Poppy seeds are easy to harvest. Poppy plants are vigorous reproducers. Each bloom that is allowed to mature and to develop a seed pod will create dozens of seeds that can be used for planting next year’s batch of poppies. However, if you want to entice your poppy plants to produce a second batch of blooms before they go to seed, then there are additional steps you will need to take.
Deadheading Your Poppies
If you are interested in getting a second batch of blooms in the fall, then you can deadhead the faded first blooms. This is done by cutting off the discolored or wilted poppy flowers from the stem of the plant. This cleaning up process will encourage your poppies to regenerate a new stem and produce a second flower in early fall.
Preparing to Harvest Poppy Seeds
If you are interested in harvesting poppy seeds for your flower garden you will need a few basic supplies. You will need a paper bag for drying the seed pods, a sharp utility knife to cut off the seed pods, a sieve, and an airtight container.
Harvesting Poppy Seeds
When you harvest poppy seeds you will not deadhead your poppy flowers. The flowers need to stay attached to the stem in order to develop a mature seed pod. The seed pod begins to develop as the poppy flower wilts and its petals fall to the ground. Waiting until the plant head turns colors is essential for the development of a ripe seed pod.
The seed pod can be harvested when it becomes a grayish-brown color. To harvest the seed pod you will want to use a sharp utility knife to cut it from the stem. If you will be using the seed pod for crafts, cut low on the stem near the base of the flower. If you will be harvesting the seeds for planting, then you can cut the stem closer to the base of the seed pod. Place the seed pods in a paper bag and store the seeds in a well-ventilated area, making sure the bag remains open to the air to promote drying of the seed pods.
Once the poppy seed pods have completely dried out you can harvest the seeds from the pods. To do this, break apart the seed head to release dozens of little poppy seeds. You can pour the seeds into a sieve to separate the seeds from the shards of a broken seed pod.
Finally, store your harvested poppy seeds in an airtight container. Plastic cups with lids work well as do plastic bags. Poppy seeds love the cold so you will be able to plant your seeds as soon as the snow has melted and the dirt of your flower garden is visible. You may also decide to plant the seeds in a container.