How to Plant a Poppy Container Garden
Learn how to plant a container garden for various types of poppies with this step-by-step gardening guide.
The crinkled silky petals of poppies appear in a wonderful array of colors that attract bees and butterflies, and birds enjoy eating the seeds. Plan to sow the seeds in early spring for summer flowering or in early summer for fall flowering or for flowering the next spring. We've used seeds of the Iceland poppy variety. This project takes 12 weeks to complete.
- container (e.g., flowering pot or recycled juice container)
- unfertilized soil
- poppy seeds
- watering can
1. Add Soil
Fill up a prepared container with unfertilized soil. Poppies grow best in poor, lightly moistened soil. Make a shallow trench around the container using your finger.
2. Choose Your Seeds
There are more than 120 species in the poppy family. Some of the best for containers include the Ladybug Poppy (seen here), California Poppy and Iceland Poppy.
3. Sow the Seeds
Sprinkle the seeds into the trench and cover with a very little soil. Position the container in a sunny spot and keep the soil slightly moist until the shoots appear.
4. Thin the Seedlings
Once the seedlings appear, thin them to 4 inches (10 cm) apart. Overcrowded plants will become spindly without the room to branch out.
5. Water the Poppies
Water a little only when the soil looks dry. Poppies like almost drought conditions, so if it has rained in the week, then they are likely not to need water.
6. Choose a Sunny Spot
Grow poppies in a place that gets full sun. Use poor, lightly moistened soil. Seeds will germinate in 2 to 4 weeks and flowers will open from 12 weeks onward.
7. Remove the Dead Flowers
Lengthen the flowering period. Remove the dead flowers by breaking the stalks a little way below them. This is called deadheading and encourages the plant to produce new flowers rather than spend its energy on producing seeds.
8. Encourage Reseeding
Encourage reseeding for the next year. Leave some spent flowers at the end of the flowering period to form seedpods, letting the leaves die back.