Growing Poppies In Pots From Seed – A Planting Guide

Growing Poppies in Pots

Hello gardeners, today we are here with a new topic of growing poppies in pots or containers. Poppies are well-known spring flowers. Available in mixed colors and single and double colors, they are great for mass plantings or in cottage-like gardens. Poppy flowers are one of the easiest flowers to grow and one of the most popular wildflowers to grow, the average poppy is between 2 to 3 feet tall. Also, there are dwarf varieties that will only grow to a foot and make marvellous indoor container flowers. They are the best grownup with other plants when grown indoors, as they complement other plants so well. In this article we also discuss the below topics about growing Poppies;

  • Tips for Growing Poppies
  • Care for Poppies as they grow
  • Do Poppies need full sun
  • How do you take care of Poppies
  • How fast do Poppies grow from seed
  • Are Poppies sun or shade
  • growing Poppies in pots
  • How much time Poppies take to grow from seed
  • Growing Poppies from seed heads
  • How to grow Poppies from seed indoors
  • How to care for potted poppy plants

A Step by Step Guide to Growing Poppies in Pots

Guide to Growing Poppies in Pots
Guide to Growing Poppies in Pots (Image credit: pixabay)

Planting Poppies is simple and satisfying when their single and double blooms appear in cooler seasons. Poppy plants are more familiar to most people, who quickly know the papery, tissue-like flowers in bright warm colors. Poppies are grown nearly all over the world and come in different sizes, colors, and textures. The flowers come in different colors like bright reds and warm oranges and form informal patches of color in the late spring garden.

Different Varieties of Poppies

Some of the popular types of Poppies can be given below;

Himalayan Poppy

  • These are famously challenging to grow from seed, but it helps to always use fresh seed
  • Height 2–4 feet
  • Sunlight Dappled shade

Celandine Poppies

  • Celandine Poppies are also called Stylophorum in the scientific community
  • Mainly it includes three main species of the poppy flower plant which are native to eastern North America and central, eastern, and western regions of China
  • The plants have bristly stems; their leaves have wavy edges and are lobed

Prickly Poppies

  • It is a hard poppy that is tolerant of poor soil and drought
  • It is poisonous to grazing animals and is bright yellow

Matilija Poppies

  • Matilija Poppies are also called the Romneya which has two main species of Poppies. These white color flowers are perennial subshrubs that have woody stems resembling trees
  • They have silvery-green color leaves with deep cuts and hairy fringes

Corn Poppy

  • Corn poppy is an easy-to-grow annual that blooms in spring or early summer
  • It comes in different variety of colors including red, white, yellow, pink, salmon, and lilac

Oriental poppy

  • Grows best in mountain regions with cool weather conditions
  • Oriental poppies are a doddle to grow and they can be grown in pots or the ground. These are easy to care for throughout the year
  • These are herbaceous perennial flowers with large and brightly colored blooms

Pygmy Poppies

  • They have 5 to 7 petals and are a pearl-white color with a yellow center

Dwarf Poppies

  • The Dwarf poppy is also called the Alpine poppy
  • They grow upright and have short perennials with small plant leaves

Flanders poppy (common poppy)

  • The Flanders or field poppy has a scientific name is papaver rhoeas is easy to grow
  • Height – 9 to 18 inches
  • Sunlight – Full sun

Growing Conditions for Poppy Flowers

Poppies like plenty of suns and well-drained soil are drought-tolerant and deer and rabbit-resistant. They adjust to most climates and many soil types, including sandy and heavy clay. Poppies grow well across most climates. Sow the Poppy seeds right through the autumn months in temperate climates. In cool and cold climates, sow seeds from summer to early autumn, and in warm and hot climates, sow from early autumn to winter.

Poppies do not like shade, heavy soils, or locations with too much water holding. Gardeners in wet climates will have to provide sufficient drainage or Poppies will develop root and leaf diseases.

Growing Conditions for Poppy Flowers
Growing Conditions for Poppy Flowers (pic source: pixabay)

Poppies will work in rock gardens, containers, mixed repeated beds, high altitudes, cutting beds, and in wildflower and meadow plantings. The selected container needs drainage holes to prevent the plant from standing in waterlogged soil. Also, you can attach casters to the bottom if you want to be able to easily move your container-grown Poppies. Poppies are relatively easy to grow to provide fertile soil and adequate water for seed germination.

Plant Poppies in the Right Location

Poppies need at least 6 hours of sun. Some varieties of Poppies grow large, up to 5 feet tall. Plan accordingly and plant Poppies where the plants will have room to grow. Many varieties of Poppies reseed easily and plant Poppies in an area you don’t mind having them return to each year.

Soil Preparation for Growing Poppies in Pots

Soil factors are having high priority when considering growing Poppies in pots. Poppies like perfect drainage. Sandy soil is ideal for growing Poppies. Amend heavy soils with sand or finely ground covering. Poppies benefit from a modest amount of water-holding, so a small amount of compost in sandy soils is recommended. Use no more than one-third of compost. Protective cover lightly with fine bark to shade roots and contain moisture in dry areas and during drought. These plants like humus-rich, loamy soil. You can create a favorable soil blend for flowers in a pot by amending regular potting soil with compost. Fill the container to 1 ½ inch from the top with the humus-rich potting soil.

Soil pH is one of the major factors that prescribe the success of a poppy crop. Ideally, Poppies needs to be at least 5.8 pH. By adding lime can increase pH level so it is very important to apply lime to grow Poppies in areas with a low pH. Increasing the soil pH level reduces the solubility of manganese and hence the damage it can do to plants.

How to Sow Poppy Seeds

  • Select a sunny spot with good drainage. Then, pour some seeds into your hand and then sprinkle them thinly across the ground to create natural-looking drifts.
  • Allow 7 to 30 days to germinate, depending on the variety, soil condition, and growing temperatures. Keep the soil moist during the germination process.
  • Once the seedlings are large enough to handle, thin them out to around 30cm or 12 inches apart.
  • Water the area regularly during dry spells. Be careful not overwatering the plant as this encourages quick growth and leggy plants, or even rot.

Process of Growing Poppies in Pots from Seed

Start growing Poppies indoors use small vegetable matter pots with a few seeds in each. It will also help to locate the pots in different places as of the home. Germination for poppy seeds usually takes 7-30 days.

Growing poppy flowers can be simple as planting seeds or separating the roots of existing plants. Plant Poppies from seed into lower to average soil in a sunny location. Steps for growing Poppies from seed;

  1. Sown the poppy seeds in the spring or fall seasons. The Poppy seeds require a period of categorization to germinate.
  2. Loosen the dirt in the planting place. The Poppies are sown on the surface, rather than buried in holes. To prepare the soil, simply loosen its surface a bite with a garden rake.
  3. Sprinkle them over the freshly loosened dirt. In nature, Poppies drop their seeds, which are small enough and easily be scattered across the ground by the wind.
  4. Water the seeds carefully and keep the area moist by sprinkling water over the soil. Don’t soak it or you may drown the delicate seeds.
  5. Thin out the Poppies – Thinning is helpful to the plants to get bigger and produce more flowers. Thin to a minimum of 15cm apart.
  6.  When Poppies buds start to flower, remove buds to ensure that they keep producing blooms.
  7.  When summer comes, the seed pods develop. Water your Poppies sparingly once they’re established. Poppy flowers need limited watering services once they have settled into their area. Too much water in the plant can result in tall, unattractive growth of the plant.

Tips for Growing Poppies in Pots

  • Poppies are one of the easiest flowers to grow in pots. Poppies come in different colors or color combinations to dress up any garden like indoor containers.
  • Growing Poppies in pots is an easy process; the plant is best grown in a medium-sized pot.
  • Poppies grow well from seeds. Then, that you place the pot or container in a bright position after planting seeds as poppy seeds require light to germinate.
  • Water Poppies during dry spells, but don’t over-saturate.

Water Requirements for Growing Poppies in Pots

Generally, water thoroughly at least once a week to help new roots grow healthy. The soil must be damp at about 1 inch below the soil surface. Water the pant early in the morning to give all leaves enough time to dry.

When the Poppies are in bloom or about to bloom in the warm season, watering should be moderate and regular. Once you get past the period of flowering, best to leave the soil dry as much as possible and watering must be done only when the top 1-inch soil surface seems dry.

Fertilizer Requirements for Growing Poppies in Pots

You’ll need to fertilize the plant when growing Poppies in pots. Add a slow-release fertilizer to provide a steady supply of nutrition to the plant during the whole season at the time of planting.

If you haven’t added a slow-release fertilizer, start to feed the Poppies with balanced liquid fertilizer on a bi-weekly basis once the plant has exceeded the height of about 5 inches or when new growth emerges in the spring season. You can feed the plant with flower fertilizer during the flowering period in Poppies. Also, Poppies are prone to magnesium and iron deficiency, application of Epsom salt is recommended for plant growth.

Dividing and Transplanting Poppies

  1. Poppies don’t respond well to transplanting or root divisions, but it is possible.
  2. Purchasing poppy plants look for plants healthy without yellow color leaves, which may inform over-watering, pest problems, or diseases.

3. Dividing, dig up large poppy plants in the fall seasons after the leaves have died back. Dig a circle around the poppy plant, 8 to 10 inches from the plant, using hand tools. Lift the plant along with the lump of roots and soil carefully from the soil.

Common Pests and Diseases Problems in Poppies

Poppies are prone to few pests and disease problems. Therefore, it’s possible to get a bounty harvest without worrying about pest and disease management. All the same, you need to watch out for some pests like black bean aphids which attack Poppies buds just before flowering.

You can use insecticidal soap to control the problems in Poppies. The other common pest is slug infestation which you can easily control using traps.

Diseases to watch out for including downy and powdery mildew, viruses transmitted by aphids, and root rot caused by overwatering.

  • Botrytis (Gray Mold) – This fungus causes a gray mold on flowers, leaves, stems, and buds. It thrives in cool and wet weather conditions. Remove old and injured leaves and flowers. Captan and chlorothalonil and several other fungicides reduce grey mold’s spread.
  • Damping Off – This is the most common problem of this disease starting from seed to plant. This is caused by a fungus that is active when there are abundant moisture and soil and air temperatures are above 20°C. Make sure the plants are getting good air circulation; if you plant in containers, thoroughly wash them in soapy water and rinse in a 10% bleach solution after use.
  • Downy Mildew – This fungus causes whitish gray patches on the undersides and both sides of the leaves. Cultural control methods for these diseases like watering from beneath, spacing Poppies for adequate air circulation. Mefenoxam and mancozeb fungicides treat downy mildew.
  • Powdery Mildew – This fungus disease occurring on the top of the leaves. The fungi flourish at temperatures between 16°C to 27°C. Strong sun and temperatures of 35°C or higher destroy them. Treat infections with horticultural oil sprayed on well-watered plants at a temperature below 35°C.
  • Aphids – Greenish, red, black, or peach-colored sucking insects can spread disease as they feed on the undersides of plant leaves. Then, attract natural predators into the garden such as lady beetles and wasps who feed on aphids. Also, you can wash them off with a strong spray, or use insecticidal soap.
  • Lygus Bugs (Tarnished Plant Bug) – Lygus bugs are ¼ inch long and are green or brown with yellow markings. Nymphs are flightless and smaller than adults. Then, they are injecting a toxic that deforms roots, stems, and ruins flowers.
  • Spittlebugs – These bugs are hopping insects that protect themselves from predators with white color foam. While the young insects feed on the plant leaves and stems. There is only one generation each year but the larvae can hatch over several weeks as the eggs were laid in the fall.

Harvest Poppy Seeds

Generally, pick the Poppies when they are halfway open. Poppies mostly flower in late spring to early summer. They boom in full sun in rich, well-drained soil. Once the over delicate petals begin to drop, the ovary grows into the plant’s fruit, a chubby seed pod. The seed pod contains hundreds of small black seeds, which are eatable in some species. Pods are in green color when young and yielding stage. When the weather is dry near the end of the growing season, pods begin to turn brown color and create a hard shell around the pod. This will finally crack open, releasing the small seeds. Harvesting poppy seeds early may affect their property and ability to germinate. Harvest seed pods, cut when the pods turn into light brown color and dry out for 1 to 2 weeks before breaking open and storing seeds in a jar for up to 2 years.

Commonly Asked Questions about Growing Poppies in Pots

In case if you miss this: How To Grow Onions In Greenhouse.

Questions about Growing Poppies
Questions about Growing Poppies (image source: pixabay)

Why are my Poppies not growing?

If you are new to growing Poppies, maybe that you haven’t yet gotten to their flowering season. Poppies do not like soggy soil, and that overly-rich soil can lead to a lack of flowering in plants, and the Poppies not growing. On the other hand, your soil can be lacking the nutrients necessary for flowering.

How do you stop Poppies from spreading?

Remove the spent flowers of perennial Poppies to keep the plants flowering until late spring or early summer season and prevent self-sowing. Tall varieties of Oriental Poppies require staking in the spring season to prevent them from falling over when laden with blossoms.

Why is my Poppy plant dying?

Improper watering can result in leaf browning on Poppies. Insufficient moisture mainly causes leaf wilt, yellowing or browning, and drop. Though, waterlogged soils force Poppies to languish, causing root death that forces foliage discoloration.

Where is the best place to plant Poppies?

For the best results Poppies grow in well-drained soil. The plants thrive in alkaline, acid, or neutral soil.


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