Growing poppies

Memorial Day poppies to honor fallen military are associated with a 1915 poem written by Major John McCrae that describes red poppies growing between burial markers. Though the veteran events use paper flowers, the same honor to the military is achieved growing poppies at home. Choose a variety to meet your landscaping needs, such as Shirly (Papaver rhoes) or oriental (Papaver orientale) that can grow up to 4 feet tall or Iceland (Papaver nudicaule) that grows 1 to 2 feet tall. Poppy colors include red, orange, gold or violet with bloom times from late spring into early fall. Plant poppies in early spring.

Things you will need to plant poppy seeds:

·         Shovel
·         Rake
·         Mulch

Step 1
Choose a full sun location to plant poppy seeds. Because poppies do not transplant well, plant the seeds directly in flowerpots, window boxes or the garden.

Step 2
Work the soil to a depth of at least 6 inches. Turn the soil with a shovel and pull out sod clots.

Step 3
Rake over the area to remove rocks or debris. Breaks chunks of soil. Rake the area level. Moisten the soil to a depth of 1 to 2 inches.

Step 4
Cast the seeds over the planting area. Do not cover with soil. Sunlight is a requirement of germination. Tip: Mix poppy seeds with sand as an aid to handling the small seeds. Use about three times as much sand (by volume) as seeds.

Step 5
Mist the planting area daily to keep the soil moist. Apply about 1 inch of mulch, like pine chips or compost, around the flowers when they reach a height of about 3 inches.


In case you didn’t know, it is against the law to grow the Papaver sonniferum variety of poppies linked to heroin production.