How to Grow Poppies From Seed in Zone 7

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The Red Poppy is a popular garden plant.
The Red Poppy is a popular garden plant. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Plants in the Papaveraceae family are commonly known as poppies. Gardeners value these plants for their abundant blooms of brightly colored flowers. The most well-known species of poppies, such as the red poppy, belong to the Papaver genus. Poppies are hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 2 through 9, so poppies can easily reseed themselves in USDA zone 7. Gardeners typically grow poppies from seed.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden trowel
  • Limestone
  • Rake
  • Pruning shears

Select a planting site in full sun in USDA zone 7; poppies can also tolerate partial shade. Poppies grow best in sandy loam with good drainage, and tolerate other soil types except for heavy clay.

Loosen the soil with a garden trowel to a depth of several inches. Amend the soil with limestone, if necessary, to increase the soil pH to between 5.5 to 7.0.

Scatter the poppy seeds over the planting area in the spring after the last expected frost. Rake the seeds lightly into the soil to give them a high germination rate.

Water the poppy seeds only during prolonged dry periods, as these plants are drought-hardy. Poppy seeds should germinate within three weeks after planting and bloom within eight weeks after that.

Remove the weaker poppy plants as they grow to achieve a final spacing of 6 to 12 inches, depending on the cultivar. Prune the flower heads after they bloom to prevent excessive seeding.

Tips & Warnings

  • Purchase poppy seeds from a seed provider to ensure they are hardy in USDA zone 7. Many species of poppies are commercially available, and popular species of poppies frequently have multiple cultivars.

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