How To Germinate Poppy Seeds

orange poppy flowers in a field
What You'll Need
Poppy seeds
Peat Moss

Generally speaking, poppy plants do not grow well when divided and transplanted and so are almost always grown from seed. Poppy flowers make a beautiful, colorful addition to any flower garden or outdoor landscape and are relatively easy to maintain. Read on to learn how to germinate your poppy plants so that you can grow new flowers from seed.

Step 1 - Choose the Correct Time for Germination

Poppy seeds are relatively sensitive to temperature. Poppy seeds will germinate in temperatures of about 60 to 68 degrees F during the daytime. Nighttime temperatures should average between 38 and 45 degrees. If temperatures are much colder or warmer than this, it will result in poor germination and loss of seeds.

Step 2 - Prepare the Germination Bed

poppy seeds

For your poppy seeds to properly germinate, they will need fertile, well-drained soil. Mix peat moss or sand in with your soil to give it better drainage.

Step 3 - Sow the Poppy Seeds

When sowing your poppy seeds, spread them sparsely and don't spread too many in one area. This will help you avoid too much thinning later on. Poppy seeds need adequate room to germinate and grow.

Do not cover the seeds with too much soil. These plants need a lot of light to germinate, so covering them with soil will prevent them from getting the light that they need. You can lightly press the seeds into the potting soil with your finger to keep them from becoming dislodged.

Step 4 - Water the Seeds

water misting from a spray bottle

You will need to water your poppy seeds once a day until they germinate. Use a spray bottle to lightly mist the soil, keeping it moist but not wet. Depending on conditions, your poppy seeds will germinate within about four to 20 days.

Step 5 - Provide Good Air Circulation

Your seedlings will need adequate air circulation as soon as the first leaves appear. Without good air circulation, your poppies will be susceptible to many types of fungal diseases that can kill young plants. Good air circulation will prevent most types of fungi from being able to settle on the leaves. If you need to, place an oscillating fan somewhere in the room with the seeds.

Step 6 - Thin Out Your Poppy Plants

Once your young poppy plants reach about 4 to 6 inches in height, clip the tops off of the stems of the weakest or unhealthiest plants. This will allow your poppy plants to regenerate new growth, and will also help to produce more blooms and flowers when the plants mature.