Poppies are a remarkable group of plants with a wide range of colors and sizes.

These stunning, vibrant, and resilient flowers add a splash of color to any garden, creating a visual spectacle when in bloom.

As a gardener, learning to grow and care for poppies is a rewarding experience.

This guide will walk you through the essential steps to cultivate these beautiful blooms.

Annual Vegetative Calendar for Poppies

Poppies, known for their vibrant blooms and easy care, are a stunning addition to any garden. Here’s an annual vegetative calendar tailored for poppy care.


MarchSowingDirect sow poppy seeds outdoors as soon as the soil can be worked. Poppies prefer cooler temperatures for germination.
Soil PreparationPrepare the soil by loosening and lightly fertilizing. Poppies thrive in well-draining soil.
AprilThinningThin seedlings to about 6-12 inches apart once they have a few true leaves to ensure proper growth.
WateringBegin watering seedlings gently, keeping the soil moist but not waterlogged.
MaySupportProvide support for taller poppy varieties to protect them from strong winds.


JuneMulchingApply a light layer of mulch to retain moisture and suppress weeds.
JulyDeadheadingRemove spent blooms to encourage more flowering or to prevent self-seeding, depending on your preference.
AugustWateringContinue regular watering, especially during dry spells. Poppies are relatively drought-tolerant.


SeptemberCollecting SeedsCollect seeds from spent blooms if you wish to sow them next year.
OctoberCleanupAfter the first frost, remove and compost dead plant material to keep the area tidy and disease-free.
NovemberPlanningPlan for next year’s planting. Consider rotating poppy locations to prevent soil depletion.


DecemberRest PeriodAllow the garden to rest. Order seeds if needed for next year’s planting.
JanuaryGarden PlanningStart planning the garden layout and where to incorporate poppies for the upcoming season.
FebruarySeed StratificationSome poppy seeds benefit from cold stratification. Place seeds in the refrigerator if required for your variety.

Caring for poppies involves minimal maintenance, making them an excellent choice for both novice and experienced gardeners. By following this vegetative calendar, you can enjoy the delicate beauty of poppies in your garden from late spring through summer.

Adjust planting and care schedules based on your local climate and weather conditions to ensure the best results.

How to Grow Poppies

Growing poppies can be a simple, rewarding experience for both new and seasoned gardeners.

They are hardy, vibrant, and excellent at attracting pollinators such as bees and butterflies.

  • Seed Selection: Poppies are grown from seeds. Choose the poppy variety that suits your aesthetic preference and the growing conditions of your garden.
  • Planting Time: The optimal planting time varies depending on your local climate. Poppies need exposure to cold temperatures for successful sprouting. In areas where winter temperatures don’t fall below 0ºF (-18ºC), plant the seeds in autumn, before the first frost. In colder climates, or for convenience, plant the poppy seeds in spring, as soon as the ground thaws.
  • Soil Preparation: Poppies need well-drained soil to grow properly. They can tolerate poor to average soil quality.
  • Planting Process: Scatter the seeds on the soil surface and lightly cover them with soil. Poppies require light to germinate, so avoid burying them deeply.
  • Care After Planting: Water the planted area gently to avoid washing away or displacing the seeds. Continue to water regularly, ensuring the soil remains moist but not waterlogged.
  • Sun Exposure: Poppies need full sun exposure. Plant them in a spot where they can get at least six hours of direct sunlight each day.

Where to Grow Poppies

Poppies are extremely versatile, capable of thriving in a variety of environments.

However, they do have some preferences that can help them reach their full blooming potential.

  • Climate: Poppies can grow in a wide range of climates. They are hardy and can withstand both heat and cold weather. The specific variety of poppy chosen can also determine its climate preferences.
  • Soil: While poppies can tolerate a variety of soil types, they generally prefer well-drained soil. They can even grow in poor soil conditions. However, overly waterlogged or compacted soil can lead to poor growth and increase the risk of root diseases.
  • Sunlight: Poppies love the sun. They require a location with full sun exposure to grow best. A minimum of six hours of direct sunlight is recommended.
  • Space: Give your poppies enough space to grow. They do not like to be crowded, and providing them with ample room can help ensure proper air circulation and reduce the risk of disease.

How to Plant and Care for Poppies

Poppies are not only beautiful and vibrant flowers but also attract pollinators like bees and butterflies.

They are a popular choice for gardeners of all levels due to their hardiness and self-seeding nature.

Whether you’re considering planting poppies for the first time or looking for tips on caring for them, this comprehensive guide will provide you with the information you need.

How to Plant Poppies

Planting poppies is a relatively simple process that can be done by sowing seeds or dividing existing plants.

Here are some key steps to follow:

  1. Choose the right location: Poppies thrive in full sun and well-draining soil. Ensure that the planting area receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily.
  2. Prepare the soil: Before planting, loosen the soil and remove any weeds or debris. Poppies prefer poor to average soil conditions.
  3. Planting seeds: If you’re starting from seeds, plant them in either autumn or early spring, depending on your local climate. Poppy seeds require exposure to cool or cold temperatures to sprout. In milder climates (USDA Hardiness Zones 7 and higher), autumn planting is suitable. In colder climates or if more convenient, plant the seeds in spring after the ground thaws.
  4. Planting divisions: If you have existing poppy plants, you can divide them to create new ones. Dig up the clumps, separate the roots, and replant them in well-prepared soil.
  5. Watering: After planting, water the seeds or divisions thoroughly. Keep the soil consistently moist until the plants establish themselves.
  6. Spacing: Depending on the variety, space the plants 6 to 18 inches apart to allow for adequate airflow and growth.

How to Care for Poppies

Once poppies are planted, they require minimal care but benefit from some maintenance.

Here are essential tips for caring for poppies:

  • Watering: While poppies are relatively drought-tolerant once established, they still require regular watering during dry spells. Provide deep waterings, ensuring the soil is moist but not waterlogged. Avoid overhead watering, as wet foliage can promote diseases.
  • Fertilizing: Poppies generally do not require heavy fertilization. In most cases, a light application of balanced fertilizer in early spring is sufficient to provide the necessary nutrients. Avoid over-fertilizing, as excessive nitrogen can lead to lush foliage but fewer blooms.
  • Deadheading: To encourage prolonged blooming, remove spent flowers by deadheading. This process redirects energy into producing new blooms rather than seed production. Snip off the faded flowers just above the nearest leaf or bud.
  • Pest and disease control: Poppies are relatively resistant to pests and diseases. However, keep an eye out for aphids, slugs, and snails. If necessary, employ organic pest control methods such as handpicking or using natural insecticides. Proper spacing and good airflow also help prevent fungal diseases.
  • Support for tall varieties: Some poppy varieties, such as Oriental poppies, can grow tall and may require support to prevent bending or flopping. Use stakes or plant supports to keep the plants upright.
  • Dividing and thinning: Over time, poppy clumps may become crowded. Dividing them every few years helps rejuvenate the plants and maintain their vigor. Thinning out overcrowded plants also allows for better airflow and reduces the risk of disease.
  • Mulching: Apply a layer of organic mulch around poppy plants to help retain moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature. Avoid mulching directly around the stems to prevent stem rot.
  • Harvesting and seed collection: If you’re growing poppies for their seeds, allow the seed pods to mature and dry on the plants. Once the pods turn brown and start to rattle, carefully cut them and collect the seeds for future planting or culinary uses.

By following these guidelines for planting and caring for poppies, you can enjoy their vibrant blooms, attract pollinators to your garden, and experience the joy of growing these versatile flowers.

Poppies Pruning and Propagation

Poppies are beautiful and versatile plants that can add a splash of color and interest to any garden.

Pruning and propagation are important aspects of poppy care that can help maintain the health and vitality of these flowers.

Now, we will explore how to prune poppies and how to propagate them for future growth.

How to Prune Poppies

Pruning poppies is an essential task that can encourage better flowering and overall plant health.

Here are some steps to follow when pruning your poppies:

  1. Timing: It is best to prune poppies at the end of the flowering season. This allows the plant to regrow from its root system and prepare for the next year’s blooms.
  2. Deadheading: Deadheading is the process of removing spent flowers. By removing faded blooms, you promote continuous blooming and prevent the plant from diverting energy into seed production.
  3. Cutting back: When deadheading poppies, cut the flower stem back to the base of the plant. This helps maintain a tidy appearance and prevents the development of unsightly bare stems.

How to Propagate Poppies

Propagating poppies is a great way to expand your garden or share these beautiful flowers with others.

There are several methods you can use to propagate poppies:

  1. Division: Dividing poppies is a common method of propagation. Dig up the plant and carefully separate the roots into smaller sections. Replant the divided sections in suitable locations, ensuring they have well-drained soil and receive adequate sunlight.
  2. Stem cuttings: Another way to propagate poppies is through stem cuttings. Take a healthy stem cutting from an established plant and remove the lower leaves. Place the cutting in a rooting hormone and then plant it in a container filled with a well-draining potting mix. Keep the soil moist and provide indirect light until the cutting develops roots.
  3. Seed sowing: Poppies can also be propagated from seeds. Collect mature seed pods from the plants and allow them to dry. Once the pods have dried, gently shake them to release the seeds. Sow the seeds in well-prepared soil, following the recommended planting depth and spacing. Keep the soil moist until the seeds germinate and establish themselves.

By following these pruning and propagation techniques, you can enjoy healthy and vibrant poppy plants in your garden.

Remember to adjust the timing and methods based on the specific type of poppy you are growing.

Poppies Pests and Diseases

Gardeners know that pests and diseases can wreak havoc on their beloved plants.

Poppy plants are no exception, and gardeners who want to keep their poppy plants healthy and vibrant need to be aware of the pests and diseases that are common in poppy plants.

We will discuss the most common pests and diseases that can affect poppy plants, as well as the best practices for preventing and treating these infestations.

Common Pests and Diseases

Poppy plants can fall victim to various pests and diseases that can impact their growth and overall health.

Here are some of the most common ones to watch out for:

  • Aphids: These small, green or black insects are often found in clusters on the underside of leaves. They can cause damage by sucking on plant juices and excreting a sticky substance called honeydew.
  • Fungal Leaf Spot: Dark spots on leaves caused by fungal infection can lead to defoliation if left untreated.
  • Stem Canker: Reddish-brown lesions on stems can result in stem death and weaken the plant’s structure.
  • Root Rot: Symptoms of root rot include wilting, yellowing leaves, and stunted growth. It is caused by fungal infection and can be detrimental to the plant’s overall health.
  • White Mold: Gray, fuzzy growth on stems or pods is a sign of fungal infection, commonly known as white mold.
  • Cutworms: These larvae feed on the leaves and stems of poppy plants, causing severe damage and hindering growth.

Preventing and treating these pests and diseases is crucial for maintaining healthy poppy plants.

Gardeners can employ various strategies, such as regular inspection, maintaining proper plant hygiene, and using organic or chemical treatments when necessary.

By staying vigilant and implementing appropriate measures, gardeners can protect their poppy plants from common pests and diseases, ensuring their vibrant beauty and overall well-being.

Remember to monitor your plants regularly, promptly address any signs of infestation or infection, and consult with local gardening experts or professionals for specific guidance tailored to your gardening conditions.

Buying Poppies Seeds

If you’re looking to add the beauty of poppies to your garden, buying poppy seeds is the way to go.

With a wide variety of cultivars available, poppy seeds offer a range of colors and bloom types, from soft whites to deep crimsons and bright oranges.

Whether you prefer annuals, perennials, or biennials, poppies can be a stunning addition to any garden.

Advice On Buying Poppies Seeds

When purchasing poppy seeds, there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, consider the hardiness zone of your garden. Poppy seeds come suited for nearly all hardiness zones, so ensure you choose varieties that are suitable for your specific zone to ensure successful growth.

Second, decide whether you prefer to start your poppies from seeds directly in the garden or start them indoors and transplant them later.

Poppies do not like their roots disturbed and tend to do poorly when transplanted, so direct seeding in the garden is recommended.

Finally, pay attention to the specific planting instructions for each variety of poppy seeds.

Some varieties may require special considerations or specific conditions for optimal growth.

Follow the recommended planting depth, timing, and spacing guidelines for best results.

Where to Buy Poppies Seeds Online

Here are some popular online sources where you can buy poppy seeds:

  • Eden Brothers: They offer a wide selection of poppy seed varieties, including over 53 different types. Their seeds come suited for various hardiness zones and bloom in a range of colors.
  • One Stop Poppy Shoppe: This online shop specializes in poppy seeds, offering over 75 varieties to suit every garden spot. They have a diverse collection of poppies, from classic varieties to feathery and rare types.
  • Johnny’s Selected Seeds: Johnny’s offers a selection of three types of poppies: California Poppy, Corn Poppy, and Iceland Poppy. Each type has its own unique characteristics and uses, such as wildflower meadows or cut flower arrangements.
  • Select Seeds: Select Seeds offers a variety of poppy seeds that are perfect for cottage gardens. They have an assortment of hardy annual poppies that thrive in early spring conditions and add vibrant color to your garden.
  • West Coast Seeds: West Coast Seeds provides a range of poppy seeds in vivid colors. These annual poppies will self-seed freely, providing blooms for the following year, and their dried seed heads make attractive additions to autumn and winter arrangements.

Remember to check the shipping restrictions and availability when ordering from online sources.

Some sources may have limitations on shipping to certain regions or countries.

Buying Poppies Plants

If you’re looking to add the beauty of poppies to your garden, buying poppy plants can be a great option. Poppy plants come in various forms, from Oriental to Icelandic and Opium, offering a wide range of colors and blousy blooms. They are easy to grow and can establish themselves on poor, free-draining soil. Additionally, poppy plants can naturalize over time, providing beautiful flowers year after year.

Advice On Buying Poppies Plants

When purchasing poppy plants, it’s essential to consider the specific variety you’re interested in. Each poppy plant has its unique characteristics, such as flower size, color, and growth habit. Take note of the plant’s care requirements, including sunlight, water, and soil preferences, to ensure it thrives in your garden.

Before buying poppy plants, be aware that most poppies are toxic to humans and pets due to their alkaloid compounds. It’s crucial to handle them with care and keep them out of reach from children and animals.

Where to Buy Poppies Plants Online

If you’re interested in purchasing poppy plants online, here are some reputable sources to consider:

  • The Spruce: The Spruce provides information on different poppy flower varieties and growing tips. While they don’t sell plants directly, they offer valuable insights into the characteristics and care of various poppy species.
  • Sarah Raven: Sarah Raven offers a range of poppy plants, including Oriental, Icelandic, and Opium varieties. Their plants and seedlings come ready to plant out, making the process simpler for gardeners.
  • Burpee: Burpee offers perennial poppy seeds and plants. Their poppy plants are excellent for use in containers or gardens and are known for their big, silky petals, making them perfect for cutting and adding beauty to floral arrangements.
  • Spring Hill Nurseries: Spring Hill Nurseries provides poppies for sale. They offer a no-risk guarantee and carefully select and ship high-quality plants to ensure customer satisfaction.
  • High Country Gardens: High Country Gardens specializes in Oriental poppy plants. Their plants produce huge, spectacular spring flowers and are well-suited for cooler climates.
  • White Flower Farm: White Flower Farm is a family-owned mail-order nursery that offers a wide range of perennials, including poppy plants. They provide quality plants and gardening advice to customers throughout the United States.
  • Amazon: Amazon offers a selection of poppy plants for sale from various sellers. Be sure to check the customer reviews and seller ratings before making a purchase.
  • Suttons: Suttons offers quality poppy plants, including the field poppy (Papaver rhoeas) known for creating natural spectacles. Their poppy plants attract bees and butterflies with their nectar-rich offerings.
  • Nurseries Online: Nurseries Online provides information on growing poppies from seed or seedlings. They offer a wide range of poppy species and colors suitable for different climates.
  • Dobies: Dobies is an international supplier of quality flower plants, including poppies. They have been in the industry since 1894, building a reputation for providing reliable products to customers worldwide.

Remember to check the availability, shipping options, and customer reviews when purchasing poppy plants online.

It’s essential to choose a reputable source that offers healthy and well-cared-for plants to ensure a successful gardening experience.

Poppies Varieties

Poppies are fascinating and diverse flowering plants that can bring a burst of color to any garden.

With their tissue paper-like petals and vibrant hues, poppies are a sight to behold.

The common name “poppy” refers to many species belonging to the subfamily Papaveroideae within the plant family Papaveraceae.

These beautiful flowers come in a wide range of colors, including white, red, orange, yellow, blue, purple, and even cream.

Poppies Varieties to Grow

When it comes to poppies, there are numerous varieties available, each with its own unique characteristics and growing requirements.

Their striking colors and delicate blooms make them a popular choice among gardeners.

Here are some popular poppy varieties that you can consider for your garden:

  • Oriental Poppy (Papaver orientale): This perennial poppy native to Asia is one of the most well-known and beloved poppy varieties. It features large, showy flowers in shades of red, pink, orange, and white. Oriental poppies can add a bold and vibrant touch to your garden.
  • Corn Poppy (Papaver rhoeas): Also known as the Flanders poppy, this annual poppy variety is famous for its bright red flowers. It has become a symbol of remembrance for fallen soldiers and is often associated with remembrance days. Corn poppies also come in other colors such as white, yellow, pink, salmon, and lilac.
  • Iceland Poppy (Papaver nudicaule): Iceland poppies are delicate and elegant perennial plants that produce beautiful flowers in various pastel shades, including white, yellow, pink, orange, and red. They are known for their papery petals and slender stems, which add a graceful touch to any garden.
  • California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica): The California poppy is a vibrant and drought-tolerant annual variety. It is native to California and features cheerful orange, yellow, and red flowers. California poppies are known for their ability to thrive in sunny and dry conditions, making them a great choice for water-wise gardens.
  • Opium Poppy (Papaver somniferum): The opium poppy is a captivating annual or biennial variety that is famous for its stunning flowers and narcotic properties. It produces large blooms in various shades of red, pink, purple, and white. However, it’s important to note that opium poppies are primarily grown for ornamental purposes and should not be used for illicit activities.
  • Himalayan Blue Poppy (Meconopsis betonicifolia): Known for its exquisite blue flowers, the Himalayan blue poppy is a perennial variety that adds a touch of elegance to any garden. It requires cool and moist conditions to thrive, making it a suitable choice for gardens in temperate regions.
  • Shirley Poppy (Papaver rhoeas ‘Shirley’): Shirley poppies are popular annual varieties known for their delicate and crinkled flowers. They come in a wide range of colors, including pink, red, orange, white, and lilac. Shirley poppies can naturalize in the garden and self-seed, creating a charming and colorful display year after year.
  • Alpine Poppy (Papaver alpinum): Alpine poppies are compact and hardy perennial plants that produce beautiful flowers in shades of yellow, orange, white, and pink. They are well-suited for rock gardens and alpine settings, thanks to their ability to thrive in rocky and well-drained soil conditions.
  • Prickly Poppy (Argemone sp.): Prickly poppies are unique and drought-tolerant plants that feature prickly stems and striking flowers in shades of yellow, white, and orange. They are well-adapted to arid environments and can add a touch of interest and texture to xeriscape gardens.
  • Oriental Poppy ‘Beauty of Livermere’ (Papaver orientale ‘Beauty of Livermere’): This cultivar of Oriental poppy boasts large and deep-red flowers with black markings at the base of the petals. It is a stunning addition to any garden and can create a dramatic focal point.
  • Iceland Poppy ‘Champagne Bubbles’ (Papaver nudicaule ‘Champagne Bubbles’): This cultivar of Iceland poppy produces large, semi-double flowers in shades of champagne, peach, and apricot. It adds a touch of elegance and sophistication to garden borders and containers.
  • Himalayan Blue Poppy ‘Lingholm’ (Meconopsis betonicifolia ‘Lingholm’): This cultivar of Himalayan blue poppy features vibrant blue flowers with contrasting golden stamens. It requires cool and moist conditions to thrive, and its striking blooms can create a captivating display in shade gardens.

These are just a few examples of the stunning poppy varieties available to gardeners.

Whether you prefer the bold and vibrant Oriental poppies or the delicate charm of Iceland poppies, there is a poppy variety to suit every taste and garden style.

Experiment with different varieties to create a colorful and enchanting poppy display in your own garden.

Remember to consider your local climate and growing conditions when selecting poppy varieties to ensure successful cultivation.


What are poppies?

Poppies are a genus of flowering plants that belong to the family Papaveraceae. They come in a variety of colors and sizes and can be annual or perennial.

When is the best time to plant poppies?

The best time to plant poppies depends on the variety and your location. In general, poppies should be planted in the fall or early spring. Annual poppies should be planted in the fall or early spring, while perennial poppies should be planted in the spring.

What kind of soil do poppies prefer?

Poppies prefer well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. They can tolerate a range of soil types, including clay or sandy soil. Adding compost or other organic matter can improve the soil’s fertility and drainage.

How much sunlight do poppies need?

Poppies require full sun to grow and thrive. They need at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. In hot climates, they may benefit from some afternoon shade to protect them from scorching.

How often should I water poppies?

Poppies prefer to be kept on the dry side, so it’s important not to overwater them. Water the plants deeply when the top inch of soil feels dry, but avoid overwatering, as it can lead to root rot. In general, poppies can handle drought conditions.

Do poppies require fertilization?

Poppies do not require frequent fertilization. However, you can add a balanced fertilizer in the spring to provide some nutrients. Be mindful not to over-fertilize, as it can result in excessive foliage growth and fewer flowers.

How do I care for poppies during the growing season?

During the growing season, continue to water the plants regularly and maintain dry soil. Deadhead spent flowers to encourage continuous blooming. Avoid pruning the foliage unless necessary. Once the foliage starts to yellow and die back, it can be cut down to the ground.

Are there any common problems or pests with poppies?

Poppies are generally resistant to pests and diseases. However, they can occasionally be affected by aphids or powdery mildew. Treat aphid-infested plants with an insecticide such as neem oil, insecticidal soap, or homemade remedies such as garlic spray or an essential oil spray. If the infestation is mild, a strong spray from the garden hose can dislodge the pests and may be able to cure the problem. To treat powdery mildew, remove affected leaves and treat the plant with a fungicide.

Can I grow poppies in containers?

Yes, poppies can be grown in containers. Choose a container with good drainage and fill it with a well-draining potting mix. Plant the seeds or seedlings according to the package instructions. Place the container in a location that receives at least six hours of sunlight per day. Water the plants regularly and fertilize as needed.

What are some landscaping uses for poppies?

Poppies can be used as a decorative plant in gardens or containers. Their unique and vibrant flowers can add interest and color to various garden settings. They can be planted in rock gardens, borders, or mixed perennial beds.

Additional Resources

Here are some additional resources that provide valuable information on growing and caring for poppies:

We hope that this blog post was useful to you in learning how to grow and care for poppies.