Part I

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Growing Papaver Somniferum Poppies

(Part 1 of 5):


Please Post Any Inquiries you have by Commenting Below and I will answer in great Detail within 24 hours MAX- so that others may Benefit from the info.

Part one

  • Week 1

    Planting Poppy Seeds

    Poppies CAN be very easy to grow, and can also grow almost anywhere in the world, and require very little maintenance (once they get going). Generally speaking, growing poppies can be done almost anywhere.

    HOW to plant, simply cast seeds on top of loose, moist soil. No need to bury them – but you can gently press them into the ground, or toss a very thin layer of soil on top. You can mix your Seeds with Sand to Spread them as you cast them, but SALT works best, as it retains Moisture, prevents clumping, AND deters Slugs from eating sprouts. 

    • WHEN to plant will depend on which USDA Zone you are located in, but generally, seeds will sprout whenever Temps rise above Freezing (32, as Poppies prefer cool Temperatures during the Germination and Seedling stages. 
    • Poppy Seeds can be planted in either FALL, early SPRING, or BOTH (depending on how Mild your Winters are.
    • Results of Planting in Fall will provide earlier, and much larger blooms the following Spring, whereas Planting in Spring will still result in a spectacular display of Blooms, but just in early Summer.

  • Week 2-3

    Germination Tips...

    Seeds take roughly 2 weeks to Sprout. Alternatively, you can plant half your seeds in the Fall, and half in the Spring, but if you get a lot of snow in your area, they’ll die.

    They prefer Temperatures to be between º33 and º65 Degrees (F) or º1-º18 Degrees (C) for germination. But can withstand warmer Temps when Mature. YES, they DO need LIGHT to Germinate and HATE Transplanting.

    For Cooler areas, you can plant Iceland Poppies




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  1. thegreatappreciator
    01/12/2017 @ 7:14 pm

    Hello again, in your experience what alkaloid characteristics do papaver paeoniflorum have as compared to single petal types? Say for example, a Flemish Antique? I know the pod shape is very different from single-petal types. Thanks in advance


    • Chester Copperpot
      01/14/2017 @ 2:38 pm

      Also, if there was a plant with 7-8 small pods that haven’t swelled since the petals fell off. When the petals fell off the very first bloom, I cut the water. Do you think its SO dry that the pods couldnt swell and mature? Should I lighty water at that point? This is all hypothetical by the way.


      • OrganicalBotanicals
        01/26/2017 @ 8:42 pm

        You need to continue watering, but not lightly. Give it a good soaking once a week (or twice at the most)- But u need to reach the whole root system since that is where it begins. Go HERE for more info


    • OrganicalBotanicals
      01/26/2017 @ 8:37 pm

      There’s nothing about paeoniflorum that’s any more or less different than Somniferum. They are the same species. Just named different, and not ALL paeoniflorum’s are “Peony” (multi-petaled).
      It’s just a gardener’s term.
      Just as there are other flower Species that are called “Hens & Chicks”, or “Peony” for that matter.
      The pods are only shaped the way they are due to the weight of the additional petals.


  2. steve
    01/24/2017 @ 5:03 am

    i would like to know……
    are the ikkanshu seeds viable for germination
    or are they for consumption only?


    • OrganicalBotanicals
      01/26/2017 @ 9:51 pm

      ALL our Seeds are VIABLE. How else would we grow them every year to resupply our Stock?
      That’s why we Publish Thousands of New Photos, Slideshows, and Videos each year (which only shows a small percentage of our Total Crops)


      • Nicholas
        02/06/2017 @ 1:09 am

        Hello, I read that Ikkanshu seeds are dark, blueish, not white, I was curious as to yours being white, is it a hybrid ? thanks, Nick


  3. ruuoots
    03/29/2017 @ 10:33 am

    Still playing the waiting game in the germination stage, a bit concerned about outside temperature.
    The forecast max temperature the other day was supposedly only 14 degrees C, but sitting a temp gauge near to my pots in the sun I had a reading of about 23 degrees C! You explain about germination occuring between 1 – 18 degrees C. Have some of my seeds been roasted already? Should I go by my local regional forecast or use my own measurements? If the latter then I better go and find me a set of baking sheets…and quick! 😉 It was only for one day though and the temperature today matches my reading of 14 degrees C, phew, it’s safe to go outside again lol. I also have some distance between the soil/peat pellet surface and rim of pots as advised for shading + gave them all extra misting that day. Would you say seeds prefer the cooler end of that 1-18 spectrum? I read here somewhere your response to cooling seeds via refrigeration being a myth, hopefully I’ve not caused a problem doing that. They were in at 6 degrees C for two weeks prior to planting.
    Also, how deep should the fertilized soil above the ‘perlite only’ layer be and will/could they grow to their maximum potential in pots vs being ground sown? I have a heavy clay soil so currently that is not an option, any advice on how to amend specifically for poppy cultivation? Thank you.


    • OrganicalBotanicals
      04/05/2017 @ 6:57 pm

      One thing you should do when planting in Pots especially, is put a layer of Perlite on TOP of the soil (as soil is dark in color, so it will attract more heat to it).
      But the White Perlite will not only keep things cool, but will reflect more light onto your plant, AND will retain moisture. So it;s a Triple Whammy.
      I show this in our “Late Bloomers” Tutorial don’t I?
      – The refrigeration method isn’t going to ruin your seeds, it actually preserves them. I only said that I personally have never used that method.
      -The “Perlite ONLY Layer” is only there to hold your Soil in Place. It simply acts as a “Filler” to fill all the large gaps between the rocks so that when you Water your plants, they don’t sink.
      So just fill it to the top, minus a few inches for protection from “Things in the Sky”.
      Poppies can be planted in Clay soil too. It wouldn’t hurt to add some ‘Soil Amendment’, and perhaps some Greensand to loosen it up, but no, I’ve never seen a Poppy reach “Full Potential” in a Pot, as opposed to Direct Sowing.
      And they’re root systems are not that big either.


  4. Aaron B
    03/31/2017 @ 2:03 pm

    Some of my larger plants are starting to wither. It’s been very hot and I live in zone 8. I’ve been watering about 2-3 times a week. Can I water more since it’s so hot or what are other options to help my withering plants?


    • OrganicalBotanicals
      04/05/2017 @ 7:13 pm

      How hot? They will only wither from Heat, if your temps are above ˚90 -˚95 degrees (F).
      No need to water them more than that, but when you DO water them, you need to make sure you give them a good soaking.
      But I have no idea whether you planted in Pots, in the ground. what kind of soil we’re working with, etc. So I can’t really give the best advice.
      But if you have any way to provide them with some Shade during the Mid-Day sun, than find a way. They don’t need a FULL Day’s worth of Sun, they can easily survive and thrive with just a few hours of Full sun each day.
      The only other thing I can think of would be Nutrients. They are Nitrogen Dominant in ALL Growth stages.
      So if you planted poppies in that same location in previous years, but didn’t replenish the soil, there’s your problem.

      But when Poppy leaves “Whither”, there ain’t no point of return. They gone (if there are still healthy leaves on the majority of it, there’s still a chance.)


  5. ruuoots
    04/02/2017 @ 6:11 pm

    Hello, further to my last comment I can confirm green shoots have appeared in all pots after 10 days! Despite the weather (high temps), on another day the display showed 26 degrees C, if my tool is accurate? I used Ice sheets on a few of the pots this second particularly hot time (as many as I could make) but seedlings emerged even from those without cover.
    I have labelled up 12 pots in all and am trying a number of variables on my first attempt. Just for the hell of it I’ve even tried to plant some in my thick clay soil (not expecting much to come of that after roots break through peat pellet) #brickwall ;). Size of pots, positioning, soils, watering/not watering (after initial saturation of growing media in each), with/without peat pellets, types of fertiliser (heard about tomato feed working well with poppies, found an organic one). Blood, fish & bone (sorry veg/vegans), seaweed and bat guano. Some layered, some worked into potting mix. So among that lot I will hopefully find a winner! lol. Spent an afternoon drilling small holes in plastic cups for maximum aeration (liking your idea on that). Just netting in the first days on some and others with porous garden fabric + small frame inside pot to lift fabric and allow more growing room, hoping that works well. Secured with tight fitting elastic band should keep all pests out.
    Not exactly sure how to avoid cross pollination so decided all pots this year would be sown with the Izmir Afghan seeds. I think your video shows this variety growing well in pots so fingers crossed.
    My main worry now is watering correctly. Some I will continue misting until established, some I will sit in a wheelbarrow to soak up water from below (don’t have soaker hoses available, this time) I could use 50 pots and not exhaust the all the permutations but should get a fairly good indication what works best with trial and error. If you would caution against any of this please let me know, thanks. 🙂


    • OrganicalBotanicals
      04/05/2017 @ 7:43 pm

      Awesome! If you could take any Photo Documentation, that would be of great use. If you have enough, and you feel up to it, I’ll give you your own “Guest Tutorial Page”. Where you can either submit your own Content for us to Put together and Publish for you (and by you).
      Or, I’ll give you Admin access (Limited) where you can write everything and compose it yourself from the backend.
      We don’t take any credit for it. Nor do we alter it (unless u want us to).
      We just enjoy seeing the stories that “Grow” from our Seeds.

      This invitation is always open to anyone who can document their experience and produce Content from it.


      • ruuoots
        04/08/2017 @ 6:33 am

        Hello, thank you for your replies and your offer for me to submit a tutorial page. I didn’t get an email but had ticked to be notified? Kept this page open to see your responses. Wish I’d taken more pictures now! Got a few but should have documented the mixes as they went into pots, oh well. Having said that I did write some notes that correspond to each numbered pot and only recently prepared the small ground plot. So I’ll keep a visual progress on it all from this point, seedlings are still very young so anything could happen yet, hopefully only good things (healthy growth) 🙂 Perhaps by the end of the life cycle there will be a worthy amount of info to share here.
        Been having some unseasonably hot weather again, more like summer for here in the UK! 20ºC+ (found the symbol lol) forecast today. More ice sheets at the ready!
        About the earth:
        I did churn up the clay rich soil pretty well removing large rocks along the way. Left the soil spread out on a large piece of tarpaulin to dry slighty then forked it about in my small trailer till it was a crumbly texture before tipping it back loose in the hole. Used up the rest of a big 100 ltr bag of perlite mixed in too so perhaps it is sufficiently prepared . Forgot to leave some back for the (better than Judge Dredd) Triple Whammy! lol All pots do have some perlite on the surface though.
        The soil in my pots (without naming the company) contains: 20% sphagnum peat moss, 35% garden peat, 10% high quality organic Worm-Humus , 30% perlite. Separately I mixed in organic fertilliser as you have explained. Fairly confident this should see them through with watering and possibly other liquid fertiliser sprays.
        What sort of soil composition do you have in your rows for the great results you achieve and do you replenish nutrients every season or less frequently? Thank you.


        • OrganicalBotanicals
          05/10/2017 @ 5:42 pm

          Sure! No problem. Ya, that invitation is open to anyone who is growing our Seeds, as long as there are at least some Photos and/or Video to go along with the Documentation.
          I thought maybe Pie Pans would make the Perfect Ice Sheets, but I’ve never had the need for them up here in the PNW. Nor have I the means to make them, as I only own a Mini-Fridge.
          I could use a Photo showing the “Ice Sheet method” for our “Late Bloomers” Post. If u would like to share a Photo of your Ice Sheets, perhaps on top of one of your Pots, that would be the missing piece to that Post, and I’d be glad to either Credit you as the Photographer, and/or issue you a Coupon for Store Credit (you would still hold 100% Rights to your Pic(s) though).
          Feel free to upload to any Public Image Host (Imgur, giphy, Flickr, Photobucket), and just paste the Image URL(s) in any Comment.
          But ya, the Soil mix you described sounds like your average Potting Mix, which is perfect.
          However, if u wish to loosen Clay, use a Soil Conditioner (aka: ‘Soil Amendment’), and supplement with ‘Greensand’ and ‘Perlite’.
          There’s a Brand called ‘Black Gold’ that sell Amendment, and ‘Good Earth’ sells ‘Greensand’- it’s a Fertilizer but is only part of the ‘K’ Spectrum (NPK).

          For my rows, in the past, I liked to have total control of the NPK Levels, so I’d find THREE Fertilizers, each only containing either Nitrogen, Phosphorus, or Potash.

          But now I just Re-Plenish with a Mix consisting of a 6-3-3 NPK Levels. I will also grind up all remaining Plant Parts at the end of each Season, and mix back into the soil and allow it to recycle back into the soil.

          But Seasonal Fertilizer replenishment is VITAL, since poppies use up so much nutrients.


  6. Bastien
    04/03/2017 @ 8:25 am

    Hey I have two different kind of organic poppy seed but when I asked they guy if they were washed he looked at me like I was an idiot and said I don’t I’ve never of unwashed poppies so I hope I got some good stuff anyways I want to send you pictures of what I got and let me know if I can grow them or not


    • OrganicalBotanicals
      04/29/2017 @ 5:37 pm

      ANY and ALL “Poppy Seeds” that are Sold at a Store, are in fact “Papaver Somniferum” Seeds. Whether their Viable or not, I can’t say. Nor is there any way of knowing the ‘Variety’ (flower color, pod type, genetics, etc.) of Poppy it is until it blooms.
      But most likely, it will be your Typical Commercial ‘Breadseed Poppy’ (which look just like Tasmanian Poppies).
      Which is why you see sellers all over Amazon and eBay selling them by the pound, and just calling them whatever sounds marketable (“Afghan Purple Tasmanian”) Most of the time, showing just a Photo of a Seed Pile, or Images Stolen off Google Images- these Seed “Re-Sellers”, have never grown a Single Poppy.


  7. Tim Lombardini
    04/13/2017 @ 4:11 pm

    Thank you to the others who also recently leave comments here about their growing experiences. I am new at it with these poppies, but have gardened a wide variety of plants for over twenty years having been raised on ranch here in central CA. Been trying to germinate some seeds and so grow me a few varieties of papaver somniferum for nearly a month with nary a single sprout yet. Have tried peat pots as well as directly sowing on ammended ‘loam’ soil, also some with salt on top to discourage bugs. Weather has been cool at night (40 F) to mild in day (70 F) I have given up trying the peat pots and am down to just a small patch of ground sowen a couple of weeks ago, keeping it moist in hopes of a miracle sprout. No bird problems, the only pests noticed are some earwigs that come out during the night and so I used an organic-type spray to try and defeat them. Fortunately a friend who has a single strain of papaver somniferum established in his yard gave me a few young ones to transplant. They are actually doing ok considering, everything I had read about it was understood to be that transplanting is a difficult thing to accomplish. Go figure.


  8. Lukas
    05/02/2017 @ 9:44 am

    Hi, I want to choose some potent/productive poppy strain, which will be ready in medium-long summer.
    I am living in central Europe, so summer is much shorter in comparision to for example Afghanistan – where some came from.
    So I am looking for something strong/big, but not very slow.


  9. TranscendingWonderland
    05/03/2017 @ 2:07 pm

    I’ve been feeling the need to fertilize my poppy sprouts,yet I am unemployed and cannot afford commercial fertilizers at the moment.. Do you think that poppies would benefit from a home-made fertilizer made from composted coffee grounds and water? It’s high in nitrogen but I’m not sure if the acidity would be good for the sprouts… Please let me know your thoughts on this, or if you have any other suggestions. Thank you SO much!!!


    • OrganicalBotanicals
      05/10/2017 @ 4:33 pm

      Don’t use Coffee grounds in heavy amounts, as the Acidity can kill you sprouts.
      But if mixed with other Compost, it’s ok, just as long as your compost has been completely decomposed.
      But most importantly, you need to Sterilize any “Home made” Compost before adding it, as Poppies are very susceptible to several mold and fungus strains.


      • TranscendingWonderland
        05/12/2017 @ 9:41 am

        Thank you so much for your advice! I ended up making a weak cup of coffee and diluted it in some water. I fed it to my plants two days ago and now there’s tons of new sprouts and a dozen of them are finally in the “cabbage stage”. I’m so happy!!:) Thank you for having such an insightful tutorial!


  10. Russ Lynde
    05/15/2017 @ 11:09 pm

    I haven’t had a successful poppy garden for years. My theory was to sew them anytime and sew a lot of them, no wonder they never came up. I remembered that years ago I would sew them on top of a late snow, or here more likely a late ice, and they grew like crazy. My question is actually geared more towards encounters with law enforcement, DEA, BNDD, or any of the other MANY agencies. Has anyone had to deal with any of these agencies? As I said before, my technique was to sew way too many in hopes some would survive, they didn’t. In the 70’s and 80’s, I would never have thought of, let alone worried about, ordering too many seeds. Since 9/11 everyone is at the very least a “person of interest”. I probably ordered 10oz of Papaver Somniferum seeds the past year. I’m wondering if I should expect a visit or am I being overly paranoid? They’re legal to grow here so long as the pods aren’t scratched. I’m only concerned about the number of seeds I ordered cause none of them germinated.( I’ll fix that problem this fall) I laugh at myself for being so paranoid but then I remember the things I’ve seen the past 20 yrs. Thanks, russ


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