Poppies are easy to grow and come in a variety of bright colors that you can enjoy in a garden bed or pot. You can grow poppies from seed or purchase young plants at your local garden nursery. Keep reading for more information about how to grow poppies easily.
How to Grow Poppies
I grew up learning about poppies from an early age. In elementary school, I learned that the state flower of California was the golden poppy. In the springtime, these orange flowers pop up all over and are beautiful to see while driving and site seeing in Southern California.
Growing poppies is a great way to add some color to your spring garden. They come in many colors besides golden orange. There are a few ways to do this and plenty of varieties to choose from!
If you are more comfortable growing these flowers as young plants than seeds, go for it! Ask a garden expert at your local garden center to help you find a healthy plant to start with.
Growing Poppies from Seed
Growing poppies from seed is much easier than it sounds. Based on where you live, you will want to plant seeds at specific times of the year.
If you live in a cold climate, sow the seeds during the springtime. If you live in a warmer climate, plant the seeds in the fall.
Poppies need six hours of sunlight and plenty of room to grow, since some can grow as tall as five feet. Some types tend to reseed, so make sure you like the area they grow in.
You will need to thin the seedlings out after they start growing. Since poppy seeds are small, they tend to grow close to each other. If they are left alone, they will not survive.
It’s best to thin them to about six to nine inches apart. You can leave the rest of the plants alone to grow.
Water your poppies when the soil is dry, and make sure the soil is rich with nutrients to allow your flowers to thrive in your garden.
Poppies make great cut flowers for bouquets and centerpieces, since they bloom in bright colors and some varieties have long stems that you can cut to place in vases. Cutting flowers will encourage the plants to bloom even more as well.
Use a mixture of open flowers and seed pods in your bouquets for a natural look. You can also save the seeds to use next year.
There are several poppy varieties to choose from. Read more about them below, then choose the ones that will work best in your garden.
Here is a quick list with links to places where you can buy poppy seeds online:
- Orange California Poppy Seeds
- Oriental Brilliant Poppy Seeds
- Mission Bells California Poppy Seeds
- Shirley Single Blend Corn Poppy Seeds
- Spring Melody Blend California Poppy Seeds
- Hungarian Blue Bread Seed Poppy Seeds
- Mikado California Poppy Seeds
The poppy varieties below are more popular and well-known than the ones above. Let me know which ones are your favorites in the comments section below!
I love the bright orange and yellow blooms of these native California plants. I’m looking forward to seeing these flowers pop up on the side of the road in a few months.
California poppies are shorter than other kinds, making them a great choice for containers. They don’t need much water and prefer poor soil. These poppies bloom flowers in purple, cream, pink, yellow, as well as the orange they are known for.
The oriental poppy enjoys growing in colder climates at higher altitudes. They have a black center, which distinguishes them from other poppies.
Shirley poppies can grow up to three feet tall. They bloom flowers that are red and in other colors in soft variations. These poppies make great cut flowers for those who enjoy growing their own bouquets.
This poppy is a hard one to grow. They do not prefer heat and grow as annuals although they are perennials. Iceland poppies make great cut flowers due to their long vase life.
These poppies are known for their vibrant blue color. Hymalayan poppies also come in shade of purple.
These tough-growing flowers have short lives and prefer to grow in the shade in well-draining soil. This is probably due to the fact that they originated in the high altitudes of the Himalayan Mountains.
If you are looking for another flower to add to your pollinator garden, consider growing your poppies here. Bees, butterflies, and other pollinators will be drawn to the bright colors of poppies.
Just like adding poppies to a pollinator garden will attract certain insects and critters, growing them in a wildflower garden will do the same thing. Poppies are a popular flower that is usually included in wildflower garden mixes, especially California varieties.
Wildflowers are a great way to fill up an empty space in your garden with flowers that would normally grow in your region. A wildflower garden is also another way to keep pollinators in your yard to enjoy your flowers.
Learn how to grow poppies so that you can enjoy these flowers year after year!
Facts About Poppies
Here are some fun facts about poppies. Some may be familiar while others you may be reading about for the first time.
- The scientific name for this flower is Papaver rhoeas L and has been grown by humans for thousands of years.
- Poppies have been grown for food and medicine for a long time.
- There are more than 70 species of poppies, although just the popular ones are mentioned here.
- During the 12th century, poppies started appearing on ruined battlefields, all the way up to World War I.
- The majority of poppies grow in the Northern Hemisphere, since most prefer the colder weather.
- Red poppies symbolize soldiers that have died in combat and symbolize death.
- These red poppies are a symbol for Veteran’s Day in the United States.
- Poppy seeds are used in cakes and bread as an additional taste.
- Poppy seeds are also used to make poppy seed oil.
- The drug opium comes from the seed of the opium poppy, which is banned in several countries.
How to Grow Poppies Easily
Learn how to grow poppies easily by prepping the seeds in the fall or winter. If you aren’t ready to grow these flowers from seeds, purchase young plants at your local garden store in the springtime to enjoy in your garden.
Have you tried growing poppies in your garden? Let me know in the comments section!