How to Grow Red Field Poppies
Red field poppies are easy to grow and if you are wondering how, just read on.
Red field poppies got their name from the poppy fields of France and continental Europe where they self-seeded freely among other crops.
They are seldom seen nowadays due to the widespread use of herbicides and weedkillers.
Organic farmers, however, are seeing the return of red field poppies where they happily intermingle with crops and cause no problems or damage to the chosen crop, as well as look aesthetically pleasing.
It is the red poppy fields at both France and Flanders that gave the British Commonwealth the red poppy symbol, used to remember those who died in the trenches during the First World War.
Red field poppies are also known as papaver rhoeas, corn poppies, Flanders poppies, Rose poppy, Headache Flower, Canker flower, Copper Rose, Red Weed or Redfield.
Red Field Poppy Seeds at Amazon
Winter Planting of Poppy Seeds
If you really want to introduce red field poppies into your garden, please do remember that they self-seed very easily and will grow year and year, and not always where you want them to grow.
Poppies like all the sunshine that is going, so choose a spot that is sunny.
If you live in a hot, sunny climate, choose a spot that offers some protection from the sun when it is at its hottest during the day.
Make sure the ground is free-draining where you plant your corn poppy seeds, as poppies hate to be water-logged and will rot very quickly.
Poppy seeds can easily survive frost, so you can safely plant them in the winter.
- Prepare the ground by turning it over, and removing weeds and big stones.
- Rake over the surface to make sure the soil is well broken up and friable.
- Water well, and leave to half-dry off, if it hasn't rained recently.
- Take your seeds and mix well with sand. Poppy seeds are tiny, and if you mix them with sand you will find it easier to spread them evenly.
- Gently rake them in.
In the spring as the weather warms up, you should be rewarded with seeing lots of little poppy plants appearing through the ground.
It is a good idea to thin poppy seedlings that are too close together. Those at the back which do not get the sunlight, will always be smaller and more stunted.
Thin out your seedling poppies when the are about 2" high, to about 6" apart.
Spring Planting of Poppy Seeds
If your ground is covered with snow all winter, do not scatter your poppy seeds because when the snow melts, you will find your red field poppies growing in a completely different place. They are small and light enough to be carried away by melting snow and ice.
Wait instead until spring to plant your corn poppy seeds. While poppy seeds can be safely left on the surface of the earth in winter, by spring the warmer weather brings birds and tother predators which will enjoy eating your poppy seeds.
If you plant in spring, follow the same steps as shown above, only rake then in well so that the seeds are protected from the birds.
Take care not to plant them too deeply, else they will not germinate. They need the sunlight to germinate.
Growing on your Red Field Poppies
Keep your poppy plants well-watered in hot, dry weather, and keep the area around them weed-free as best you can.
It is a good idea to apply a mulch of perhaps bark clippings or grass cuttings around the plants to inhibit the growth of weeds, while keep moisture locked into the soil.
To prolong the corn poppy flowers, you can dead-head them as they fade. This encourages the production of new flowers, which extends the display.
Red field poppies are annuals, and by dead-heading them you are preventing the production of seed for next year. If you want your whole garden turned into a field of red poppies, leave the flowers to go to seed.
Even if you dead head, it is a good idea to leave one or two poppy flowers to develop seeds, so that you can collect them for next year's display.
Simply cut the seed heads off when it turns brown, pop into a paper bag, and keep in a cool place, perhaps an outdoor shed, until you are ready to plant again.
Your red field poppies will die down at the first frosts.