TUTORIAL: How to Grow Somniferum Poppies FULL GUIDE

TUTORIAL:

Growing Papaver Somniferum Poppies:

 

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.

First, visit our Law Section for Answers on whether or not it’s LEGAL to Grow Somniferum Poppy Seeds in your Area.

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VIDEO
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COMMENTS
COMMENTS

  • 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. Mix your Seeds with Sand to Spread them as you cast them.

    • WHEN to plant will depend on which USDA Zone you are located in, but generally, seeds will sprout whenever Temps rise above Freezing, 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. Alternately, 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 35º and 65º Degrees (f) for germination. But can withstand warmer Temps when Mature. YES, they DO need LIGHT to Germinate and HATE Transplanting.

     Some people prefer to start them indoors under lights, but be sure to start them in Peat Pellets, as poppies do not transplant well because they have very sensitive root systems and one very long Tap Root that can be damaged easily; killing the plant.

    But once they sprout, you should put down some Slug Bait. Slugs love to eat tender, young seedlings. I suggest using SLUGGO because the active ingredient is iron phosphate, which is completely harmless to pets and animals, and remains even after it rains.

  • Week 3

    Protect Sprouts Outdoors:

       Be sure to be aware of all the creatures that will ruin your poppy growing experience. Birds, for one, like to eat poppy seeds. So you may need protect against them.

    Poppy Sprout at 2 to 3 Weeks

    2 to 3 Weeks

  • Week 4

    <--Alternatives from Video

        I use Clear Plastic Cups and place them upside-down, to use as mini “greenhouses” until they get out grow the cup – or, you can put up a net above the seeds until they sprout.

  • Week 4

    More Stages:

    poppy sprout at 3 to 4 weeks

    3 to 4 weeks

       Keep the soil moist for the first couple weeks until you see the sprouts come up. Then cut back on the watering, only watering thoroughly every few days. This helps the new sprouts develop a strong root system by forcing them to search for water deep below the surface. Plus, it lowers the chance of mold and root rot, which poppies are very susceptible to. Keep the soil moist but not too wet.

       Be careful when watering not to wash away the seeds or any new sprouts. Water gently with a spray bottle, or use a drip system. I recommend a drip system with either soaker or drip hoses, hooked up to a simple timer.

  • Week 5

    poppy sprout at 5 to 6 weeks

    5 to 6 weeks

         After the sprouts begin to grow, you will have to thin your plants to at least 12″ apart. The more room you give them, the bigger they’ll get. When I say thin, I don’t mean transplant, I mean kill. Just pull up the smallest and weakest ones, and leave the biggest and most healthy looking.

    By doing this, you’ll get more flowers and pods per plant that are bigger, rather than a bunch of weak, single flowered stems.

Poppies don’t need to be watered too often Maybe once or twice a week is fine. But when you do water, give it a nice soaking.

This will promote strong root growth. Poppies also like as much sun as possible. Put them in an open field where they will get a lot of sun.

  • Week 7

    Fertilizing:

    Somniferum Poppy pre bloom Stage

    7 to 8 weeks

      Poppies can thrive in both Alkaline and Acidic soils. A good neutral ph will do. But Poppies suck up a LOT of Nutrients from the Soil.

      For quick release of Nutrients, I suggest using Water Soluble Organic fertilizers. Adding BLOOD MEAL to your soil, which is rich in Nitrogen, will promote ‘Green Growth’.  Then, for the Flowering Stage, a high Phosphorus fertilizer such as BAT or SEABIRD GUANO will work great since they’re water soluble, you can make tea or top dress. 

      For Long Lasting, Slow-Release Nutrients, use NON Water Soluble Fertilizers: Use Supplements such as Feather Meal & Bone Meal, instead. GREENSAND, will help loosen compacted soils and promote Root growth.
     

  • Week 8

    Pre-Bloom Begins

    • Longest Day of the Year
9 to 10 weeks

Pre-Bloom

9 to 10 weeks
10 to 11 weeks

Pre-Bloom

10 to 11 weeks
11 to 12 weeks

Pre-Bloom

11 to 12 weeks

Poppies will begin to bloom 10 to 12 weeks from the time you plant them. Their pedals will drop after about 48 to 72 hours. Then the pods will continue to grow for the next couple weeks. During this period, it’s very important not to water them unless absolutely necessary. Once pods turn a bluish tint with a white film on top, they are ready for harvest.

12 to 13 weeks

Bloom

12 to 13 weeks

Identification | Harvesting Seed Pods

PRODUCTS…

BELOW, I WILL REPLY TO ANY QUESTIONS YOU HAVE ABOUT GROWING 

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108 Comments

  1. Adrian
    09/15/2016 @ 8:56 am

    Hi
    I’ve just purchased some of your album ‘galania’ Afghan poppies which I am most grateful to have located again. You state in your information that this strain matures in 55 days and so professional farmers are able to make 4 plantings per year? I live in the UK latitude roughly 53 degrees north and 1 degree west. When would you recommend I begin planting for optimum yield and how many plantings could I make in a single year?
    Kind Regards
    AEB

    Reply

    • OrganicalBotanicals
      07/21/2016 @ 2:01 pm

      Many people are unaware of this, but the Somniferum Poppy is a NITROGEN Dominant Species and requires more Nitrogen during ALL Growth Stages than any other of the Major Three (N-P-K).
      That does’t mean they don’t also need Phosphorous and Potash, but Nitrogen should always be highest.
      What I like to do is buy Organic Fertilizer ONLY (Good Earth).
      Then prior to planting, I mix my solid with something like a 6-3-3 ratio of NON-water Solubles. (Bone/Feather Meal, Seashells, Greensand, etc)
      Also, if you plant poppies in the same place every year, make sure you always re-fertilize the Soil before planting again.
      I talk about this everywhere in this Tutorial.
      I’m surprised you haven’t caught it.
      Remember there are TWO types of Bat Guano. One rich in Nitrogen, and one rich in Phosphorousdepending on whether they were Nocturnal Bats, or Night Sleepers.
      Also, what stage are your plants at? You say it’s been in the 80’s & 90’s?
      Poppies might sprout in those temps, but they surely won’t continue into the Cabbage Stage (or any other stage for that matter).
      I mean, you could try. But I’d call it a miracle if you got them to go into a Cabbage Stage with those kinda Temps.
      Temps MUSt be much cooler.
      You try my “ICE METHOD” using Pots as explained in our “Late Bloomers” Tutorial–> HERE
      -OrgBot

      Reply

      • mastershake
        06/20/2016 @ 2:27 pm

        Ok so Im a new poppy grower, I started some danish flag, Tasmanian purple, and Gigantium(not sure on spelling) in april and they germinated fine. I started them off in small pots under a cfl and transplanted them to 1gal plastic pots. Im unsure what to do at this point, they are inside under HID light on a 12/12 schedule and they are larger now very leafy and range from 6″ leaves and 6″ tall down to 3″ at the smallest. Can I put them outside? Will they start flowering? Its June 19th now. Im in the SF bay area Ca. Im unsure what to expect because I got a late start, I dont know what makes poppies go into flower? Please any advice on what to do would be greatly appreciated!!!

        Just realized today is the longest day of the year and its when pre bloom is to begin. My poppies seem way too small for this stage, as I said the largest ones are about 6″tall with 6″ leaves. I think the way I started them lead to a slow growth. So Im still unsure what to do with them at this point. Anyway thanks for reading!

        Reply

        • OrganicalBotanicals
          05/14/2016 @ 6:31 am

          Nice Username!! LOL – The so called “Elka” is simply the first RECORDED Genetic history in regards to the ‘White Seeded’ Variety of the Somniferum Poppy. The one thing that is scientific fact about the white seeded varieties, are that they hold a higher oil content than the grey/blue varieties.
          Which makes me question why they aren’t used more often for Culinary purposes, since they offer a lightly sweeter taste than their blue brothers.
          In fact, I’ve never seen them on ANY Spice rack for that matter.
          I’ve even had people try to tell me on youtube that there’s no such thing as “White Opium Poppy Seeds”.
          There is also the ‘Album’ Variety- which are also white (or off-white) in Color.
          I believe the Afghan Peshawar Poppy Seeds are also the Album var.
          The only GMO Poppy Seeds out there (besides the ‘Norman’ Strain, which was NEVER released to the Public) that I’ve heard of is, the ‘Izmir Afghan Galania GMO Poppy Seed’ which we have been breeding since 2006 (and are also of the ‘Album’ Variety).
          You can use different methods to avoid cross-breeding. Such as planting them in Staggered stages (about 3 weeks apart) per Variety.
          You can also use clothespins on the Petals (which can be difficult), or you can build Screenboxes and place them over the entire plant (during bloom stage only) to keep bees out.
          Thee ONLY way they will “Cross” is by the ‘Bee’.
          I guess the human can cause them to cross pollinate too if they touch multiple Poppy Stamens/Pods.
          Otherwise, each flower will simply ‘self-pollinate’ a copy of themselves.
          Remember that RED is Dominant in the Poppy world. So if you were to let a mixed field of poppies continue to ‘Cross’ year after year, eventually, they’d all end up Red (or have Red in them).
          2nd dominant is the Blues (which are actually purple). But ‘Purple’ is actually not a proper ‘Poppy Somniferum’ term.
          (just in case u happen to see someone trying to sell ‘Purple Tasmanian Somniferum Seeds’, you’ll know they are very inexperienced- I’d avoid’em)
          -OrgBot

          Reply

  2. ididit86
    09/18/2016 @ 12:29 am

    So I am relatively new to gardening, but just became aware of a technique to extend blooming period for plants by “dead-heading”, which as I understand it, it clipping off a pod, just above the lower cabbage, after it flowers. Apparently this will induce the plant to continue flowering from the base upward again. Any comments concerning this technique if you have ever tried it, or heard of others doing so? I am experimenting with a continual growth cycle, and presently with 24 hr lighting, and am interested in this concept which additionally suggests a method of continually growing the same plant. I am experimenting with lighting and selection of various plants to have year long plant pots that can be brought in during cold and set back outside weather permitting. The possible impacts on seed, plant, and genetic quality, even with appropriately addressed nutritional supplementation, do make me wonder if this is frankly a collection of stupid ideas. I am a bit of a scientist at heart, and things like this do perk my interest I must admit… Pushing boundaries and such. I also am guilty of getting too excited with fertilizer, and killed off a majority of a beautiful (and what I can only estimate as a 99.99% germination of your excellent seeds [within both varieties I ordered to boot]). Any thoughts on if the survivors, who had minimal 2 leaf stage edge mush, are worth growing out or should I plant anew? I don’t really understand the implications of later plant life based on early trauma, should it be corrected. LONG Post..sorry about that. The best apology I suppose is genuinely recommending others to not think twice about the quality of your seeds, as my experience has been a PHENOMINAL Seed germination and readiness to grow! In terms of eBay reviews, A+++++++++ Great seller! Lol.

    Reply

  3. Connor
    09/27/2016 @ 10:38 am

    I got a couple questions for you, what are your thoughts on Sincerely Nuts brand of seeds to grow?

    But more importantly, I live in New England and have a green house that is not being used. Do you think I could possibly grow poppies in it from now until winter? And how long does it take for them to finish? 2-3 months? How often should they be watered?

    Thank you my friend

    Reply

  4. Subhut
    10/05/2016 @ 7:54 am

    Sorry, I meant…:

    I am having the problem you describe in your page “‘Why Poppy Stems so Floppy?”, but my plants always die’.

    Reply

  5. ididit86
    10/09/2016 @ 6:57 pm

    Is there any way you could provide some tips on leaf diagnosis? Every time I try to look on the net for leaf signs of various messages the color and behavior of the leaves seem to be trying to indicate, I get directed to marijuanna growing sites. I would love a quick guide on “reading” poppy leaves for issues going on. There exists no resource, and it would be helpful if someone with a lot of experience growing them (such as yourself) could comment on different ways nutrient deficiencies manifest themselves, or problems that this plant may be susceptible to which can be observed and addressed by the horticulturalist. I have gotten many of the popppies I have grown to fairly advanced stages, but am observing I am overdoing something which has led many to this dark green leaf edge necrosis that I can’t seem to find out online what I have done wrong. If you could post some of your own observations of leaf behavior to help planters know what could be done to try to rectify the problem before the plant dies, this would be well appreciated. My guess is that I have provided the plant with too much nitrogen and caused this dark green leaf edge mush. I have responded by watering it like crazy to keep the plant from dying and hope this is the right response, but I have no reference to refer to on knowing what this means. Thanks so much!

    Reply

    • OrganicalBotanicals
      09/13/2016 @ 3:58 pm

      Well, browning Lowers leaves IS perfectly normal, but not until the Flowering Stage as seen in THIS PIC
      But if it’s happening prior to this, it’s because there’s not enough Nitrogen. Read the Comment I just answered above this one.
      Also, ALWAYS add more Nutrients to Soil wherever you plant poppies 2 years in a row. They deplete the soil’s nutrients each time.
      Thanks!

      Reply

      • OrganicalBotanicals
        06/29/2016 @ 2:39 pm

        So you must have come across that popular Article where they Compare the SAP Color of a Norman, and a Regular Taz Strain, and saw that the Thebaine Alkaloid comes out Tinted with Orange.
        So what does that have to do with baking their Seeds?
        Unless you plan on putting the SAP into your Batter, there shouldn’t be any Concern.
        In fact, 95% of all Commercial Seed you buy in Bulk is of the Tasmanian Variety. Perhaps for consistency, but I imagine, although they’re mostly grown for Manufacturing Synthetic Pain Meds, that their Seeds aren’t just thrown away.
        I mean, they must be sold somewhere right?
        Nevertheless, one would have to invest a year to grow them if they wanna find out.
        But regardless, the seeds aren’t poison to bake with – and if you’re worried about residue, then wash them off before adding them to any recipe.
        ALL Somniferum Poppies are considered “Poison” and/or “Deadly”. – Norman or not.
        That’s because they contain Alkaloids that Directly Effect the Human Body’s CNS, alter brain signals, and hinder the Control of our bodies.
        Compared to the main Two Dominant Alkaloids (you know which ones), Thebaine has little to no effect unless it’s Synthesized.
        So I’d be more worried about the first two alkaloids, which are also considered “Poisons” unless or until they’re Prescribed otherwise.

        To answer your question about whether our seeds will be Viable for next Spring.
        Why wouldn’t they be?
        We grow them every year.
        How else would the plant have evolved for thousands of years??
        They would have gone Extinct long ago if they didn’t last from one Season to the Next.
        Hope this helps,
        -OrgBot

        Reply

        • Mike01100
          06/26/2016 @ 5:59 am

          Ok j ai envoyer 2 photos pouvez vous me dire quelle variété de pavot et si il devrez pouvoir être plus gros.merci

          Reply

          • Mike01100
            06/23/2016 @ 4:39 am

            Bonjour
            Je vais vous envoyer une photo.pouvez vous me dire quelle variété c est .
            Merci

            Reply

            • OrganicalBotanicals
              05/16/2016 @ 6:42 pm

              The only thing the Giganteum Poppy (or other ‘Giant’ Pod Varieties) have in them that is ‘extra’ is AIR.
              I believe they were bred just for show.
              There are no more seeds (or anything else, for that matter) than any other varieties.
              Thanks!
              Org-anical Bot-anicals

              Reply

      • Poppyhead
        07/04/2016 @ 2:35 pm

        I am curious as to what the best fertilization protocol is for the Azmir Afghan GMO strain is? I presently have them growing in composted clay/sandy type soil that drains very well. The climate is dry year round with humidity normally around 30-40 percent in the rocky mountain region.
        Watering is almost a daily must as the soil dries out daily as the temperatures have been in the 80-90s. I dont water log them but do give them a good soaking in the morning.
        I started them out with fox farm big bloom which is a non burning seabird bat guano liquid fertilizer.
        When the cabbage growth started I started using tiger bloom a 2-8-4 with increased phosphorous and a small amount of nitrogen to start the green growth going.
        Beginning this week as they are really starting to blow I will switch to grow big 6-4-4.
        Is this enough nitrogen? Should it be increased to like a 12-6-6 at pre-bloom time or back to 2-8-4. All are liquid fertilizer and they are responding really well. I dilute in out in a 2 gallon watering jug and feed them every other day or so. The climate is very similar to afghanistan. Hot and fairly dry. A few plants stunted with yellow edges on the leaves. What is that? Had a very high germination rate and way more seedlings than I could use. No refrigeration. Just wintered them in a desk drawer. What is the best way to keep them until planting?
        Is it preferable to leave the entire plant in the ground until dry for seeds? Thanks.

        Reply

  6. Taylor Youngson
    10/21/2016 @ 2:59 am

    I am growing papaver somniferum poppies for the first time. I found organicalbotanicals today and I am so grateful to have discovered the page. The blog answered a couple of pressing questions that had started to worry me (especially “Floppy Poppy”). I do have a couple of other questions that I would greatly appreciate your help to answer.
    A little background: I live in Alabama. I designated a flower bed in my backyard for growing poppies. I ordered a variety of papaver somniferum seeds and cast them into the soil in August. August in AL is hot, however, the flower bed gets a decent combination of shade and sun light. For whatever reason, after a couple of weeks, I had several sprouts come up. Due to a few mistakes early on, several of those original sprouts died. I planted another round of seeds in late August and early September. These are the sprouts that I am working with now. It is October 21, 2016 and it has just recently cooled off in AL. It is around 65 degrees at night and 75 – 80 degrees during the afternoon. It will continue to cool off but our winters rarely see snow. My poppy sprouts seem very healthy but they seem to be developing extremely slowly. Because this is my first experience growing poppies, I don’t know if this is a normal growth rate or not. Compared to other flowers I have grown, they seem slow. That said, they are developing. I wish that they were in a better location to get more sunshine, but they are not in full shade or too dark (I hope).
    * Is there a way to help the poppies get the most out of the limited sunlight they’re receiving? Obviously, I do not want to transplant. They are gradually growing but I think part of the slow growth has to do with limited sunlight. Sometimes I worry that the plants seem “stuck” in the current growth stage. I think I am just being impatient though.
    My next question has to do with growing in the Fall. Everything that I’ve read says that by growing in the Fall the plant will bloom in the early Spring after the snow and frost are gone. However I doubt any of these references are working in Alabama. If it snows here, it will be in February or later. Because the poppies have sprouted and are developing lettuce like leaves…And because I do not foresee a snow or heavy frost anytime soon… And because it is realistic to expect prime conditions until around December, my hope is that the poppies will fully mature before the spring. Do you think this is possible? There is a great chance that I am missing something or that my hope is just wishful thinking.
    * If growing very slowly, how long will they take to bloom? Considering the southern conditions, is it at all possible that I may have flowers and seed pods at some point this winter? I was originally thinking it would be in late November – mid December but this was before I did research.
    * Is there anything I can do to speed up or encourage development?
    * If there is little or no chance that the poppies will mature this winter, what will happen to the poppies that are currently growing? Will I be able to hold out hope for early Spring? It seems like they could possibly die once January or February rolls around. Who knows? Last Christmas it was hot in AL.
    * I am really enjoying my poppy project and I would love to succeed. Even if my “sooner the better” expectations are unrealistic or impossible, eventual success will be just fine.
    * Any other advice for a first time southern grower?
    Please feel free to ask for more details, pictures, information or whatever else might help you to answer my questions and/or point me in a successful direction.
    Worst case scenario, I kill every poppies and only grow a failure tree… I will continue to try in the spring. I have learned a lot but only on my own and with zero information specific to Alabama poppies in the Fall.
    Thank you very much for taking the time to read this. I hope that you will respond. Any information or advice would be sincerely appreciated. If not, I understand. I’m just some internet dude rambling about an interest that by comparison I know very little about. Most people around the US have an extremely inaccurate impression of what the people in Alabama are like. While there are stereotypical rednecks, the city that I live in is up and coming and populated by well educated professionals, talented artists and could easily stand up to any culinary scene in the country. I have been all over the world and my city has some of the best restaurants around.
    With your help, we will have an accomplished organical botanical poppy enthusiast too.
    Peace,
    Doctor Tay

    Reply

    • OrganicalBotanicals
      10/10/2016 @ 1:13 am

      I personally have never “dead-headed” since I need the pods to mature to full maturity in order to harvest seeds. But I have spoken to hundreds of growers who have tried it. Problem is, there is not, and never will be, a way to prove that it boosts the growth of the lower blooms.
      I’ve seen the lower blooms grow to maturity WITHOUT “dead-heading”, but have never really seen any increase by means of “dead-heading”.
      I think “dead-heading” is just another thing that “Weed Growers” do, that somehow gets mixed into Growing Poppies (as with ‘Leaf behavior’ from your latest Comment), simply because each Plant contains Narcotic Properties.
      Truth is, Poppies are the furthest thing from a weed as you can get. They aren’t similar in ANY way.
      Their Nutrient needs are different, as are their Temp. and Light Cycle needs, as well as their behavior in general.
      I HAVE answered questions about Poppy Leaves actually (with photos, etc), in a Comment response in THIS TUTORIAL HERE
      But will try to do into more depth regarding your concern when I get to your latest Comment in a bit.
      You’ll see in that same Tutorial Photos of a Poppy Plant with OVER 75 Blooms and Pods I grew once – no “dead-heading”, nothing special. They were the ‘Hungarian Blue’ Papaver Somniferum Poppy
      Hope this helps.
      -OrgBot

      Reply

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