Tips for Growing Poppies

poppiesVibrant poppies are the flower of spring, but they are very finicky and disappoint so many new gardeners after the first week. Unlike other plant and leave options for spring, poppies have a few basic needs that need to be met, and require a couple of additional steps to make sure they thrive.

Try these tips to make sure your potted poppies thrive as well as any poppies blooming in open fields or professional gardens.

Beginning Poppies From Seed

A lot more variety is possible if you choose to grow your poppies from seed, everything from color to resilience can be selected. Whether you decide to start your poppy plants from seed indoors or out, the seeds will need a super fine layer of topsoil to germinate. Try adding some sand to the soil and sprinkle the seeds in the top layer of potted soil, or use your fingers to rake the seeds into the soil outside.

Choosing Poppies From a Nursery

If you choose to buy your poppies from a nursery, look for larger potted plants instead of individual flowers. Poppies that grow together in compact arrangements thrive because of they have to put less energy into staying alive and can put more energy into creating blooms. If you do buy individual poppy cells, clump them together as much as possible when planting.

Plant for Keeps

Some plants are easily transplanted, and others, like poppies, are not. Watch for a spot that gets full sun, is protected from wind and, if planted in a garden and not potted, gets good drainage. Once your poppies are in the ground, they should not be moved or disturbed.

Don’t Bother Poppy Roots

With a lot of purchased plants, the root balls are tight and need some loosening up before planting. Poppies are very sensitive to stimuli and don’t deal well when their roots have been bothered. Do not remove the plants from their temporary seedling cells until you are ready to plant, and when you do, do not bother the roots at all.

Meet Basic Poppy Needs

When you are able to choose a specific poppy that will grow best for you, its a little easier to pick a poppy that meets the needs of the soil you have. Most of the time, though, it is the other way around and almost all poppies have the same basic needs. Full sun and well drained soil are essential because almost all poppies have roots that will rot in waterlogged soil.

Shop For Your Region

Poppies grow all over the world, but it is important that you choose a poppy variety that grows well in your area. Some flowers are able to withstand the yo-yo temperatures that colder climates go through in the beginning of spring, but wilt under the heat in the south during the same time of year.

Do you grow poppies? If so do you have any tips to add? 


  1. silverneon2000 says

    We have Oriental Poppies and they are beautiful when in bloom. But when it rains they are a flower that they lose there petals. Very delicate plant. But again beautiful. I have never divided them as I know some people have walked by our house and asked for some. I need to look up how to do that. 🙂

  2. stephy905 says

    Poppies are beautiful but I don't think my thumb is green enough lol.

  3. I love poppies but haven't been very lucky growing them in the garden. But once I dropped a bag of poppy seeds down the front stairs, and the next year some poppies sprouted from the cracks!

  4. Love your pic. Poppies are so pretty. I especially love the really dark purple ones. I have red in one of my beds. Every year I try and spread the seeds because as you said they do not like to be moved. Nice post.
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  5. massholemommy says

    Who knew? I love poppies, but my yard stinks for growing things. I have bad dirt and hardly any sunlight, so I have to live vicariously through others!

  6. jennifer B. says

    I love poppies! Thanks for these great tips!

  7. I cant grow anything in our yard. I've tried. lol those look so pretty!
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  8. Helene Bludman says

    I've never tried to grow poppies but they are so pretty, maybe I'll give them a try.

  9. I have never had much luck with them. I would love to try again!

  10. lovenerdmaggie says

    I need every tip I can get! I have such a brown thumb.
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  11. YAY it is almost spring can't wait for the flowers!

  12. i can't wait for flower season to start! we still have snow on the ground here

  13. Poppies are so pretty but I have never had much luck with them. Thanks for the tips!
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  14. I haven't tried them yet, but they're so cheerful and fun. I might give it a go. Thanks for the tip that their roots are sensitive.
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    • Jordanical Botanicals says

      Yes, poppies are sensitive little Bi***s – is what I call them. However, I find, that if you THIN them down to just a SINGLE Stem, you actually end up with more.
      Rather then several single Stems with 1 Flower and seed pod each (which blow over in a breeze once they’re Top-heavy).
      It’s better to have a Strong plant that can withstand a windy day, and produce just as many (if not more) Blooms. I grew one with over 120+ Blooms & Pods last year.
      Another year, I had one with over 75+ (each were P. somniferum)
      I have photos if you want to see.

  15. I don't need tips to make them thrive. I need some to help them not thrive so dang much…lol Orange poppies popping up everywhere

  16. I have never been able to get poppies to grow, let alone thrive. I may have to try again.
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  17. OOh so beautiful! I love this time of year when the flowers start growing up!

  18. mamatomanyblessings says

    what a pretty flower, I need some flowers for my planters I Will have to check these out. Thank you!
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  19. Great information. I was considering buying poppies for a new flower garden I wanted to start…. but…. I kill everything and don't need a finicky flower. lol
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  20. Great tips! I love poppies – I have a poppe I planned in 1979 when we moved into our home. I love it! 🙂

  21. We have poppies at our house – love them!

  22. I've never tried these! Thanks for the tips!
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  23. Wow, so much to know. I had no idea there were so many details.
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  24. I loved this article so much, thank you! Poppies are one of my absolute favorites to hang outside the front of the house.

  25. lisa jones says

    Great Tips I Will Be Using & Such A Beautiful Flower!

  26. It's so important to choose the right ones. We bought plants that ended up not growing well in our area once.
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  27. Poppies have a special place in my heart. Not only does my grandmother love them, but my great grandfather was nicknamed poppy.
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  30. Ginny Spindle says

    I’ve planted poppy seeds every year to no avail. His year I moved to North Carolina from VA and thought I’d have better luck. I planted (or threw out) many packs of poppy seeds plus many I ordered and that was about 2 months back. No sign of anything yet. Unfortunately after I threw the seeds out it rained for about 4 days. Possibly they drowned or washed away. I give up. I’m an avid gardener and have quite the green thumb except for poppies. I give up. I’m not wasting anymore money on them.

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