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Plant Care

How to Grow Poppies

Grow poppies from seed for a colourful garden and well utilising your space. These resilient plants reappear annually, forming stunning drifts. Popular varieties include oriental, field, Welsh, and Himalayan poppies. Oriental poppies, with their large, ruffled petals, come in vibrant shades of white, pink, purple, and red. Despite their short-lived blooms, poppies bring summer to life.

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Grow Poppies From Seed

Prepare a sunny, well-drained spot by weeding and raking the soil to a fine tilth. Sprinkle poppy seeds thinly for a natural drift effect. Germination takes 7-30 days, depending on variety, soil, and temperature—keep the soil moist. Once seedlings are sturdy enough, thin them to 30cm (12in) apart. Water regularly, avoiding overwatering to prevent leggy growth or rot. If starting late, consider purchasing mature oriental poppy plants and transplanting them after frost risk passes. Remember to harden off before planting in fertile, well-drained soil.

Avoid overwatering to prevent leggy growth.

What Poppies Needs

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Watering: Poppy plants may rot in soaked soils, so only water when the soil feels dry to a finger's depth Position: Generally, poppies need an open, sunny position with at least six hours of sunlight a day. Feeding: Make sure you are not over feeding your poppy plants as this can prevent flowering.

Growing Poppies Across the Season

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Poppy seeds can be started under cover in March or direct sown in both spring and autumn

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Cut back Oriental poppies after flowering. Cut them back to the ground to bring new growth.

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Collect up seeds and autumn direct sow for next years blooms.

Poppies S.O.S.

Poppies are generally resistant to pests and diseases, but oriental varieties can be susceptible to powdery mildew, a fungal infection that covers leaves and stems in white mildew. In severe cases, prune the plant to ground level and remove fallen leaves to prevent the disease from overwintering. Be cautious with opium poppies, as they can self-seed excessively and become problematic. To control their growth, regularly deadhead spent flowers to prevent seed formation.

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Prune any powdery mildew.

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