Growing poppies is an enjoyable gardening task that produces beautiful poppy flowers. Growing poppies in Canada is easy to do, as the rich soil and average rainfall provide with a necessary environment and nutrients. The key is planting the delicate flowers in early- to mid-spring season, and keeping the flowers moist but not too wet.
Things You'll Need
Step 1: Plant in Part Shade
Pick an area in your garden or around your home in Canada that has properly drained soil, half shade and sun, and where the soil will stay moist and rich. Planting poppies in Canada should be done on the side of a hill, if possible, which creates an ideal environment in which to grow poppies. If the soil is not very rich in nutrients where you live, use some compost mixed in before planting the poppy seeds.
Step 2: Loosen the Soil
Use the garden spade to sift the soil in the flower bed to create a loose soil area that is about 3 inches deep. Sprinkle the poppy seeds directly onto the soil, distancing them from each other about 5 to 9 inches. Poppy seeds don't need to be planted deeply into the soil. It's best to sow them on the surface, barely covering them, according to West Coast Seeds.
Step 3: Plant in Early Spring
Sprinkle soil lightly over the poppy seeds, no more than a quarter of an inch deep, if even that. Poppy seeds can be planted well before the last frost occurs, in early spring. They can even be planted in late winter if the snow is melting and the sun is warm. Put a thin layer of mulch over the seeds to help the soil retain moisture.
Step 4: Keep Soil Moist
Water every couple of days after planting. Since there is average rainfall in Canada, your job is to keep the soil moist, but not overly soaked. If you were growing the poppy seeds in the desert, you would be required to water them daily. Fertilizers are not needed while growing poppies in Canada, as there are usually enough nutrients in the Canadian soil, but you can give your poppy a squirt of plant food if you like. Pesticides are also rarely needed,
Step 5: Thin the Poppy Plants
Watch for the poppy flowers to come up out of the soil. This usually takes about 7 to 28 days. If you wish to thin them out, remove every second poppy. Thinning them out will make the remaining poppies fill out more and become larger, but this is not necessary to produce beautiful poppies.
Step 6: Harvest Poppy Flowers
Harvest begins when the petals sprout, then last for about five days or so. Once the petals fall off, the only remaining part of the poppy is the stem and black seed pod at the end. Once these pods grow fat, they will begin to crack open. This is when you cut them off to harvest them. You can save the largest seeds for replanting, and keep the other seeds to use in cooking. The seeds can be added to butters, muffins, salads, sauces and cakes.
Step 7: Replant Poppy Seeds
Replant the poppy seeds in late fall using the same methods as the first couple of steps. If you wish to wait until spring again you may do so. There are many different types of poppies, according to the Toronto Master Gardeners. They can be annuals, biennials or perennials, and even perennials often only live two or three years. But they produce seeds, and often re-sprout with little effort.
As poppies can be poisonous and used for drug purposes, check with your local authorities to make sure that they are legal to grow in your area.