How to Grow Poppies from Seed
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How to Grow Poppies from Seed

This step by step guide with pictures shows how to grow poppies from seed to create a mass planting of this beautiful flower. Growing flowers from seed is the cheapest way to brighten up your garden.

The poppy is a symbol of remembrance for soldiers who have died in wartime. Most varieties of poppies are ornamental however one variety, papaver somniferum, is the source of the narcotic drug opium.

Mass planting of poppies look stunning in the garden.
Mass plantings of poppies look stunning in the garden.

Poppies are usually annual plants but they can be biennial or short lived perennials in some climates. They traditionally have large red blooms 3 to 6 inches (8 to 15cm) in diameter however they are now available in a range of colors.

Poppies are tall plants usually reaching 24 inches (60cm) in height however some varieties will grow to 3 feet (1m) tall. These plants are perfect for the background in a garden bed with shorter plants in front.

Some support may be required for poppies towards the end of the growing season after flowering as long stems may droop in windy conditions.

Poppies planted on either side of a path.
String tied between two posts keeps the poppy stems off the path and looking beautiful.

Growing Poppies from Seed

Plant poppy seed in the fall (autumn) in temperate and warm climates with flowers emerging in the spring however it is best to plant the seed in the spring in colder climates.

Poppy seeds are small however they germinate easily direct in their final position as long as you keep the seeds moist. Use a fine mist spray daily until they germinate.

Poppy seed is small however it germinates easily.

This bulk buy of 100,000 Poppy Seeds is great value and highly rated on Amazon. (Paid link)


Poppies like a sunny position protected from strong winds in free draining soil. Improve poor soils with organic matter such as compost or aged manure. Improve clay soils with dolomite or consider planting in a raised bed.

Tools and Materials Needed

  • Poppy Seeds
  • Shovel and Trowel
  • Compost or Aged Manure
  • Liquid Fertilizer – This Seaweed Concentrate from Neptune’s Harvest is good for the soil as well as creating strong healthy plants. (Paid link)
  • Mulch
  • Snail Bait


How to grow poppies from seed in the home garden.

  1. Prepare the Soil

    First prepare the soil by adding compost or aged manure. Dig in well then create rows with the trowel 8 inches (20cm) apart.

    Digging in organic matter prior to planting the seed.

  2. Sow the Poppy Seed

    Sprinkle the poppy seed along the rows then lightly cover with fine soil or seed raising mix. Firm down then keep moist.

    Sprinkling the poppy seed along the row.

  3. Seedling Care

    It is best to use a mist spray until seedlings emerge in 10 to 14 days. Thin out the seedlings to 8 inches (20cm) apart then apply mulch to keep down the weeds. Sprinkle snail bait around the seedlings.

    Using a mist spray to keep the seed moist.

  4. Fertilize

    Apply liquid fertilizer every 2 weeks and water regularly for the best results. Pinching out early flower buds will encourage strong clumps. Remove spent flowers to encourage flowering.

    Fertilizing poppies as they grow.

  5. Support Tall Stems

    Strong winds may cause branches to fall over. If this becomes a problem then put in 2 posts or stakes and tie twine or string around the branches for support.

    Supporting tall poppy stems with string.


Poppies also grow well in large pots.

Once the plants finish flowering they will begin to turn yellow. Place in the compost pile so nothing goes to waste.

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Consider planting lavender in front of your poppies. They also germinate easily from seed and will live for many years in your garden. See this guide to Growing Lavender for more information or add more sweet aromas to your flower garden with this guide to Growing Sweet Peas.

Do you love being at home? Get more from your home and garden with this Homesteading guide.

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