Surface sow; requires light to germinate
Sow in pots 6-8 weeks before last frost, cover lightly with vermiculite or a humidity dome and keep at 65-70°F until germination, then at 50-60°F. Be very gentle when transplanting, as poppies do not like to be disturbed.
Recommended. Direct sow 4 weeks before last spring frost or in late autumn (autumn only in zones 8+) Mix seed with fine sand and scatter thinly over prepared soil to avoid overcrowded seedlings.
WHEN TO SET OUTSIDE
At last spring frost date.
PLACEMENT & CULTIVATION
Poppies are the obsession of honeybees that unfailingly crowd around the flowers as they are freed from their corset of sepals, to be the first to sample their golden crown of pollen. Add to vegetable plots, meadows, and borders, where their early flowering fills gaps in perennial bloom times with luminous flowers. Self-sows.
These plants prefer evenly moist soil, but can tolerate drought. About an inch of water per week is more than sufficient once they are established.
Slightly acidic to neutral—if soil is acidic, add some lime before planting.
Mix in 2" inches of compost prior to planting.
Diseases & Pests:
Fungal diseases can be prevented by regularly spraying with organic fungicides and spacing at least 1' apart for good air circulation. If slugs and snails damage seedlings, sprinkle the surrounding soil with pelletized iron phosphate, crushed eggshells, or diatomaceous earth.
When to Cut for Bouquets:
Cut when buds develop color and hold stem tips in boiling water for about 20 seconds. Alternatively, sear the cut end of the stem, or pick in the evening as the buds lift upward and plunge up to their buds in hot water for an overnight soak. All methods will allow for a short-lived beautiful cutflower