Poppies are beautiful plants to grow in any garden. They can be perennial, biennial or annuals. The flowers are showy, with crinkled petals, usually four, that surround a central stigma and pistil.
Within the span of a day, having done the work of attracting important pollinators, many (but not all) poppies will drop their brightly-hued petals, leaving an attractive pod that will quickly swell with ripening seeds. The seed pods can be left to develop or can be cut in order to promote more flower production. I will cut the spent flowers often in the beginning, then once I no longer see new developing buds I leave them to produce seeds to gather and some to fall and produce more plants for the following year. Birds also benefit from the seed heads! Seed heads are beautiful in flower arrangements as well.
All poppy seed varieties require cold-stratification and, because the sensitive seedlings do not always transplant well, they are best sown directly in the garden. Sowing from fall to very early spring allows the cold, wet weather to gradually break down the hard seed coat in time for the growing season. Poppy seeds should be sown on top of the soil, not buried, since light is an additional requirement for germination.
Poppies are not picky when it comes to soil, but they do want a location in full to partial sun. 8 hours or more a day they will bloom best. Sprinkle seeds over an open location and tamp soil lightly with the back of a rake or tamping tool. This helps hold seeds in place when the wind blows. I have had best luck when sowing poppy seeds in December to January in our zone 8.
Check out some of our poppy varieties.