Gardening

How to grow poppies

If you love the look of poppies, try growing them, too.
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Look for the traditional favourite, Flanders Red, or for more colour variety, try Iceland poppies, which come in yellow, gold, pink, salmon, orange and white. They’re both easy to grow from seed and if you sow them now, you can expect a beautiful show in your garden come spring.

WATCH: How to create a colourful garden for spring

When to plant poppy seeds in Australia?

Poppies grow well across most climates. In temperate climates, you can sow the seeds right through the autumn months. In cool and cold climates, sow seeds or poppy bulbs from summer to early autumn, and in warm tropical and subtropical climates, sow from early autumn to winter.

How to grow poppies

Aspect

Choose a warm, sunny position with protection from strong winds.

Soil

These flowers grow best in loose, well-drained soil. For best results, prepare the bed well a few weeks prior to planting by enriching with plenty of well-rotted manure or compost and forking in well.

Poppies
(Credit: John Paul Urizar/aremediasyndication.com.au)

Planting

You can sow poppy seeds directly into a garden bed, or raise them in pots or punnets. Sow seeds thinly, and cover with a light scattering of seed-raising mix. Water with a fine spray and keep the surface moist until seedlings emerge in 10-14 days. Transplant when seedlings are a few centimetres high, spacing plants about 20-30cm apart. Water regularly and lightly mulch around them with compost, keeping it back from the stems.

Water

While waiting for seedlings to emerge, ensure the soil doesn’t dry out, but isn’t wet either – simply moisten with a fine spray of water. Continue to water by gently spraying, until plants are established.

Fertiliser

When buds begin to appear, feed with a soluble fertiliser such as Yates Thrive Soluble Flower & Fruit. Continue to feed regularly at two-week intervals.

Poppies
(Credit: Scott Hawkins/aremediasyndication.com.au)

Maintenance

For best results, try pinching out early buds until the plants have formed good clumps. Pick flowers regularly for indoor decoration as this also helps prolong flowering – what a bonus!

growing poppies
(Credit: Getty)

How to grow poppies in containers

To create the right conditions in a pot to grow poppies, you’ll need an adequate-sized pot and a humus-rich, loamy potting mix. 

Sow your poppy seeds on the top, but no need to bury them in soil; they need light to germinate. Keep the soil moist until they grow. Like planting in the garden, once your plants reach 13 cm, you’ll need to spread the seedlings about 10-15 cm apart. 

Ensure your container is in a spot that receives 6-8 hours of full sun daily. However, if you live in a warm climate where the sun is intense, grow poppies in partial sun.

Once your poppies start to flower, water moderately and regularly. 

Your poppies won’t enjoy waterlogged soil, but they won’t like it if you let the soil dry out. When the top one-inch surface of soil seems dry, it’s time to water.

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