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A Guide To Growing Poppies

 Wild flower garden with poppies with morning sunlight

Associated with the battlefields of WW1 and symbolising rebirth and hope, poppies are a popular flower to grow in your garden due to their abundance of colour and beauty. Spring is the ideal time to start sowing poppy seeds and although they only flower for a short time, the poppy has a longer lifespan than expected! If seeds are left untouched and buried in the soil, they can remain hidden for years until the soil is cultivated. Once the seeds are brought to the surface, they germinate and begin to grow again, making it a mainstay flower for your garden. 

From Mother of Pearl to Oriental, we sell many poppy seeds for you to choose from. Read on for our tips on how to sow these pretty flowers that will add colour and interest to your garden. 

When To Sow

Poppies are ideally sown in early Spring (from March onward) as the seedlings can withstand cold temperatures. While poppies can thrive in any soil, they are best grown in alkaline or neutral soil; you can find out what type of soil you have by undertaking a pH test. Check out our handy Beginners Guide to Gardening for useful tips on identifying your soil. If your soil is more acidic, we recommend using Westland Garden Lime which helps plants to absorb the nutrients they need to grow while producing vibrant blooms. 

When sowing poppy seeds, plant the seeds close to the surface of well-drained soil so that they have access to the sunlight. They thrive from full sunshine so give them the best fighting chance! 

Types of Poppy Seed You Can Grow

With their large and eye-catching flowers and hairy stems, oriental poppies are one of the most popular flowers to plant in gardens. Oriental poppies can be sown in February if you are keen to make a start on poppy growing. 

Poppies are an ideal flower choice as they don’t often suffer from pests or disease. However, this does not extend to the oriental! The oriental can be affected by mildew so combat this by cutting the plant back once grown and disposing of fallen leaves to prevent fungal disease. If mildew continues to be a persistent problem, use Fungus Clear Ultra Ready To Use which is a weedkiller that fights against mildew, as well as blackspot and rust. 

Another poppy seed you can consider adding to your garden is Mother of Pearl. As pretty as its namesake, the Mother of Pearl has lovely pastel blooms that easily attract bees, an added bonus for your garden! Sown between March-May, the Mother of Pearl flowers between June-August. Sandy, clay and alkaline soil are the ideal type of soil for germinating Mother of Pearl seeds. 

Victoria Cross poppy seeds are an interesting addition to your poppy arrangement. With vibrant red blooms and a striking white cross through the centre, they are an eye-catching delight for your garden. 

Sow the Victoria Cross poppy in March, ensuring that they are sown in well-drained soil. For a prolonged display, sow seeds every few weeks until they flower in the summer months.