How to Germinate Poppy Seeds


Poppies come in many varieties. California, opium, Iceland and Mexican tulip are a few of the most common. Poppies can be germinated in the garden or inside in pots. Most poppies should be treated as hardy annuals if you live in an area that doesn't have mild winters. Poppies make beautiful cut flowers but their blooms are short-lived. They are easy to care for, not requiring a lot of special care. Poppies make a colorful addition to any garden.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel Mister Small scissors Sand or peat moss (optional)


  • Sow seeds when the temperature is between 60 and 68 degrees F during the day. Nighttime temperatures should be between 35 and 45 degrees.

  • Mix in peat or sand if your soil is made up of a lot of clay. Poppies need to be grown in fertile, well-drained soil.

  • Sow seeds sparsely to avoid thinning. Don't cover them with soil. Poppies require light to germinate. Lightly press the seeds into the soil with a finger.

  • Mist the seeds once a day. Keep the soil moist but not wet. Most poppy seeds will germinate between 4 and 20 days.

  • Provide good air circulation for the seedlings after the first set of leaves appears. Without circulation, plants can get damping off. Damping off is a fungal disease that kills new plants.

  • Thin poppies when they reach 5 inches tall. Use scissors to cut the tops off of the weakest plants. This allows the remaining plants to have larger flowers.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can start poppies indoors, growing them in peat pots. In warmer climates, plant seeds in the fall.
  • Poppies don't like to be transplanted. Try not to move them after planting.

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