (especially what kind of childhood they had – and the temps it was when they were first born.

      • Jdub
        09/06/2016 @ 10:27 pm


        • OrganicalBotanicals
          06/23/2016 @ 5:44 pm

          I’ve had success transplanting them at 6″. But it’s a 50/50 chance. So only take the risk if you know you can afford it.

  8. falseflags
    08/07/2016 @ 10:00 am

    Thank you so much for creating, and maintaining, such a great site! It is a brilliant resource and I only wish that I had stumbled upon your site before planting Papaver somniferum seeds for the first time this year. It is certainly a learning experience trying to grow these plants for the first time and I hope my next attempt will be more successful. I am in U.S. Zone 8 and I think most of the 30 seedlings I started out with were killed by the intense heat. I’m growing in pots and trying to protect the three plants that I have left. Growth seems quite slow and all the plants seem to be going through the same cycle of the lower leaves turning brown and dying while the rest of the plant looks green, healthy and growing upright. This is the second time this has happened so far and I just wanted to ask if this is a normal stage of poppy growth.

    • mastershake
      06/21/2016 @ 5:41 pm

      Thanks for the reply…. Ok that puts my mind at ease…. I was a little concerned that the poppies were like Cannabis where if you mess with the photo period putting it into flower and then reversing, it can have really bad effects. Any way it sounds like I should be fine with my little guys and I can place them outside. It has been hot out so Ill watch out for heat waves and move them inside where it is cooler. I know Poppies don’t like to be transplanted but I’m wondering if I should move them into different pots/soil. I used a pretty mulchy potting soil and wanted to give them a perlite heavy mix, but at this point I’m not sure if that would do more harm than good? Like I said they are about 6″ and very leafy looking healthy

  9. J. Jambon
    09/10/2016 @ 7:54 pm


    I really like your videos and explanation but is there some ressources to know what does the plant need in terms of nutrient (N-P-K) because I’ve tried with some 10-52-10, 20-20-20 and stuff like those but no really good success.. the poppies are always small, juicy, but small. and I cant start them inside with ”jiffy’s” so I plant them right in ”promix”, is this good for them or is there a better soil type?

    thanks a lot -a huge fan of your work

  10. Adrian
    09/15/2016 @ 8:56 am

    I’ve just purchased some of your album ‘galania’ Afghan poppies which I am most grateful to have located again. You state in your information that this strain matures in 55 days and so professional farmers are able to make 4 plantings per year? I live in the UK latitude roughly 53 degrees north and 1 degree west. When would you recommend I begin planting for optimum yield and how many plantings could I make in a single year?
    Kind Regards

    • OrganicalBotanicals
      07/21/2016 @ 2:01 pm

      Many people are unaware of this, but the Somniferum Poppy is a NITROGEN Dominant Species and requires more Nitrogen during ALL Growth Stages than any other of the Major Three (N-P-K).
      That does’t mean they don’t also need Phosphorous and Potash, but Nitrogen should always be highest.
      What I like to do is buy Organic Fertilizer ONLY (Good Earth).
      Then prior to planting, I mix my solid with something like a 6-3-3 ratio of NON-water Solubles. (Bone/Feather Meal, Seashells, Greensand, etc)
      Also, if you plant poppies in the same place every year, make sure you always re-fertilize the Soil before planting again.
      I talk about this everywhere in this Tutorial.
      I’m surprised you haven’t caught it.
      Remember there are TWO types of Bat Guano. One rich in Nitrogen, and one rich in Phosphorousdepending on whether they were Nocturnal Bats, or Night Sleepers.
      Also, what stage are your plants at? You say it’s been in the 80’s & 90’s?
      Poppies might sprout in those temps, but they surely won’t continue into the Cabbage Stage (or any other stage for that matter).
      I mean, you could try. But I’d call it a miracle if you got them to go into a Cabbage Stage with those kinda Temps.
      Temps MUSt be much cooler.
      You try my “ICE METHOD” using Pots as explained in our “Late Bloomers” Tutorial–> HERE

      • mastershake
        06/20/2016 @ 2:27 pm

        Ok so Im a new poppy grower, I started some danish flag, Tasmanian purple, and Gigantium(not sure on spelling) in april and they germinated fine. I started them off in small pots under a cfl and transplanted them to 1gal plastic pots. Im unsure what to do at this point, they are inside under HID light on a 12/12 schedule and they are larger now very leafy and range from 6″ leaves and 6″ tall down to 3″ at the smallest. Can I put them outside? Will they start flowering? Its June 19th now. Im in the SF bay area Ca. Im unsure what to expect because I got a late start, I dont know what makes poppies go into flower? Please any advice on what to do would be greatly appreciated!!!

        Just realized today is the longest day of the year and its when pre bloom is to begin. My poppies seem way too small for this stage, as I said the largest ones are about 6″tall with 6″ leaves. I think the way I started them lead to a slow growth. So Im still unsure what to do with them at this point. Anyway thanks for reading!

        • OrganicalBotanicals
          05/14/2016 @ 6:31 am

          Nice Username!! LOL – The so called “Elka” is simply the first RECORDED Genetic history in regards to the ‘White Seeded’ Variety of the Somniferum Poppy. The one thing that is scientific fact about the white seeded varieties, are that they hold a higher oil content than the grey/blue varieties.
          Which makes me question why they aren’t used more often for Culinary purposes, since they offer a lightly sweeter taste than their blue brothers.
          In fact, I’ve never seen them on ANY Spice rack for that matter.
          I’ve even had people try to tell me on youtube that there’s no such thing as “White Opium Poppy Seeds”.
          There is also the ‘Album’ Variety- which are also white (or off-white) in Color.
          I believe the Afghan Peshawar Poppy Seeds are also the Album var.
          The only GMO Poppy Seeds out there (besides the ‘Norman’ Strain, which was NEVER released to the Public) that I’ve heard of is, the ‘Izmir Afghan Galania GMO Poppy Seed’ which we have been breeding since 2006 (and are also of the ‘Album’ Variety).
          You can use different methods to avoid cross-breeding. Such as planting them in Staggered stages (about 3 weeks apart) per Variety.
          You can also use clothespins on the Petals (which can be difficult), or you can build Screenboxes and place them over the entire plant (during bloom stage only) to keep bees out.
          Thee ONLY way they will “Cross” is by the ‘Bee’.
          I guess the human can cause them to cross pollinate too if they touch multiple Poppy Stamens/Pods.
          Otherwise, each flower will simply ‘self-pollinate’ a copy of themselves.
          Remember that RED is Dominant in the Poppy world. So if you were to let a mixed field of poppies continue to ‘Cross’ year after year, eventually, they’d all end up Red (or have Red in them).
          2nd dominant is the Blues (which are actually purple). But ‘Purple’ is actually not a proper ‘Poppy Somniferum’ term.
          (just in case u happen to see someone trying to sell ‘Purple Tasmanian Somniferum Seeds’, you’ll know they are very inexperienced- I’d avoid’em)

  11. ididit86
    09/18/2016 @ 12:29 am

    So I am relatively new to gardening, but just became aware of a technique to extend blooming period for plants by “dead-heading”, which as I understand it, it clipping off a pod, just above the lower cabbage, after it flowers. Apparently this will induce the plant to continue flowering from the base upward again. Any comments concerning this technique if you have ever tried it, or heard of others doing so? I am experimenting with a continual growth cycle, and presently with 24 hr lighting, and am interested in this concept which additionally suggests a method of continually growing the same plant. I am experimenting with lighting and selection of various plants to have year long plant pots that can be brought in during cold and set back outside weather permitting. The possible impacts on seed, plant, and genetic quality, even with appropriately addressed nutritional supplementation, do make me wonder if this is frankly a collection of stupid ideas. I am a bit of a scientist at heart, and things like this do perk my interest I must admit… Pushing boundaries and such. I also am guilty of getting too excited with fertilizer, and killed off a majority of a beautiful (and what I can only estimate as a 99.99% germination of your excellent seeds [within both varieties I ordered to boot]). Any thoughts on if the survivors, who had minimal 2 leaf stage edge mush, are worth growing out or should I plant anew? I don’t really understand the implications of later plant life based on early trauma, should it be corrected. LONG Post..sorry about that. The best apology I suppose is genuinely recommending others to not think twice about the quality of your seeds, as my experience has been a PHENOMINAL Seed germination and readiness to grow! In terms of eBay reviews, A+++++++++ Great seller! Lol.

  12. Connor
    09/27/2016 @ 10:38 am

    I got a couple questions for you, what are your thoughts on Sincerely Nuts brand of seeds to grow?

    But more importantly, I live in New England and have a green house that is not being used. Do you think I could possibly grow poppies in it from now until winter? And how long does it take for them to finish? 2-3 months? How often should they be watered?

    Thank you my friend

  13. Subhut
    10/05/2016 @ 7:54 am

    Sorry, I meant…:

    I am having the problem you describe in your page “‘Why Poppy Stems so Floppy?”, but my plants always die’.

  14. ididit86
    10/09/2016 @ 6:57 pm

    Is there any way you could provide some tips on leaf diagnosis? Every time I try to look on the net for leaf signs of various messages the color and behavior of the leaves seem to be trying to indicate, I get directed to marijuanna growing sites. I would love a quick guide on “reading” poppy leaves for issues going on. There exists no resource, and it would be helpful if someone with a lot of experience growing them (such as yourself) could comment on different ways nutrient deficiencies manifest themselves, or problems that this plant may be susceptible to which can be observed and addressed by the horticulturalist. I have gotten many of the popppies I have grown to fairly advanced stages, but am observing I am overdoing something which has led many to this dark green leaf edge necrosis that I can’t seem to find out online what I have done wrong. If you could post some of your own observations of leaf behavior to help planters know what could be done to try to rectify the problem before the plant dies, this would be well appreciated. My guess is that I have provided the plant with too much nitrogen and caused this dark green leaf edge mush. I have responded by watering it like crazy to keep the plant from dying and hope this is the right response, but I have no reference to refer to on knowing what this means. Thanks so much!

    • OrganicalBotanicals
      09/13/2016 @ 3:58 pm

      Well, browning Lowers leaves IS perfectly normal, but not until the Flowering Stage as seen in THIS PIC
      But if it’s happening prior to this, it’s because there’s not enough Nitrogen. Read the Comment I just answered above this one.
      Also, ALWAYS add more Nutrients to Soil wherever you plant poppies 2 years in a row. They deplete the soil’s nutrients each time.

      • OrganicalBotanicals
        06/29/2016 @ 2:39 pm

        So you must have come across that popular Article where they Compare the SAP Color of a Norman, and a Regular Taz Strain, and saw that the Thebaine Alkaloid comes out Tinted with Orange.
        So what does that have to do with baking their Seeds?
        Unless you plan on putting the SAP into your Batter, there shouldn’t be any Concern.
        In fact, 95% of all Commercial Seed you buy in Bulk is of the Tasmanian Variety. Perhaps for consistency, but I imagine, although they’re mostly grown for Manufacturing Synthetic Pain Meds, that their Seeds aren’t just thrown away.
        I mean, they must be sold somewhere right?
        Nevertheless, one would have to invest a year to grow them if they wanna find out.
        But regardless, the seeds aren’t poison to bake with – and if you’re worried about residue, then wash them off before adding them to any recipe.
        ALL Somniferum Poppies are considered “Poison” and/or “Deadly”. – Norman or not.
        That’s because they contain Alkaloids that Directly Effect the Human Body’s CNS, alter brain signals, and hinder the Control of our bodies.
        Compared to the main Two Dominant Alkaloids (you know which ones), Thebaine has little to no effect unless it’s Synthesized.
        So I’d be more worried about the first two alkaloids, which are also considered “Poisons” unless or until they’re Prescribed otherwise.

        To answer your question about whether our seeds will be Viable for next Spring.
        Why wouldn’t they be?
        We grow them every year.
        How else would the plant have evolved for thousands of years??
        They would have gone Extinct long ago if they didn’t last from one Season to the Next.
        Hope this helps,

        • Mike01100
          06/26/2016 @ 5:59 am

          Ok j ai envoyer 2 photos pouvez vous me dire quelle variété de pavot et si il devrez pouvoir être plus gros.merci

          • Mike01100
            06/23/2016 @ 4:39 am

            Je vais vous envoyer une photo.pouvez vous me dire quelle variété c est .

            • OrganicalBotanicals
              05/16/2016 @ 6:42 pm

              The only thing the Giganteum Poppy (or other ‘Giant’ Pod Varieties) have in them that is ‘extra’ is AIR.
              I believe they were bred just for show.
              There are no more seeds (or anything else, for that matter) than any other varieties.
              Org-anical Bot-anicals

      • Poppyhead
        07/04/2016 @ 2:35 pm

        I am curious as to what the best fertilization protocol is for the Azmir Afghan GMO strain is? I presently have them growing in composted clay/sandy type soil that drains very well. The climate is dry year round with humidity normally around 30-40 percent in the rocky mountain region.
        Watering is almost a daily must as the soil dries out daily as the temperatures have been in the 80-90s. I dont water log them but do give them a good soaking in the morning.
        I started them out with fox farm big bloom which is a non burning seabird bat guano liquid fertilizer.
        When the cabbage growth started I started using tiger bloom a 2-8-4 with increased phosphorous and a small amount of nitrogen to start the green growth going.
        Beginning this week as they are really starting to blow I will switch to grow big 6-4-4.
        Is this enough nitrogen? Should it be increased to like a 12-6-6 at pre-bloom time or back to 2-8-4. All are liquid fertilizer and they are responding really well. I dilute in out in a 2 gallon watering jug and feed them every other day or so. The climate is very similar to afghanistan. Hot and fairly dry. A few plants stunted with yellow edges on the leaves. What is that? Had a very high germination rate and way more seedlings than I could use. No refrigeration. Just wintered them in a desk drawer. What is the best way to keep them until planting?
        Is it preferable to leave the entire plant in the ground until dry for seeds? Thanks.

  15. Taylor Youngson
    10/21/2016 @ 2:59 am

    I am growing papaver somniferum poppies for the first time. I found organicalbotanicals today and I am so grateful to have discovered the page. The blog answered a couple of pressing questions that had started to worry me (especially “Floppy Poppy”). I do have a couple of other questions that I would greatly appreciate your help to answer.
    A little background: I live in Alabama. I designated a flower bed in my backyard for growing poppies. I ordered a variety of papaver somniferum seeds and cast them into the soil in August. August in AL is hot, however, the flower bed gets a decent combination of shade and sun light. For whatever reason, after a couple of weeks, I had several sprouts come up. Due to a few mistakes early on, several of those original sprouts died. I planted another round of seeds in late August and early September. These are the sprouts that I am working with now. It is October 21, 2016 and it has just recently cooled off in AL. It is around 65 degrees at night and 75 – 80 degrees during the afternoon. It will continue to cool off but our winters rarely see snow. My poppy sprouts seem very healthy but they seem to be developing extremely slowly. Because this is my first experience growing poppies, I don’t know if this is a normal growth rate or not. Compared to other flowers I have grown, they seem slow. That said, they are developing. I wish that they were in a better location to get more sunshine, but they are not in full shade or too dark (I hope).
    * Is there a way to help the poppies get the most out of the limited sunlight they’re receiving? Obviously, I do not want to transplant. They are gradually growing but I think part of the slow growth has to do with limited sunlight. Sometimes I worry that the plants seem “stuck” in the current growth stage. I think I am just being impatient though.
    My next question has to do with growing in the Fall. Everything that I’ve read says that by growing in the Fall the plant will bloom in the early Spring after the snow and frost are gone. However I doubt any of these references are working in Alabama. If it snows here, it will be in February or later. Because the poppies have sprouted and are developing lettuce like leaves…And because I do not foresee a snow or heavy frost anytime soon… And because it is realistic to expect prime conditions until around December, my hope is that the poppies will fully mature before the spring. Do you think this is possible? There is a great chance that I am missing something or that my hope is just wishful thinking.
    * If growing very slowly, how long will they take to bloom? Considering the southern conditions, is it at all possible that I may have flowers and seed pods at some point this winter? I was originally thinking it would be in late November – mid December but this was before I did research.
    * Is there anything I can do to speed up or encourage development?
    * If there is little or no chance that the poppies will mature this winter, what will happen to the poppies that are currently growing? Will I be able to hold out hope for early Spring? It seems like they could possibly die once January or February rolls around. Who knows? Last Christmas it was hot in AL.
    * I am really enjoying my poppy project and I would love to succeed. Even if my “sooner the better” expectations are unrealistic or impossible, eventual success will be just fine.
    * Any other advice for a first time southern grower?
    Please feel free to ask for more details, pictures, information or whatever else might help you to answer my questions and/or point me in a successful direction.
    Worst case scenario, I kill every poppies and only grow a failure tree… I will continue to try in the spring. I have learned a lot but only on my own and with zero information specific to Alabama poppies in the Fall.
    Thank you very much for taking the time to read this. I hope that you will respond. Any information or advice would be sincerely appreciated. If not, I understand. I’m just some internet dude rambling about an interest that by comparison I know very little about. Most people around the US have an extremely inaccurate impression of what the people in Alabama are like. While there are stereotypical rednecks, the city that I live in is up and coming and populated by well educated professionals, talented artists and could easily stand up to any culinary scene in the country. I have been all over the world and my city has some of the best restaurants around.
    With your help, we will have an accomplished organical botanical poppy enthusiast too.
    Doctor Tay

    • OrganicalBotanicals
      10/10/2016 @ 1:13 am

      I personally have never “dead-headed” since I need the pods to mature to full maturity in order to harvest seeds. But I have spoken to hundreds of growers who have tried it. Problem is, there is not, and never will be, a way to prove that it boosts the growth of the lower blooms.
      I’ve seen the lower blooms grow to maturity WITHOUT “dead-heading”, but have never really seen any increase by means of “dead-heading”.
      I think “dead-heading” is just another thing that “Weed Growers” do, that somehow gets mixed into Growing Poppies (as with ‘Leaf behavior’ from your latest Comment), simply because each Plant contains Narcotic Properties.
      Truth is, Poppies are the furthest thing from a weed as you can get. They aren’t similar in ANY way.
      Their Nutrient needs are different, as are their Temp. and Light Cycle needs, as well as their behavior in general.
      I HAVE answered questions about Poppy Leaves actually (with photos, etc), in a Comment response in THIS TUTORIAL HERE
      But will try to do into more depth regarding your concern when I get to your latest Comment in a bit.
      You’ll see in that same Tutorial Photos of a Poppy Plant with OVER 75 Blooms and Pods I grew once – no “dead-heading”, nothing special. They were the ‘Hungarian Blue’ Papaver Somniferum Poppy
      Hope this helps.

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