How To Grow Poppy Plants
A poppy is a colorful flower that has been cultivated around the world for thousands of years. Poppies are among the most popular flowers in many backyards as they are easy to grow as well as very attractive.
Step 1 – Sow the Poppy Seeds
The best way to sow poppy seeds is in an indoor location, a couple of months before the last frost of the season. To start, fill a seed tray with ordinary potting mix. Sprinkle 10 or 20 of the small, fine seeds over the top of the soil. Keep in mind that poppy seeds need light to germinate.
Keep the soil moist by lightly sprinkling water over the pot. Never overwater the seeds. Cover with a polythene bag, to preserve moisture. Do not completely cover the seed tray, because this will block the air supply to the seeds.
Keep the seed tray indoors, protected from direct sunlight at a temperature around 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Poppy seeds generally need about a week to sprout seedlings.
Step 2 – Transplant the Seedlings
The seedlings will be ready to be transplanted to larger pots when you see the first few of sets of full, mature leaves. Transplant the seedlings to 4-inch pots filled with a mixture of potting soil and sand at a ratio of 2:1. This will improve the drainage of the soil.
Remove the seedlings very gently and plant them in the pots. The seedlings will do well with more light, but keep them out of direct sunlight until the plants are more mature and ready for the outdoors. Never let the soil dry out, and provide adequate amounts of moisture at all times.
Step 3 – Move the Plants Outdoors
When there is no chance of frost, move your mature seedlings to your yard. You can also harden the plants by placing the pots outdoors during the day for a few weeks, and bringing them indoors in the night.
Choose a spot with full sun or partial shade. The soil must be well-drained. It is a good idea to amend the soil before transplanting the poppy plants. Mix mature compost in the planting site to improve fertility, and remove any weeds.
Remove the plants gently from the pots—watering the soil will make removal easier. Plant the poppies in holes a couple of inches wide. Leave about 1-foot distance between the plants to promote good air circulation and reduce crowding. Mulch the area around the plants to dissuade weeds.
Fertilize poppies with an all-purpose fertilizer every 4 or 5 weeks. Poppies do not need too much water when established. Water the plants before the soil gets too dry. Deadheading is recommended to promote the growth of new, healthier blooms.