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.
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.
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.
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.
Once the seedlings appear, thin them to 4 inches (10 cm) apart. Overcrowded plants will become spindly without the room to branch out.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Excerpted from Ready, Set, Grow! by DK Books