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Growing Poppies - Red Poppy Flowers | Flower Patch | North American Farmer

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Growing Poppies

Poppy Flowers: Beautiful Landscapes With Remarkable, Delicate Blooms!

by Frances Santos

Growing Poppies - Poppy FlowersPoppies, once called “common cornfield weed”, are one of the most captivating flowers in the plant kingdom. Many gardeners adore growing poppies for their large, brightly-colored blooms that effortlessly doll up the garden.

Even humming birds and bees are attracted to these charming, plants. Some say, it’s because of their rich, vivid red color, while others think the birds love poppy seeds. Apart from the fact the Poppies are relatively easy to grow, they also boast long blooming period— about 60 to 90 days for annuals, and longer days for perennials.

Poppies also have several uses in the garden. In general, poppy plants can reach 12 to 14 inches tall. They beautify flower beds, containers, and windowsill planters in an instant. No need to buy expensive pots or planters as the beauty of Poppies is enough to delight the eyes.

They also look great when used in rock gardens or as borders. For expert gardeners, you might want to do mass planting in springtime and see its glorious splendor unfurl before your eyes!

Poppy seeds are edible and come in handy in the kitchen. It is an added benefit that makes them more interesting. Poppy seeds are popular ingredient for delicious pastry recipes. Now listen. You might not want to know this but some Poppy plants are narcotic and used in making Opium, Morphine and Codine. Well, growing these varieties is illegal so you can’t buy these seeds at your garden center. In a positive light, there’s no way for you to grow banned Poppy plants accidentally.

Obviously, calling it “common cornfield weed” is no longer suitable as this spectacular plant is no weed! Here’s another fact for you. Poppies thrive in cool climates but they are also drought-tolerant. Popular varieties of Poppy include Shirley Poppy, Oriental Poppy, Opium Poppy, Iceland Poppy, Himalayan Blue Poppy, and Matilija Poppy.

Poppy Propagation

Poppies are propagated by seeds. The best way is growing Poppy seeds outdoors in the fall.

Knowing when to plant is important because starting them outdoors too early will give you unsuccessful results. Do you know that period when the leaves have fallen and snowfall is about start? That’s the perfect time to start your seeds.

Sprinkle two poppy seeds over every 5 to 6 inches of top soil. This will save you time later as you do not have to thin your Poppies. Do not cover the seeds because they need light to germinate. Spouts should appear in winter – under the snow so mark the area by applying some potting mix. Poppies love cooler temperatures and may also survive in extreme climates. Using a fine spray, moisten the sprouts regularly. Germination will occur in 3 to 5 days.

How to Grow Poppies

Growing poppies is low-maintenance. They only require a sunny location, well-drained soil, rich in organic matter, and water to blossom profusely. But if loamy soil is not available in your area, you may grow them in sandy soils. Well-composted cow, rabbit, or horse manure is recommended for optimal growth.

Transplanting Young Poppy Plants

If you want to transplant the seedlings to another location, wait for your Poppies to produce a set of true leaves. Handle young poppy plants with care and pay attention to the roots. Make sure not to damage the roots, or else your transplanting duty may not succeed. Place the plant guardedly in a planting hole. Cover the stem up to the set of leaves.

Poppies do not require extreme fertilizing. In fact, it’s best to use organic fertilizers like manure tea. Make this by soaking three handfuls of manure in 3 to 5 gallons of water.

Poppy Flower Care

Multiple your poppy flowers ten-fold by following these simple tips:

  • Promote good air circulation by keeping the plant bed clean. Do this by cutting off the bottom leaves of the plant. This will also lessen the risk of molding.
  • Direct the energy to the main pods by removing the side shoots. This will reward you with bigger pods.
  • Do not overwater your Poppies, just moisten the soil.

Pests and Diseases

Extreme storms (i.e. rainstorm or windstorm) cause Poppies to become leggy. This could break Poppy plants easily or leave them with severe injury. Prevent this by staking them to provide support or build high covers as protection to strong winds and rain.