The last three years, I have tried to save Poppy seeds. Germination is low from the seeds that I saved last year and when I tried the seeds from previous years, no germination. If there is an expert who saves poppy seeds, can you tell me (1). How do you store the seeds to last several years (Refrig/Freeze??) or maybe you should save only the last year?
Thanks, Any help would be appreciated.
mnorberry is there any possibility that you're gathering your seed too early? I find it hard to understand their lack of viability because I actually have a problem with them reseeding too much! I let about a dozen of them go to seed the first year I planted them and just left the pods on the plants through the winter. The next year I had about 10 times as many plants and the year after that 10 times more. Now I have to take a very active roll in weeding them out in the spring or they'd completely take over the yard.
If you want to grow them in the same bed I'd suggest just leaving a few plants through the winter and letting them reseed themselves. Or in the very late fall break the pods from the plants and scatter them in the area you want them to grow. As far as storage I do believe that a lot of people (myself included) keep them in the fridge.
I wait until they turn dark on the stem, with little holes on top/side. When I collect the seeds, most of them are black, but I do notice a few that are red. I figure the red ones are not completely dried. What do you think?
Around late April when its starts to warm up, I just throw the seeds in a bed that I have just tilled. I make sure I don't plant to deep, just on the surface and pat them down. This year only 2 colors out of approx. 10 came up. Most of the seeds were from two years ago. I kept them in the refrig. I had some Pom Pom style Yellow, Apricot, and dark Purple/Black that did not come up, now I will have to find where I got them from to get more seed.
I had the same problem as mnorberry, in zone 8a NW Oregon where everything is supposed to grow. I sowed in March. Out of close to 100 seeds, I got 2 flowers! I wonder if poppy seeds need the cold of winter to help them germinate in the spring? Have you tried freezing your seed, then sowing them in late winter?
Poppies prefer cool climates and they need a cold period to germinate. Since you're in zone 8 and 9, try the following:
After harvesting the seeds, keep your well dried (dark brown) seeds in the freezer (between -4°C and -18°C) until you sow them outdoors just before the coldest part of the year.