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How to Plant Papaver Somniferum

Updated on March 12, 2011


 Papaver somniferum, which has the common name of opium poppy, is a flower usually used in the medical field to make opium.  They are sold as “breadseed poppes” at nurseries. Growing in US Department of Agriculture zones 7 to 10, the opium poppy is an annual. The flowers vary in colors such as of red, mauve or purple, adding color along a walkway or garden border. You can purchase a mixture of seeds that blooms all colors of flowers or seeds that bloom only the color you select. Floridata recommends planting the seeds in early spring before the last frost. Check with your local university Extension office to verfify if it is legal for you to purchase and plant poppies in your state.

Step by Step way to Plant Poppies

Step 1

Choose an area in your home landscape with full sun and well-drained soil. Amend the selected area with a layer of organic matter, mixing thoroughly together.

Step 2

Place seeds into the prepared soil 1 inch into the ground, spacing them 5 inches apart. Cover lightly with an inch of soil.

Step 3

Water 1 inch a week once the papaver somniferum begins to show leaves and blooms.

Step 4

Apply a 2-inch layer of mulch around the entire planting once the flowers begin to grow. The mulch will suppress weeds and keep the ground moist.

Step 5

Feed with a balanced fertilizer for flowering plants during the growing season every four weeks. Follow the manufacturer’s instruction for correct usage.


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