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December 10th 2019

Poppy Primer

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When it comes to poppies, there always seems to be a great deal of confusion surrounding the different types, their growing needs, and whether they can be used for flower arranging.

I thought it might be helpful to break down the four types of seed-grown poppies that are most commonly grown for cut flowers and explain what makes them different and special.

Erin of Floret with armload of Iceland PoppiesIceland poppies (Papaver nudicaule)

Iceland poppies are technically considered a perennial and can survive cold winter temperatures, but because they don’t handle heat and insects very well, they are typically grown as hardy annuals or biennials by flower farmers.

This particular flower requires a good deal of care when started from seed because it is slow to germinate and the seeds are as tiny as grains of sand.

bottom watering seeds in seed trays at Floret Flower FarmWhen starting seeds, it is imperative that you take great care and barely cover them with the finest dusting of vermiculite or sand. For the first few weeks, bottom-water by setting your seed trays in 1 in (2.5 cm) of standing water and letting them wick up the moisture from below. This will ensure that you don’t accidentally wash away the babies with a powerful overhead spray.

Seed flats should be kept in a warm room or on heat mats around 70ºF (21ºC) until the tiny seedlings emerge and develop at least 2 sets of leaves. I typically start seeds about 8 weeks before transplanting them into the ground.

Seedlings are slow to start and often stall out around the time they need to be transplanted. If left in the trays too long, they will fail to thrive.

Iceland poppies growing in Floret hoophouseIceland poppies growing in Floret hoop houseEven though plants seem too tiny and delicate to be planted into the soil, it’s important that you don’t let them sit in their trays any longer than 10 weeks. Once plants are in the ground, they will explode with new growth and are typically in full flower about 6 weeks after transplanting. Even though they seem weak, they have a lot of hidden vigor.

The number one reason people fail when it comes to Iceland poppies is that they don’t approach their seed sowing with enough care. This particular crop cannot be direct-seeded and must be started in trays and transplanted into good growing ground when the time is right. This is not a beginner crop.

Harvesting Iceland Poppies at Floret Flower Farm Depending on where you live, you can sow them in late summer and transplant them out in early fall to overwinter and flower in the spring. If you are unable to fall sow, seeds should be started no later than mid-February so flowers will be blooming before the heat of summer arrives.

We have successfully grown Iceland poppies in hoop houses and out in the field. I prefer to grow them under cover whenever possible because they flower up to 6 weeks earlier than those planted in the field, and the delicate flowers are protected.

 Iceland Poppies at Floret Flower Farm Cracked bud stage of Iceland Poppies at Floret Flower Farm Once flowers start to bloom, it can be a full-time job just to keep them picked. The best stage to harvest Iceland poppies is when the buds are just starting to crack open and the tiniest sliver of color can be seen. This is called cracking bud stage.

Post harvest care of Iceland Poppies at Floret Flower Farm Post harvest care of Iceland Poppies at Floret Flower Farm Iceland Poppies at Floret Flower Farm Iceland poppies have a surprisingly long vase life, up to a week if picked at the proper stage and treated.

Shortly after harvest, use an open flame or boiling water to sear the stem ends for 7 to 10 seconds and place in water with flower food.

Breadseed Poppies at Floret Flower Farm Breadseed poppies (Papaver species)

Of all the poppies, the breadseed varieties are by far the easiest to grow. While the cut flowers aren’t particularly long lasting, persisting just 2 to 3 days in the vase, they make a wonderful addition to the garden, leaving behind the most beautiful gray- or blue-green decorative seedpods that can be used either fresh or dried.

If you want to attempt to use the flowers in arrangements, harvest when they are only half-open and sear the bottom ends in boiling water for 7 to 10 seconds. I have tried more times than I’d like to count to get these beauties to last longer, without any luck. If you have any other tricks, I’d love to hear them in the comments below!

Breadseed Poppy pods at Floret Flower Farm Breadseed poppies resent transplanting and do best when direct-sown. You can plant them directly into the garden as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring. Keep in mind that slugs love them, so you’ll need to monitor growing plants closely.

One of my favorite things about breadseed poppies is that they self-seed freely. Once you grow them, you will forever have them popping up around your garden.

Harvesting Breadseed Poppy pods at Floret Flower Farm Harvesting Breadseed Poppy pods at Floret Flower Farm Drying Breadseed Poppy pods at Floret Flower Farm To save your own seed, pick the pods when they are starting to turn from green to brown or when the little vents around the crown open. I gather bunches of ripe pods, cover them with a paper grocery sack, and turn them upside down to dry in the garage for a few weeks. As the pods and seeds ripen, the seeds will fall into the bag and can be stored away for years to come.

Little envelopes of homegrown seed make great gifts!

Field of Shirley Poppies at Floret Flower Farm Shirley poppies (Papaver rhoeas)

Next to breadseed poppies, Shirley poppies are the easiest to grow. One plant will produce flower heads for up to 6 glorious weeks, and as each blossom fades it leaves behind the most beautiful miniature seedpods that make amazing additions to boutonnieres and dried creations.

Field of Shirley Poppies at Floret Flower Farm While individual flowers are short lived—lasting 3 to 4 days if stem ends are seared for 7 to 10 seconds in boiling water—it’s important to harvest blooms just as they are opening and before the bees find them. Unlike other poppy varieties, Shirley poppies produce clouds of dusty pollen, so if you have allergies, take care.

I love using their tissue paper-like blooms in arrangements that don’t need to last super long, including wedding centerpieces and bridal bouquets.  

Plants are vigorous and free-flowering. Of all the flower varieties we grow, none is more loved by the bees than Shirley poppies. Standing next to a row of these flowers in full bloom with the bees working through the patch is a sight to behold.

Hoop house full of Shirley Poppies at Floret Flower Farm Shirley Poppies at Floret Flower Farm Shirley poppies resent transplanting and are best direct-sown. They can be planted into the garden as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring.

If you are starting them indoors, just be sure to take extra care when transplanting them out, and don’t disturb the roots too much. Shirley poppies will vigorously self-seed if pods are left on the plant. If you don’t want them as a permanent resident, don’t let them go to seed.

California Poppies at Floret Flower Farm California poppies (Eschscholzia californica)

While not actually poppies at all, California poppies are a versatile, easy-to-grow, drought-tolerant group of plants that bloom all summer long. They are well suited to small spaces and can either be direct-seeded or started indoors and planted out as soon as the weather warms in the spring.

Like other poppies, these beauties self-seed and will pop up everywhere, even in the cracks of the pavement.

In addition to the bright orange native variety that grows wild throughout the southern and western United States, there are a handful of new cultivars that are as beautiful as they are hardworking.

Floral arrangement featuring California Poppies designed by Floret These low-growing plants flower over an incredibly long period of time. California poppies are well suited to the front of the border and are great in containers if space is limited. One sowing will bloom all summer long.

For cut flowers, harvest when the blooms are in colored bud stage. Individual flowers don’t last super long, only 3 to 4 days, but as they fade and drop their petals, the new buds on the stem will pop open, giving you a week’s worth of flowers from one stem. These poppies do not require any searing to last this long in the vase.

Hoop house grown poppies at Floret Flower FarmDepending on how much patience you have and how you plan to use them, you’re sure to find a poppy that meets your needs. No cutting garden is complete without them!

Do you grow poppies? Do you have a favorite variety? Please take a minute and leave a comment below about your experience growing poppies.


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  1. Anu on

    Question – I planted the pink Breadseed variety from Floret about 4 years back. While it does self seed beautifully, there are several plants now that have white or pink, single petal flowers. Curious how this happened given there are no other poppies around. They are still quite pretty.

  2. Lisa Phillips on

    We grow poppies and love them!!!! We have a huge poppy that just opened and can’t find out what type it is 😵‍💫. The petals are thicker and the pod looked just like the plant from little shop of horrors ;). It’s a brilliant orange and deep deep purple inside …

  3. Vanesa on

    Can I plant pumpkins near poppies? I’m thinking trellusing them so they provide shade in the heat?

  4. Christine on

    Hi Floret!
    I’m a huge fan and hope to buy some books later in the year from you!
    I couldn’t find the info for type of soil for poppy seeds I got from you, iceland and breadseed.
    And also as important, how deep does the dirt need to be?
    I was going to leave open sides on a new bed but it’s only about 4-5 inches deep, so far, a mix of garden compost (topsoil, sand, leaf compost) and mushroom compost for which I have no idea what the ph is. the ground underneath is VERY hard and rocky and doubltful anything will penetrate it.
    Thanks for any help you can give me, I appreciate y’all!!!!

  5. Nicole on

    Do you not sell poppies anymore! I can’t find them anywhere and only trust you guys!

  6. Pat stephens on

    I bought bread seed, Shirley and California poppies from you. Should I cold stratify them in the refrigerator before planting?

  7. jacie on

    Under breadseed poppies you note they are papaver yet, this is not true or helpful, all poppies are that. are they not orientale or rhoeas.

  8. Chandler Whitford on

    Hi, I was wondering if you could share which varieties of poppies are edible? I love flowers and they can make our food so much more beautiful, but I never want to eat something I shouldn’t!

  9. Julie on

    My breadseed poppy have been growing beautifully for 3 months in 5”nursery pots in my greenhouse and now are all of a sudden turning yellow from the bottom leaves and going up. What have I done wrong? I backed off on watering but that didn’t seem to be stopping the issue. Every single plant is doing this but maybe 3 and I planted 3 entire envelopes. Even the 20 or so o planted in the ground are doing this. And it started at the same time fit all of them.

  10. TanyaEcodecor on

    Good afternoon. Thank you for your articles. You inspire the whole world. Please tell me, how do you prepare seeds before sowing? Stratify?

    • BriAnn, Team Floret on

      Poppy seeds do not need to be stratified prior to planting.

  11. Katherine on

    Hello, I was just wondering about Papaver Orientale? I don’t know when to sew, would they fit into one of the categories above?

    • BriAnn, Team Floret on

      You can plant them in the fall as they’re a hardy perennial.

  12. Cierra on

    Hi Floret!! I have some of your Shirley and Breadseed poppies. I am trying to decide when to direct sow them here in zone 9b. Since we have such warm and sunny autumns that run into early November at times, would I be safe to direct sow them in the beginning of September? Thank you!

  13. Ashley Lamb on

    I just found your page (Thank you Google) and I just have to say THANK YOU!!!! I can’t wait to dive deep into everything you’ve put out for us newbies to learn. I already have a better understanding of some of my flowers in the short time I’ve browsed.

  14. Lindsay on

    Hi Erin ,

    When sowing Iceland Poppies is it necessary to pre-chill the seeds for 12 weeks prior? I read about cold stratification but I notice you didn’t mention it in the instructions. Thanks :)

    • BriAnn, Team Floret on

      It isn’t necessary for these seeds to grow. Happy growing!

  15. Andra Bobbitt on

    Thank you for this primer as you are truly helping us gardeners make the world more beautiful and poppies just add the exclamation point! Still haven’t had the best luck on the Oregon coast with Icelandic but I’m back at it. (Supposedly rabbits don’t like them—ha, ate them all first year after winning lottery and getting your seeds). Breadseeds are the most fun and seeds do make great gifts. I used origami paper to make little envelopes and attached them to dried poppy head stems which I’d painted all different colors. I get folks telling me how their poppies grew which makes me smile.

  16. Danae on

    What is the blackish brown goo on the outside of my poppy pods? Bug poop? Scrubbing them ruins that green gray color. I have had to place organza bags on my poppy pods, some have still got the goo on them. Is it sap?

  17. Linh Le on

    These are so beautiful I can’t wait to try them I gotta keep retrying it says to plant them in the fall. They look so good in your photos!

  18. Janet McNaughton on

    I live in a place with cool summers and, outside the raised vegetable beds, poor, acidic soil. The weather should be ideal for Iceland poppies. I’ve started some, just a few came up but it was a first try, and I’m starting another batch now. I can’t seem to find information about soil conditions. I’m hoping to naturalize them, as I have with lupins. I have read that they don’t thrive in rich soil, but there must be a happy medium between total neglect and pampering. If I loosen up some soil in what’s basically a meadow (it’s the septic field) and plunk them in, will they be okay or should I so something to condition the soil? I can provide all the composted seaweed they want if that would help.

  19. Sue Trott on

    I’m a home gardener & I’ve been growing poppies for a few years,

    I started with the Shirley poppies & sprinkling seed on top of snow & has good success. I also winter sowed some of these so then I could plant them were I wanted them.

    Year two, many self seeded & the Shirley poppies came back. I also tried sprinkling & winter sowing some bread seed poppies & had some luck with those.

    I really like these poppies as they grow when the tulips have faded & other perennials are starting to bloom.

    This year I expanded my poppy collection & started a pack of Iceland poppies in the basement under growlights. I am in the process of transplanting them outside. Hopefully they will be a success.

    I also got some California poppies to add to my mix for summer time.

    I’m in WI zone 5B.

  20. Scott Brant - Foolish Blooms Farm on

    Has anyone had success with the Hummingbird variety of poppy? I have grow it for several years but the flower heads don’t fully open. Some do, and the flowers are stunning. Large pastel blossoms. But most of the flowers do not develop – it’s like they can’t open the bud heads. We live in NW Montana and our Icelandic poppies do great.

  21. JACQUIE on

    Thankyou for the information on keeping them going, I’ve started the breaded (I know they don’t like being transplanted)& the California in 72cell trays, so far after a 10 day in the freezer spell they have all emerged from their cell and are looking like yours in the photos, I will baby them & hope for the best

  22. Nthipi Mthethwa on

    Thank you so very much for this information. A friend gifted me a packet of Black peony poppies and I was planning to start the seeds indoors. So happy I read this before making that mistake. Looking forward to have a crack at growing these stunning flowers. Thanks again!

  23. I. Darula on

    I live in CO, where it is hot and dry in the summer. I have amazing oriental poppies. But I don’t understand why I haven’t had any luck with all the other types of poppies. Believe me, I’ve tried. I’ve tried planting the seeds at different times in the spring and early summer months. Covering the seeds, lightly, not covering the seeds (do the birds gobble them up?). Leaving the seed packets in the refrigerator to make sure they have a cool period. Yikes, this is ridiculous. Down the street there is a house with a gorgeous display of CA poppies, which bloom in the summer. I won’t give up, but what is the trick? Or something I think I should do that might help?

    I’ve purchased Iceland poppy seeds from Floret. Ok, you can’t plant the seeds directly in the ground. I get it. So this year I’m starting them inside in trays. Then transplanting them outside. Last year direct seeding resulted in zero flowers.

    Any suggestions?

    • BriAnn, Team Floret on

      Here on the farm we have great success with starting them in seed trays and maintaining a soil temperature of 70 degrees until sprouts emerge. Keep trying and I hope you’ll get to see blooms this year!

  24. Lisa Dunlap on

    Thank you for the information! My mother always grew a few poppies and I’ve been able to collect her seed and continue sowing after the first frost in NC. It’s always a joy in the spring to see where thy pop up! The variety I have does not transplant well but I’ve always had plants to show up in the spring- beautiful reds and purples!

  25. Audrey on

    I got a free packet and sprinkled on top of snow in my prepared bed one year and that little care has resulted in nothing.

  26. Tammy Wharton on

    I agree with Callie. I haven’t had much luck in the past. One year I had a few at bud stage, then they just died. I’m hoping to get some to live this year by direct sowing. Thank you.

  27. Jennifer Dodds on

    I grow a few varieties of Shirley poppies in my garden. I take lots of pictures and then turn the pictures into paintings. If you are interested checkouts jenniferdoddsart.com for poppy paintings!

  28. Kyle on

    Hi there! I live in south east Michigan (detroit), our weather is known to be very up and down. I was wondering if I direct sow poppy seeds when I should do that. Some days are really warm while the next day will be a snow storm. My yard is a south facing yard so it gets A LOT of sun and I barely have to shovel when it does snow because it melts so fast. Anyway, I’ve gathered that I will have to save my Icelandic poppies for next year when I have time before hand to start them inside. As for my others, I just don’t know when I should plant my seeds outside. I was told by a friend that I should sow them before our last frost date, but I’m not sure if that’s true. Also, since my yard gets a lot of sun, should I plant them closer to other plants that can shade them or just put them in a sunny non-obstructed spot?
    Anyway, thanks for this blog post. I hope one day my gardening skills can elevate to being close to yours.

    • BriAnn, Team Floret on

      Unpredictable weather patterns can be tricky but I’d suggest planting them after your last spring frost to be safe. If they get at least 8 hours of sunlight a day they’ll be happy.

  29. Kallie on

    This helps a bunch! Haven’t had much luck with growing poppies in the past.

  30. Sue Dempsey on

    We grow red Flanders Field, or corn, poppies. We are a Community garden growing flowers for the neighboring dementia, daycare participants to use in flower arranging therapy. Many of them are veterans, so we harvest these historic poppies just for them. Otherwise it is not worth the effort! We have to use a 2 person team to harvest. One cuts a poppy and turns the thin stem upside down. The other uses a special torch style lighter and sears the oozing outer edges with flame. They are stunning filling a vase. We add phosphate to the soil to make the red color really pop

  31. Liz on

    Maravilloso…gracias por tu generosidad. Atte. E.Scott.

  32. Samantha on

    Question.. I’m so excited to try breadseed poppies for the first time this year!! I’m just curious if they are a cut and come again flower or if they have a short single bloom window? Does heat make them bolt? And how long until the seed pods dry out/will they stick around that pretty color through the summer? Just planning my flower border and I was curious. Thanks!

    • BriAnn, Team Floret on

      Breadseed poppies are one-hit-wonders so they won’t continue to bloom after you’ve harvested the blooms. They’re considered a hardy annual and prefer cooler temperatures when starting out.

  33. Jen on

    We love to grow Icelandic poppies here in Alaska. They’re one of the few perennials that, with enough snowcover for insulation, always return and bloom all summer long!

  34. Dee on

    Do critters like these? We have deer and groundhogs. Fencing is not a solution as we live on a deep slope. Thanks!

  35. starlene walker on

    Thank you so much for all your great information. I love reading them,and will do my best to follow them.lol Poppies are one of my favorites. This year I am going to plant white frills and Black beauty.I also bought some Hen and Chickens for the second time. They are so cool. I want them.lol

  36. Carola on

    In the spring and early summer my garden is full of California poppies and Shirley and Breadseed poppies. I heard people who were passing by saying “This looks like a Monet painting”. Poppies just make me happy and I never tire of them.

  37. carol on

    Thank you for all of the great info! I have planted my California poppies from floret indoors–how long until they pop up? I am babying them, and cannot wait to see them!

  38. Laura-Lea Price on

    What is the name of the large pink poppies that are really ruffled i n the last picture? I inherited seed from my father in-law. They are so beautiful.

  39. Maggie on

    I love how poppies show up all over the garden and along the roads, parking lots and hillsides. They are a ray of sunshine and always make me smile 😁 I am looking forward to my floret poppies this year

  40. Lena on

    I love Asian poppies. They grow well in Oregon and I always have them bloom beautifully and profusely in my yard. I never tried them as cut flowers though. I’ll check their vase life this year.

  41. Frances A Dreadin on

    I planted the Breadseed poppies for the first time. I live in NW Florida with early spring weather, so I sowed them outdoors in February. They have sprouted but seem to have stopped growing. What would be the ideal time for starting in my area, zone 8b?

    • BriAnn, Team Floret on

      I’d think they’d do better growing in your coolest months before it gets too hot for them.

  42. Katie Pence on

    I tend to buy Icelandic poppy starts, have felt seeding was too tricky. I love my red bread seed poppies. They grow everywhere . I remember first time I saw them in the back of an older woman’s garden. I asked her what they were and she said “oh opium poppies dear”. I vowed to be an old lady with opium poppies growing in my yard. Now at 62, forty years later, I guess I’m there.

  43. Debra Rosenberg on

    Thank you so much! You make me such a better gardener. And since our gardens are dedicated to raising money for a local food bank I appreciate all your are teaching me to increase my yields and have higher quality flowers.!

  44. Nisha on

    Thank you for all this great info! I hesitated to start the Icelandic poppy seeds this year, but after reading this, I will start them late summer. I bought some mature Icelandic poppies from our local nursery & planted last month. So far they are doing great!!

  45. Sharon on

    I have red and pink bread seed poppies in my garden. Thirty five years ago I saw them in someone’s front yard, I knocked on their door and gushed about these flowers. She owner gave me a brief history and told me to come back in the fall for seeds. I still adore these beauties that pop up throughout my garden every year.

  46. Lindsay on

    Question on going to seed. If you don’t want them to self-seed but want to wait and collect seed for next year, what should you do?

  47. Karen on

    Please don’t give up on Icelandic poppies if you are a beginner! Here in central Oregon where all “seeds” are made robust….they are easy. Just buy a mature plant or two ( usually inexpensive) and plant near where you want a future bed. They will self seed without any help from you if you leave them alone. I usually tuck them into a perennial bed so when they die back the dead pods are unobtrusive . The next year you will have several, probably many if you don’t disturb the soil. Be careful as you weed….. they resemble common weeds!

  48. Tonya on

    Thank you for this article Erin. I have grown poppies for my personal garden, but not as a crop. I love the seed pods and the re-seeding aspects!

  49. Patsy on

    Great article, Erin. Thank you. I have tried poppies in the past with little luck except in dry climates. Western WA hasn’t worked for me yet. I’m going to try again this year because they are my absolute favorite garden flower.

  50. Linda Cobb on

    It is these kinds of posts that are so helpful to us Gardener us. Thank you so much for always leading the way and horticulture for the home gardener or the flower farmer. I love these posts and them get a lot out of them. Thank you so much

  51. Leda Bower on

    Haaaa, you are so right about the non beginner part. I had success this year in the seedlings so far, but it’s taken a couple of years. I just had to change my thinking about this glorious flower and take more time with it and hopefully will have something to come to fruition . Growing this flower is humbling and I grow Orchids well…..

  52. Kevin on

    Hi Erin,
    I enjoyed reading your poppy primer. I was hoping to learn more about Oriental poppies. Would you please consider including Oriental poppies in your next poppy primer?

  53. Angela Walle on

    Icelandic Poppies are for sure not a beginner crop. Left mine in the tray too long. Had trouble getting them to germinate. Sigh. Lost the whole crop. Good thing the seeds are not super expensive. Too late for this year but I will try again next year :).

  54. Melinda Gilligan on

    Is there a source for started plants? I am in New Jersey, garden centers never seem to carry them.

  55. Marcia Willems on

    Thank you the article about poppies! LOVE poppies.. a shame that I cannot order seeds from the USA.. love to try the papaver nudicaule.
    Greetings from The Netherlands

  56. Rhonda on

    I have always loved the California poppies! Growing up in Southern California, they were the first sign of spring!
    The new varieties are beautiful…Strawberries and Cream is one of my favorites! They are easy to sow, and reseed so you get some next year!
    And a couple years ago I sowed some purple Shirley poppy seeds in a little corner of my flower bed. They came up like gang busters! And the purple was dark in the center! And, the cutest little seed pods! I saved a lot of seeds…I’m putting them in this year again! The big bumblebees love them!

  57. Renata on

    I saw on Facebook once to put pennies/copper into the vase to prolong the vase life and I think it works for lots of flowers. I have not been able to grow poppies though to see if this worked.

  58. Mari Beth on

    Thank you for the poppy inspiration! I had the prettiest Iceland poppy for a few years. I transplanted it and it seems to have disappeared. Maybe the slugs got it. :( Or didn’t like the transplant. Oh mother nature!
    I’ve grown bread seed for a few years. The latest don’t have the vent holes that open in the top. Have you had any experience like that? I don’t know if it’s me or the seed type. (The seed packet said bread seed.) I will try yours and compare!

  59. Carrie on

    I love the bag trick! Thanks- I’ll try it this year. We live in the Colorado Rockies at nearly 10K feet. It’s hard growing! However, poppies do really well, and the California variety bloom a dark orange- like in California. The oriental poppies (you didn’t mention them) are gorgeous but short lived. Any thoughts on how to keep them blooming throughout the summer?

  60. Linda on

    Here in North Vancouver, Canada the yellow ones show up every year along the edges of my driveway. I have never thought to use them as cut flowers because they are not tall (6” at most). I also planted a deep orange one in a pot on the south side of my garden and —in spite of heavy snow this winter, it seems ready to give us new blooms this year. Thanks for this info, Erin. We appreciate you!

  61. Isabelle Olikier on

    Hi Erin,
    I also grow Papaver atlanticum (rupifragum). It’s blooming for months and months here in Belgium. Only one colour : orange but so nice with purple and orange tulips in Spring and with roses in the same colours later. It selfseeds a lot.

  62. Laura on

    Hello – I purchased several varieties of poppies from your company & i did cold stratification on them , then I just direct sowed into my garden beds. I have a bunch of seedlings since December. Unfortunately only a few are what I’d say are 4 inches big , the rest are small, but they cover a 3×3 area in a fairly dense mat. As I live in 8b, Austin TX & this was a just for fun experiment. I’d like to know if I need to fertilize them & if so with what type? I’ve seen people around here successfully grow a red poppy, but my gardening color palette does not run to hot, bold colors. I live in Texas, the weathers hot enough I don’t need to see hot colors in my garden!
    Any suggestions would be great and while hope springs eternal, honestly I’m not expecting much.

    Thank you and your flower company is just lovely and I enjoy the variety you offer.

  63. Lorilyn wiering on

    I live in Michigan, zone 5, and last year I winter sowed breadseed and Shirley poppies with great success. In mid January I put a couple inches of damp seed starter in hinged milk jug gallons, tossed in seed, taped up the hinges and set these jugs in the yard next to the house, atop inches of snow! By early may they were ready to plant into the garden. What fun!

  64. Cindy on

    I have old fashioned oriental poppies (orange) and they always grow with crooked stems. Is there anything I can do to get them to grow straight? Thanks for your help!

  65. Sarah Jamieson on

    Are peony poppies the same as bread seed poppies? If not, how do you seed and grow them?

    • BriAnn, Team Floret on

      Yes they are. Pink Peony is a variety of breadseed poppy.

  66. Sarah on

    How soon can California poppies be directly sown? As soon as the soil can be worked?


    • BriAnn, Team Floret on

      When night time temperatures are above 50 degrees ideally.

  67. Mishayla on

    Hello! I read your reply to the previous question about cold stratification. I had read online as well that all poppies needed it. So I have bread seed poppies as well as peony poppies and Shirley poppies. I’m starting them for the first time. Do any of my varieties need cold stratification? Thank you!

  68. Michelle on

    Hi, I purchased poppy seeds from you already, however you don’t specify that they need cold stratification. Every other place and gardener I talk to states you MUST cold stratify poppy seeds for them to germinate. Can you point me in the right direction for your seed specifically? I purchased the California and Shirley variety. Thanks!

    • BriAnn, Team Floret on

      They’ll grow fine without being cold stratified. Happy planting!

  69. Sarah on

    I have the pink breadseed poppies but my stems were not as big or beautiful as yours. Im curious as to how you got such long stems for cutting!? I was to try california poppies next.

    • BriAnn, Team Floret on

      We plant them fairly close together and fertilize them throughout the growing season. They get full sun during the day as well.

  70. Shirley Hart on

    Hello. I grew Lauren grape purple poppy last year which I started using the winter sow technique. They were so beautiful and I hope have reseeded . I’m wondering what group they would fit into ?

  71. Kelly C Tompkins on

    I have grown poppies most of my life. And I’m 71! I have grown somniferum poppies, California poppies, woodland poppies, Shirley poppies and Flanders Field poppies. I lived in Texas for a time and they are grown everywhere there. I love Oriental poppies, but it’s very hard to find any varieties except red, orange, or white. Sometimes pink. I have not grown Iceland poppies, though I plan to buy a few plants this year. Your seeds are so tempting, and your photographs are astonishingly beautiful. You should offer posters of your photographs!

  72. Susan Rodgers on

    I am growing poppies for the 1st time this year. I purchased them from you. I’m excited to get them started but I am going to be patient for when the time comes to do it correctly.

  73. Joshua Spain on

    Hi! We’re endlessly inspired by you. We just received our first packet of Iceland Poppy seeds and we can’t wait to get them started! I seem to recall seeing a recommendation to cold stratify the seeds for a week in the freezer before sowing in fall. Is there any merit to this technique, or do you find it unnecessary?

    Thanks so much!

  74. Judy on

    Which variety is showen in your final picture, pink and frilly? I have been enjoying these for many decades, but now need to refresh with new seeds. Thank you for your excellent information.

  75. Mariann on

    I winter sowed Shirley poppies with great results.

  76. Kami on

    Thank you so much for clarifying the traits and needs of each variety, it is extremely helpful. Your pics are phenomenal and I can’t wait to get a bunch of seeds and seed if I can get them going here. I have scattered seeds in the past with minimal results but will try your timing suggestions.

  77. Marcie Sextro on

    Just beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge. These are def. on my list for next year.

  78. Jill on

    I took the method from Erin the Impatient Gardener this winter and sprinkled breadseed poppies in January on top on the snow. Huge success. I should have thinned them but they are just now beginning to bloom and are so beautiful. I also have California Poppies that self seed each year and I love them.

  79. Charlotte on

    Such great information! Thanks for sharing. I’m just getting started (researching) but growing up we had poppies and I’ve always loved them.

  80. Sue R on

    Thanks for sharing. I’ve never known the difference

  81. Mojca on

    I am only growing Oriental poppies (Papaver orientale), they’re perennial, and they come in bunch of beautiful colors. The whole plant dies back in autumn, and then in the spring you have even bigger clump of a plant than a year before.
    You can divide a clump every couple of years, and make yourself new plants for free.
    I have no idea about the vase life, because I just leave flowers for bees to enjoy them.

  82. Christine Sciolaro on

    I am a super amateur but very experimental back yard flower grower. Poppies are my absolute favorite flower and this year I tried winter sowing in used milk jugs for all kinds of seeds. I have a few fails but lots of success! The poppies, and I had all kinds represented..even 3 varieties of California poppies, were 100% successful. It has been my biggest win this season. Thank you for this really informative information and content. Christine Sciolaro

  83. Kathleen + Hollywood on

    My all time favorite flowers are the Iceland Poppies my neighbor gave me as a start years ago while living in Seattle. Having moved to Skagit County I was worried they may not survive the cold winter but they did and are thriving! More blooms than ever before!! I’m so excited to now try to get some seed from them. What was profound to me was reading you grow them under cover and I can understand why. Mine were just pacing themselves waiting for just one day of sun amidst all this rain. After that single day of sunshine it began raining very hard again and the only thing I wanted to do was stand over this gorgeous plant with my umbrella. I don’t want to move it because we see it outside our favorite window but I am very grateful to learn from your experience and will create a special ornamental garden cover for it perhaps from wisteria or grape vines. Mahalo for sharing your knowledge so freely!

  84. Young Diep on

    I would love to start growing poppy and want to know where I can purchase seeds from. Thank you

  85. Katherine Leppek on

    Have you grown Matilija Poppy Seeds? I received some seeds in 2021 and have not had success germinating. I have not tried the fire method.

    Thank you.
    K. Leppek, Zone 8b

  86. Phyllis Copt on

    I sow peony poppy seed on top of snow in February here in NE Kansas. They are prolific and never disappoint. I am excited to get Iceland poppy seed from Floret Farm. We are getting snow today, so perfect timing.

  87. Lynette on

    I have just finished watching your summer series videos – so helpful! Can you advise if you pinch papaver somniferum? Mine get the huge beanstalk, hollow stem and I am wondering if that is because I have never pinched them.

  88. Jane on

    Are Shirley poppies cut and come again? Something, I suspect rabbits, have eaten the tops of my poppy plants. Will the come back?

  89. Nima Bently on

    Can the breadseed poppy seeds be harvested and used for baking? Are they edible? I saw somewhere that breadseed poppy seeds are used for baking but just want to make sure…..

  90. Kenneth from Oregon on

    I been growing poppies for a long time.
    Through trial and error i have learned alot about specifically annual poppys. My favorite cultivar is papaver somniferum var Black Swan from botanical interests. They sell quality seeds. 90% germination in like five days, amazing. As a matter of fact i have a balcony full of black swan poppys in early bloom on my balcony. They are definitely grabbing attention from the neighborhood. Im an ex cannabis grower so it took me a few tries because poppys are the opposite of cannabis. Poppys are a long day flower. That means that they flower in late spring when the days get longer as where cannabis flowers in the fall when the days get shorter. Yea took me a while to wrap my mind around that. The Black Swan’s i have now are about 3 and a half, 4 feet tall with about four smaller pods and one big top pod per plant with gorgeous feathered dark purple flowers. I live here in southern Oregon and we get perfect early spring weather. I have had the most success starting them in a sunny window around January and putting them outside as soon as they’re established well in the soil. The neat thing about poppys is i can also plant them in the fall and they will overwinter and pop up early with massive blooms. So plant some poppys. There fun, pretty and full of seeds.

  91. Kathleen on

    Hi! I am confused by the information I’ve read here versus what I find on the seed package I purchased from you. I’m in zone 5 and the soil can be worked a bit here so I thought it would be okay to direct seed my Shirley and Breadseed poppies. When I look on the package, it says to direct sow after all danger of frost has passed. Could someone please clarify? Thanks a bunch!

  92. E on

    Thank you for this primer! Super helpful :) and now I know why my Iceland Poppy seeds never make it!!

  93. Julie on

    Isn’t that applicable to Oriental poppies ?

  94. Kim Carlsen on

    Hi once you sear the poppies do you cut the seared end off at any point. Thank yo

  95. Parrish on

    She has two books…. and another about to be released.

  96. Melissa A Peterson on

    Thank you. This was very helpful. Now to go through all my poppy seeds and figure out which of the 4 categories they fall into.
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

  97. Dianne Kelly on

    I have just bought every variety of poppy seed from your wonderful seed collection. Plus many more flower varieties. So excited, however I will have to learn as much as I can so they survive here in Australia. We don’t get snow at Emu Vale but because it is high we get very cold winters, frosts, and hot (not humid ) summers.
    I would love you to one day publish a book with all the info needed to propagate your beautiful seeds.

  98. Laura Gessert on

    Thank you for the wonderful instructions. One thing you forgot to mention on self sowing is that if you apply mulch to your garden the self sowing will not happen . I had purchased Icelandic ones and wondered why they did not come back :(
    Did you know opium poppies are illegal to grow ? They are the second type that you mentioned the Breadseed variety . The Poppy Act was passed in the1940s . Especially important for people trying to be flower farmers be careful if you can do not grow a lot near the road . Even having the seed pops drying is illegal .The Government has been trying to stop seed catalogues from selling them .
    If you buy bulk seed also and use it for cooking or tea be careful of your source . People have died from purchasing it from sources where it was not waged properly .
    I am growing them this year by winter sowing in jugs as there is a very good group on FB where many have had success with this !

  99. Tara on

    Thank you! I never knew poppies were self seeding. Do poppies self seed successfully in all parts of the country? Or is it best to collect the seed pods every year. I’m in zone 7.

  100. Sally Burke on

    Do you have any information on the seed storage viability of poppies? I have packets of lettuce leaf poppies and other non-descript varieties from a few years ago. I am doing some test germination on them but wondered if you could provide any feedback on this. Thank you for this great information!

  101. Indira Dayal on

    I grow Shirley poppies in New Delhi.
    I planted directly pink and white seeds only which is what I wanted, but the bed was invaded by older red ones from last year’s crop.
    Lesson learned…..transplant the seedlings of colours you want after clearing the bed.
    However’ you wrote that it is difficult to transplant Shirley poppies? I do not want red poppies at all next year!

  102. Meg on

    I love poppies, but never understood them very well. Thank you for the explanation of different types of poppies. I think I have grown oriental poppies in the past – wedding flower and a scarlet red that lasted about15 years. I am excited to start all of the Shirley seeds that I ordered from you. I am new to starting things by seed, so I am happy to hear that Shirley poppies may be easier than others! :). Thank you also for the great seed starting videos. Wish me luck!!

  103. Meredith Coe on

    Thank you for your helpful article on growing poppies and their incredible varieties. I am trying to create a picking garden at home as I have been assigned doing the local church flowers. I am most concerned about length of time in a vase. I now know that I would like to grow iceland poppies and shirley poppies. I usually have to go into the church and reassess the flowers after about 3 or 4 days every week, so I think they would look lovely and the flowers are produced at a time when there are not many flowers around in the garden.

  104. Deb on

    Can you grow poppies in Florida

  105. Rachel on

    Thank you for always being willing to share your hard earned knowledge and tips! You are much appreciated!! This article was so helpful.

  106. Teresa Britton on

    Why did you not mention oriental poppies? There is a poppy my mother use to grow that looks like an orange oriental poppy but was an annual. I can not find out what it was and would love to know.

  107. Marie on

    I absolutely love Lauren’s Grape Poppy. It’s awesome!

  108. Alexis Rodrigue on

    South Louisiana resident here. I’m super excited and interested in adding Poppies to my garden, but this will be my first time planting. According to LSU Ag Center, Shirley, Iceland, California, and Peony-flowered poppies are the best ones for our area. Looking for any tips or info anyone is willing to share!


  109. Holly Santa on

    I love all poppies, i usually sprinkle them late in the Fall ! I am so excited to get my seeds. Can i sow these right in the ground in the Fall? Thank you

    Holly Santa

  110. Antoinette on

    I’m currently reading your book! (SO EXCITED).
    If sowed late Summer and planted in the Fall are they required to be covered through the winter?
    Thanks so much for helping me learn!

  111. Cherith on

    I live in Australia in quite a cold winter climate. I planted Iceland poppies from seedlings mid May, which is right in the middle of winter. 12 weeks on and they are all growing tall poppies ready to be picked soon. I started some seeds in mini greenhouses 2 weeks ago and they have come up well. They are sitting in water as recommended. Fingers crossed the good growing continues and I can plant them out.

  112. Sherrie Cullen on

    I bought a bunch of Icelandic poppies as plants in a quart size back in April and I’ve put them on my 8’ row planter boxes on my balcony. They are still budding but due to the heat now they are almost on their way out with less and less buds. Should I leave the root in the planter boxes or take them out like bearded irises rhizomes? Can I plant anything else to fill up the planter boxes?

  113. Shelly on

    I bought some Turkenlouis Oriental Poppy bulbs and while they all were healthly looking none of the buds would open completly. What did I do wrong?

  114. Helena on

    My Oriental Poppies got bashed about by wind and rain in Ireland this summer, it’s a new garden to me so I’m discovering each week what’s opening up.
    Should I cut it back now and hope for new blooms and save the seed pods?

  115. Trout Lily Farm on

    If you are a cheerleader for honeybees, then you absolutely must have bread seed poppies in your gardens. The moment the poppies open they flowers become a magnetic draw for these busy pollinators. The foraging frenzy is short lived however, and within a few hours the feasting ends, the pollen being collected ( pollination accomplished- thank you little ladies !) , petals drop , until tomorrow offering more spectacular blooms and the feast resumes again. Try to capture the feasting with the slow motion function on your smartphone and you will be mesmerized by the ariel acrobatics for hours on end!

  116. Misty on

    To the commenter asking about papaver orientale — I believe these are often excluded from cut flower tutorials and commercial operations because they are large perennials that rarely bloom before their second or third year, and therefore take up a lot of space that is usually recycled with later season plantings like zinnias. I also adore these flowers, and as I only grow a small cutting garden to supply myself and random friends and hosts with arrangements for the house, this year I experimented with using them as cuts; they seem to behave much like papaver somniferum, or breadseed poppies — sear after cutting, and a short vase life, but WOW do they make an impact!

  117. Victoria Austin on

    Wait for the first set of true leaves. There is a fine balance between keeping them growing and getting too damp and rotting. They quite often die when they get to the planting out size. If 2 are planted near each other and they are tiny wait till they are bigger before you pull them apart. The stems are very fragile. I would take off any plastic bags or proper gator lids at this stage so the humidity drops a little. You have done the hardest part so congratulations. When potting on use a potting mix if possible. Weirdly too many nutrients mke them more likely to rot. I am such a feeder for plants so this does involve going to the garden center. It will however be worth it and they will thank you in the most beautiful way. X

  118. Roger/Barbara Cain on

    I got interested on poppies om Memorial Day. A trivia question got me. I thought Flanders field was in northern France. That was not a choice so I picked Germany. Actually it is it’s own area in northern Belgium. I was surprised how short a poem was written about it during WW I. The ones I see commonly in Trenton, Mo., are orange with black centers. I plan to dig a few up or get seeds to start a dedicated bed to have for next year. I would love to visit Flanders to see all of the Dutch flowers. Pella, Iowa, is a favorite trip for their tulip festival every spring.

  119. Robert on

    What type are the pink ones that look more like carnations than poppies pictured just above “STAY IN THE LOOP WITH OUR MONTHLY UPDATES?” They are beautiful. Thanks.

  120. Rita on

    I got a late start on sowing my Icelandic poppy seeds and I have really itty bitty (3-4) cm seedlings. Do I have to wait for them to get full size or can I plant them out in hopes they take as if they were directly sown. Has anyone experimented?

  121. Matthew on

    Hi there !

    What’s the best way to keep the seedlings going after they are sprouting in a 72 cell tray. Should they be transplanted into a larger pot or planted outside now?

  122. Abby on

    I am a pretty new flower Gardener, although I’ve had a vegetable garden for many years. I had a wonderful time with my floret flowers as last year. I had great success with the seeds that I started indoors but virtually no success with the directly sown varieties. Is a drip system the best way to water when trying to germinate these seeds? Do I need to invest in some slug repellent? Any tips on direct sown care are appreciated.

  123. Gina on

    I am so excited for my little poppy sprouts right now! However, I am completely nervous. I got a heat mat and a seed tray with bottom watering and a dome, but I am afraid they aren’t getting enough light. I have them planted in the same tray as some snapdragons and foxglove. (All from your beautiful shop). This is my first year with these seedlings and They seem so fragile and wimpy. I have south facing slider doors to my deck that they are sitting in front of and the long skinniness of most of the seedlings makes me think they aren’t getting enough light. Wondering about a growth light, but don’t want to figure out how to hang the ones on chains.. Is there a chance that this one will work to bring a bit more light?


    Thank you!

  124. Ashley Farley on

    My greatest challenge is getting them to not grow all wirery, The bread seed Hungarian variety tends to have heavy leaves and will pull the stalks down. The icelandic worked well as a direct sow here in Colorado. I couldn’t ever get them to grow if I seed started them inside. The Shirley’s tend to do well but also go wirery too. Any info on how to keep them upright and stalks from being thin is greatly appreciated.

  125. Debby on

    Maybe I missed it, but what about papaver orientale? I once grew a salmon pink one called coral reef that I loved.

  126. Georgina Velasquez on

    I went to Israel a few years ago and fell in love with a red poppy that I seen everywhere there and can’t seem to find seeds for these anywhere. Any ideas?

  127. Jesika on

    I planted Shirley poppies from seed indoors and will be transplanting outdoors in hopefully 4 weeks! I didn’t realize they dislike being transplanted. It’s my first time and this blog is very helpful.
    I grew California poppies last year here in SW Minnesota and they were so easy and bloomed constantly as long as they were dead headed. Deadheading is key!

  128. Sharon on

    I bought Icelandic poppy seeds and started them indoors in a tray, they germinated perfectly but they got so tall and leggy even with a light and I watered them from below but within two weeks they had all shriveled up and died before getting any true leaves. Bummer. I’d like to try again but I have no idea what I did wrong.

  129. Heather on

    You generally remove the top humidity dome when you get sprouting. Take emerging seedlings off the heat mat then as well (once your seeds have sprouted).

  130. Cindy Smith-Putnam on

    I believe the answer is that they emit a sappy type liquid that clouds the water and is toxic to other flowers in the same water. The searing seals the cut stem and prevents water contamination.

  131. Lyndsey on

    Do any of these varieties do well in warm climates? I’m in Houston, TX and I do occasionally plant poppy that I buy at the nursery but they have a relatively short life span bc it’s gets to warm too quickly here. Thanks!

  132. Jo Ann Wright on

    I grew California poppies last year for the first time. They were lovely and caught the eye of all who saw them in bouquets and always with the question, “What is that flower?” They are so dainty and sweet and I love them.

  133. Julie on

    So fascinating! I’ve never heard of using boiling water or searing ends of stems once cut. Why does this help? Any other flowers that benefit from this practice? Thanks!!

  134. Melissa Rafferty on

    I live in Missouri and I have never grown poppies. I would love to grow them this year but I am unsure what conditions they require. Should they grow in full sun or part sun? Any shared knowledge would be greatly appreciated .

  135. Barbara Eilert on

    Slugs! I have an easy way to keep them away from plants: layer sand all around the plants. They do NOT like the gritty texture, and the sand easily blends with the soil when turning after harvest.

  136. Natalie Cross on

    This is my third year growing poppies, I grow all varieties and am able to direct sow in the fall since I live in Texas. I mix my seed with sand to disperse the seed but I am still having problems with soooo many seeds coming up together. Do I really need to thin to get the most out of my flowers? I have one neighbor who does not thin and his still look amazing year after year. Right now I have so many coming up that thinning seems overwhelming. Any advice on sowing and thinning is appreciated!!

  137. Chrissy on

    This will be my second year of growing poppies from Floret seed. Two of my favorite varieties from last year are Amazing Grey and Mother of Pearl. I actually planted seed twice last year – direct sown in early spring then again the beginning of August for blooms in early to mid Oct. I live in growing zone 6a.

  138. Kara Mullins on

    Last season, poppies eluded me! This year I’m combating this failure! My direct seeding had failed last year, this year I’m jumping the season by doing the peet pods. So far, I’m in good success! I’ve transplanted the bread seed poppies to peet pots and they continue to grow. Soon they will head to the tunnel, after a little hardening off. Now that I read this blog, I wish I had started my Iceland’s sooner, but I only received my seed recently, and didn’t realize how soon I should start it! Now I know.
    I definitely see the difference in poppies simply by the seed, but the vase life was unknown to me. I love poppies, and truly hope this year will be successful! Thanks for the blog! I wish your little-big Farm ALL the success!

  139. Stacy on

    When starting poppies in seed trays should I be using a special type of soil? Will regular potting soil be okay?

  140. Jennifer on

    I finally had success with poppies last year after trying for several years. I adore the ‘Mother-of-Pearl’ Shirley poppies I grew. My ‘Lauren’s Grape’ breadseed poppies were also pretty, and this year I am excited to try ‘Black Swan’. I am hoping that last year’s also self-seed.

  141. Cindi Poole on

    I grew some poppies from seed last year that a neighbor gave me. I fell in love with them. I am trying a few different ones this year and am also trying the new Amazing Grey ones. I cannot wait to see those.

  142. Laura Timmerman on

    What size seed trays do you use for Iceland Poppies? Number of seeds per cell?

    • Angela, Team Floret on

      Hi Laura- We start them in 288 trays. Happy planting!

  143. Lin alexander on

    We grow poppies for mix bouquets we sow them sparingly in lengths of gutter when they are ready we dig a shallow gutter size trench and starting at one end gently push the off into the trench no root disturbance and neat rows Lin and sue
    Strawhouse flowers

  144. Laura webley on

    I seeded Icelandic poppies 2 weeks ago under a grow light and they sprouted in 7 days!!! Now I am very excited to get them into the ground in the greenhouse can I transplant as soon as they have true leaves. I would love to offer them at market for Easter 8-9 weeks from now Are my expectations to high? I am just so excited

  145. Jenny Kohrman on

    Hi, I’m just getting started in the flower business – planning to plant my first beds this spring. I live in MN – zone 4a. We can have some really strong spring storms from April-June. Strong wind and snow is a possibility. Our last frost date is mid-late May. Should I sow my poppies in a caterpillar? I wasn’t planning to invest in one this year, but it seems like if I want poppies, I had better purchase one. Please advise. Thank you!!

  146. Seana C. Ames on

    I plant poppy seeds in zone 5b, January and February. The repeated freezes and thaws encourage germination.

  147. Cathy on

    I am just getting started and don’t think of myself as having a green thumb, but I grew some knockout roses and now am obsessed to try more. I live in the north suburbs of Chicago we are zone 5 and I wonder which of your beautiful flowers might do best here? Since I struggle a bit, I would like to try something that has the best shot at success.

  148. Colin Wright on

    ‘[Iceland poppies] cannot be direct seeded and must be started in trays and transplanted into good growing ground when the time is right.’

    I’ve got some Iceland poppies growing out front that I direct seeded this spring. I don’t recall the details, but I don’t think I did anything extraordinary. I live in Southern Oregon, on the edge between USDA Zones 8 and 9.

  149. Alison Engstrom on

    Hi Floret! I purchased a few varieties of breadseed poppies from you and I’m curious about watering. New York has had much more rain than usual and the growth I have had on the seedlings have turned a yellowish brown. Can too much rain hurt these plants? Thank you!

  150. Elizabeth Beattie on

    I love this guide so much as we are experimenting with a full bed of all the varieties you mention just to see what happens. We are in Ohio, zone 6 and planted in February. They all germinated really well and even the Iceland poppies gave us good germination from being direct seeded, although definitely not the best. We are just past our last frost date and patiently awaiting bloom time! It’s all so exciting. We definitely plan on fall planting for next season to get them sooner. Thank you for all that you do!!

  151. barb on

    what about soil preference?icelandics ?

  152. Megan Doddridge on

    I started my California poppy seedlings (first year grower!) from your sweet shop and wondering if its ok that they’re super leggy? How can I help them?

  153. Chelsea on

    Hi there! Chelsea in SeaTac Washington… we started our garden last year and made the mistake of using topsoil in our beds.. needless to say very few things thrived, but we had a couple of California poppies and a Shirley that raved the tough dirt and threw up some blooms! After some soil amendment this year we’re planting more Shirley, and several bread seed varieties from your shop. I’m excited to see their progress, thank you for the wonderful tips above!

  154. Tori on

    I live in Zone 6 Midwest. At this point it would be best to wait till next year to grow Icelandic poppies, right? It would have been best to start in February? We have really hot summers, here :(

  155. Britney on

    How far apart should i sow my bread seed poppies? I have my landscape fabric down and I’ve marked a 9×9 grid. Should i plant a few seeds in each circle or can i cut more circles closer together? Just trying to figure out the correct spacing…I’m in Sammamish Wa.

    • Team Floret on

      Hi Britney,
      9 inches apart for your Breadseed Poppies will be great.

  156. Kate Jackson on

    Thanks for the awesome information! The only thing that I’m still wondering is which poppies (seeds) need cold stratification?

    Thank you!

  157. Magyar Adrienn on

    I learnt this articles content and researching everything. I’m curious to know, why can that be that papaver orientale is not on this list? All other places listing that when talking about poppy types. Is it not good for cutting? Thanks for your answer in advance! Adri from Hungary

  158. Leslie Stewart on

    With the Shirley poppies, do they tolerate cool temps? You say direct sow as soon as the soil can be worked. Are they ok to put out with other cool season flowers in early spring (6-8 weeks before last frost) or do they need to be direct sown after all danger of frost?

  159. Pawel on

    Hello there, I’ve just sow two trays of Iceland Poppies! It is my first time I ever did it so I hope for the best, I fallow your tips from the book and from this post too :) I sow more than one seed per cells (3-4) and I just wondering if all of the seedlings will appear in the single cell should I get rid of the rest and just leave one the healthiest looking one, or perhaps I can leave two in one cell. Thank you :)

  160. Kym on

    When do I take off the plastic domes? And when do I remove from the heat mat? Thanks for help on this, very excited to grow poppies this year!

  161. Sarah Abare on

    Thank you for sharing! Just curious, when do you start direct sewing shirley poppies and transplanting Icelandic poppies? I live in the same region and would love your insight. Last year was my first cutting garden so I’m still learning so much! I was thinking mid-April, but just wondered what you usually do.

  162. Cachae on

    When sowing in trays, how many seeds should I sow per cell?

  163. Steph on

    Hi Erin! I just first wanted to say you have inspired me to expand my green thumb to the world of flowers as I’ve learned the last couple of years to grow a garden with more and more veggies and herbs! It’s such a fulfilling hobby!!! I tried this year for my first time the poppy seeds from your shop and I followed your instructions but am not sure on when I should take the covers off of these guys to let them grow before transporting outside! They came up strong, I’ve kept the clear covers on and have been bottom watering & then some of them wilted / have turned back into little hairs or seemed to disappear all together (assuming they got too sun to early? Did I over water/ too much moisture with the cover on? – my other tray has little sprouts showing tiny two leaves on the sprouts and so I’m trying to understand when do you know to take the greenhouse cover off of the trays 100%? This tray was planted in seed trays ~2 weeks ago. Thank you so much in advance!!!

  164. Kera M Barenaba on

    Such great info! So excited to get started and looking forward to receiving my seeds soon and get them in the dirt!

  165. Karri Mc. on

    Thanks Erin & Team Floret! Clear and concise information as usual. I also learned of the mistakes I was making but didn’t know it. Looking forward to SUCCESS this growing season. Yay!

  166. Laura on

    Well I feel better about my Iceland poppies now! I bought Iceland, Breadseed and Shirley from you last year and the Icelands were the only ones that didn’t grow. (Actually, one that I direct-sowed did pop up late in the season and I’m hoping it has made it through the winter to flower this spring!)

    Now, do you guys keep lights on these? You mention the heat mat but nothing about your light conditions (aside from barely covering). Do Iceland poppies germinate by light like others or is heat more important? I started some poppies inside last spring and they all expired on me… they came up but dried up eventually and I’m not sure why? Maybe they needed to be moved from the warm area after coming up? They didn’t even get to the point of true leaves. :( I will try again this year! I bought some of the new ‘Amazing Grey’ Shirley poppies and can’t wait to try those out. :D

    One method I read about online (from “Mr Brown Thumb”) was to direct seed poppies on top of the snow. This worked quite well, though not for the Iceland poppies, of course. Hopefully this year my indoor-sowing will be more successful. Thanks for the tips!

    • Team Floret on

      Hi Laura,

      Great questions. When starting Iceland Poppies, we use a heat mat set at 70* and lights if starting indoors, or daylight if we’re starting them in the greenhouse. The seed is barely covered with fine vermiculite and they germinate pretty quickly. The big thing to watch out for is watering. They MUST be bottom watered when small. It sounds like yours dried out. I’d try covering your trays with a clear germination dome to help keep the humidity up when they are small.

      Both Breadseed and Shirley poppies can be direct sown and will thrive but Iceland types need special treatment.

      Hope this helps! ~Erin

  167. Amy on

    I’m trying to grow a peony look-alike poppy this year, Papaver Somniferum Paeoniflorum. Should I follow your tips for the breadseed types, or is this something different?

    • Team Floret on

      Hi Amy,

      Follow the Bread Seed Poppy growing tips for that one : )

  168. Shayne on

    Thank you for this information. May you please further elaborate for this novice how to keep the Shirley poppy from “going to seed”, I want to be successful when planting mine. Very excited

    • Team Floret on

      After the blooms fade and drop their petals, they will leave behind little seed pods. If you let them ripen they will be filled with seed. If you don’t want that particular variety to drop seed in your garden (since then they will come back next year) remove the seed pods before they are full ripe. They make wonderful dried pods that can be used in autumn and winter crafting.

  169. Susie on

    I grew Iceland poppies for the first time last year. They were attacked by some type of pest/ bug that burrowed into the stem. I don’t think they were aphids. I grew Shirley poppies right beside the Iceland poppies and the pests did not bother them. I am wondering if anyone has had the same problem and can tell me how you dealt with them?

  170. nada talevska on

    Two years ago I bought poppy seeds at Monet’s Giverny. I sowed them directly in the ground and was delighted with a tall, bushy plant with blooms for several weeks. I harvested seeds for my gardening friends. I did not use them as cut flowers, that will change this year thanks to you!!

  171. Shanna on

    I’m growing breadseed poppies for the first time this year and I read that the seeds needed a period of stratification. So I sowed them out in late December (it gets below freezing where I am) and covered them very lightly with soil. But you didn’t mention stratification, so now I’m curious as to whether it’s really necessary! Have you heard the need for it and/or have you found it unnecessary in your experience?

    • Team Floret on

      We haven’t found that they need stratification in order to germinate.

  172. MWG on

    Thanks for this; it explains why the Iceland Poppies have eluded me. I tried for years to grow any poppies, finally succeeding in my own garden about 3 years ago with bearded poppies, peony and Shirley poppies. I use sterile aquarium sand, [about 2 tsp. in a clean pill bottle with holes poked in the plastic lid] pour my poppy seeds into this; shake it up and use this bottle to sprinkle these seeds in several places. I lightly [depending on variety] sprinkled soil on top, lightly fine mist sprayed with a plastic bottle. Sterile sand both helps in spacing these tiny seeds and possibly lightly abrades the seeds so that they start easier. I will incorporate some of these techniques this year. For me, poppies were a challenge I still am excited to see my poppies come to life in spring; it feels like I won the garden lottery.

  173. Rachel Martz on

    I have been hoping for a post like this! I had success once with direct sowing Icelands and Californias in the fall in Georgia as part of a wildflower seed mix. I wonder if it would be worth trying the same method with Icelands again, as I don’t currently have a greenhouse. Could being in a hot climate make me an exception to the transplanting rule? Thank you for all that you do!

  174. stacey g on

    I grew poppies for the first time this Australian spring just gone. Only Shirley variety on this occasion, they have firmly secured themselves as a regular for years to come. I have just purchased Iceland seed from you last week and look forward to trying them later this year. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge Erin, great post I learned a lot!!! :)

  175. Susie Armstrong on

    This will be my first attempt at growing poppies but I am enjoying trying new things and look forward to seeing if I can do it successfully. This article was extremely helpful, thank you!

  176. Francois du Toit on

    Thanks so much for this Erin! Can’t wait to read it. Also planting some Icelands this season! x

  177. Carmie Sanchez on

    I’m trying Iceland Poppies for the first time this year. Fingers crossed they perform well!


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