Poppies! I LOVE poppies, but I have some problems with poppies too. Number one on my list of loves is the way poppies develop big, luscious looking pods. When the pods begin to widen and split to reveal the color of the flower inside, honestly, I must admit I run out into the yard several times a day to see if the silken petals have opened. There is something magical in the wispy crown in the center of each flower too. Often there will be a splotch or two of contrasting color at the base of each petal. The foliage of many poppy plants glows in beautiful bluish green tones. Yes…I LOVE poppies.
One of the major drawbacks of poppies, at least in my opinion, is how hard it is to grow them from seed. For years I followed the advice on the back of the packets and on the pages of reliable gardening books and sowed them directly in the ground. This NEVER worked for me. Heavy spring rains ALWAYS washed my poppy seeds away before they could sprout, or if they did, the delicate small seedlings would be beat into the ground by that same rain. the “experts” say poppies don’t transplant well. I think I probably agree if they are grown in the house, but I have found a way to get a head start on poppies and that is through winter sowing.
I’ve written many times about winter sowing, so I am not going to take the time to rewrite what I have already posted. You can read about winter-sowing here and follow some of the links I list for more information: Winter Sowing
I am also including a post that shows the results of my winter sown poppies: Poppies
If you want to grow poppies this year, and have a milk carton or two on hand, give winter-sowing a try. It only takes a few minutes to create a miniature greenhouse to place outside in the sunshine. Happy Gardening!