It was about ten years ago that I first fell in love with the bright ethereal petals of poppies. I knew that someday I would have to learn to how grow poppies. So now I have learned and you can too. Poppies come in many varieties, including both annual and perennial. In this post we will talk about my success with growing annual poppies in a rock bed garden.
“In Flanders Fields, The Poppies Blow, Among The Crosses Row On Row.”
The red Flanders poppy, made popular after World War 1 as a symbol of dead soldiers, is easier to grow than you might think. This poppy is small and delicate reaching 12 to 30″ high. They come in red, pink and white. I have had great success for the past three years sowing poppy seeds from American Meadows. According to AM, this poppy can be grown in all regions of the US. I am in Zone 6B.
I first started growing the Flanders poppies at our hobby farm in Southern Illinois. Now I grow them in the suburbs of North-Central Illinois. The trick for me, was to sow the tiny seeds in the dead of winter, February is best. Do this preferably before a snow for compaction, though it’s not completely necessary. Poppies need to be exposed to the cold before they will sprout. I even put my package of seeds in the refrigerator if I receive them before it’s time to sow.
The Trick For Me, Was To Sow The Tiny Seeds In The Dead Of Winter
Have your plot cleared and prepared before sowing. Although delicate flowers, the tiny seeds are hearty, and will even grow in rock gardens, which is where I planted them at our new home in suburbia. Poppies prefer full sun, but will tolerate just a bit of shade. If you have access to sand, mix the seeds for a more even sowing, if not simply take a handful of seeds and sprinkle them about; you can always thin them in the spring.
After you spread your seeds, leave them be for the duration of the winter, and dream about the field of red awaiting you in the spring. Every zone is different, but my poppies bloomed at our Southern Illinois farm in mid-May, just in time for Memorial Day. However, in North-Central Illinois, where we now live, the poppies didn’t bloom this year until the mid-June. Results may vary!
While Flanders poppies, in my experience, don’t make the best cut flowers, you can manipulate them into a vase if you are careful. I am happy to be met with these gorgeous red blooms every time I pull into our neighborhood. I think my neighbors are too.