planting poppy seed-I'm a failure!!

Tiffin, OH(Zone 5a)

Several years ago we took a family vacation to the Seattle area (in late July) We stayed in a guest house and the hostess told me to take all I wanted of the seedpods from her gorgeous garden of poppies. I harvested like a mad woman -carefully keeping the colors separated in 35mm film canisters. I brought them back to Ohio, saved them until early spring and planted them in peat pots under lights and on a heat mat. The seed was dry and semed fine but I got NO germination- not one seedling in 144 cells.
What did I do wrong? I never saw such beautiful poppies and I want them in my yard!! Thanks to any and all responders, MWhit

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

It probably wasn't anything you did or didn't do. Since not one seed germinated it would have to be either sterile seed or some other problem.

Louisville, KY

Hi Mwhit;

I am a firm believer in temperatures in the 60s or lower for poppy germination. I Mention this because we have from time to time had discussions as to weather or not to use bottom heat on poppies. Here's my suggestions:

For orientals sow them in a light mixture. put them in a plastic bag and place them under lights in acool area. ( my basement usually is in the 50s or 60s) .

You can winter sow orientals and they do well.

You can do the same for P. naudicale. I have not flowered these yet as they are a bienniel and this is my first year for them. I do have oodles of seedlings though.

I have sown shirley poppies by sowing them on the late winter snow. They will germinate prolifery. They also will volunteer.

P somiferum also germinates at low temperatures. I have winter sown them with huge numbers of seedlings. They become somewhat of an invasive and since they die in the the heat of th summer i no longer grow them and indeed am weeding them out.

Finally there is the blue poppy ( I think meconopsis) which according to reports is very difficult to grow except in Alaska.

Tiffin, OH(Zone 5a)

Thanks, Pirl- I feel less like a failure!

Timeinabottle-(Love the name-one of my favorite Jim Croce songs!) I bought some more poppy seed from EBay -I will try starting under lights,in a light mix with no bottom heat- I hope that is the magic formula I am looking for! will let you all know how it works out!! Thanks! MWhit

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

If your poppies are annuals just sow them on the ground now while its cold. Sow them where you want them to grow,
Oriental or perennial Poppies are different.The seeds need a cold period (as does the annuals) in order to germinate.
Your film canister seeds might not have been ripe enough when you harvested.

Tiffin, OH(Zone 5a)

ge1836: Thanks for the info re: a cold period-will they get enough cold exposure now? I just purchased them this month. The weather has been unseasonably warm so far this spring. As far as the seeds from Seattle-they were dry and rattled in the pods and I didn't have any mold or any other signs of too much moisture when I planted them but since my problems were so all inclusive that is a possibility-I just couldn't resist them -the colors were just heavenly and some of the flowers were huge! I had white, lavender, pink, purple, red, peach -just beautiful!! Thanks again for your insight! MW

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

It might be too late for annual poppies.If the seeds didnt cost too much you could risk planting now.
I sow them on the bare ground in December and March but early.

Turner, OR

Hi, I have been growing all kinds of poppies for years now and I'll tell you just as my mother told me! All you have to do is loosen up the soil and sprinkle the seeds on top! dont do anything fancy it wont help. You should be albe to still get some going if you put outside now! I have also tried to start indoors but it just didnt work out! If you want to try I can send you some seeds to get started!
Marie

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

Good luck and let us know if you get poppies.

Tiffin, OH(Zone 5a)

lljjz: you have Dmail!!
ge1836-I will post pictures if we have poppies!
Thanks again for the expert input!! MWhit

Turner, OR

you are so welcome! And dont worry you will have a ton of poppies for years to come as they reseed themselfs!

Louisville, KY

mwhit please keep us posted. If you have trouble I may have some O pop seedlings to send you. These are ones I started in my basement.

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

I think my DropDead Georgeous poppies are late. Just found a dried skeleton of a pod with a clump of teeeeny hairlike leaves. Some of the new poppies from OneStop havnt germinated.I remain hopeful.

Elmira, NY(Zone 6a)

The heat mat was definitely the problem. If they were P. somniferum, and it sounds like they were, they have decreasing germination above 70F and stop germinating above 80F. They like it 55-65F for germination, much colder than most plants. They should germinate fine without any heat.

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

After all my skeptical talk about sowing annual poppies now. I have just placed an order for more and will sow them as soon as they come.
I want poppies with my lilies and the ones I sowed last fall just arent comming.
This is what I will combine
Hungarian Blue
Giganteum White
Peony Black Pearl

Thumbnail by ge1836
(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

What a gorgeous color harmony collage that is! I hope they germinate and grow for you. I sprinkled all I had left on Saturday with the hopes that our rainy days and cool nights will work miracles.

I've learned now (finally) to clear the spots well in advance of putting down the seeds in February of next year.

Elmira, NY(Zone 6a)

Unless they are some cheap Cal pops or corn pops that I can buy by the pound, I always start poppies as transplants in peat pellets. That way I get excellent germination and know exactly what I have. Plus I can usually divide up the pellet once they have sprouted into at least two groups of plants, often four. I started a bunch of Elka poppies that way this year.

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

I have never had any success starting poppies in pots. I must have too heavy a hand when it comes to transplanting.

Tiffin, OH(Zone 5a)

lljjz-you have mail!
Everyone- Thank you again for all the great advice and friendly input. I wish I could say my eBay seeds are doing well but I would sssooo be lying-they are pitiful!
Is it too late to direct sow the rest of them this year? Should I wait until fall? Could I save some until next year? Do saved seeds need to be refrigerated?
I just hate not being able to get them going! I think it is some wierd rule of nature- we always long for whatever it is we can't have!!
Thanks to all and I will continue to follow this forum and try to learn your secrets!! Melissa

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

There arent many secrets here.
I have started an experiment with annual poppies sown a few days ago.
I am hoping the cold weather we are having this weekend is enough to satisfy the need for a cold period.
Just incase the experiment fails I have kept half the seeds for a fall sowing which has always been successful for me.
When I so I dont scatter toooo broadly.so I can ID the cluster when they germinate.

Louisville, KY

paracelsus.. what are Elka poppies.

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

Just Googled them

Thumbnail by ge1836
Louisville, KY

so they are essentially a o. pop

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

They look like somnifareums to me,but I am not an expert.

Elmira, NY(Zone 6a)

Fedco has them:

http://fedcoseeds.com/seeds/SeedsOrderItem.php?id=5318&SeedName=elka

I grew them last year. They were very beautiful and productive of seeds.

Pocono Mountains, PA(Zone 6a)

My indoor poppy seed sowing was a failure last spring.

Winter sowing was more successful, even with some of the same seeds. Mine are small, hairlike stems with tiny leaves, but I think I will get them in the garden and hope for the best. As a test, I put a tiny clump in the garden a few days ago and it is still there, looking happier than its brethren in the soda bottle. I read that it is best to plant the seedlings while still small and to not disturb the roots.

Patty's Plum oriental poppy seeds from a trade had the best germination rate for me. Hope the seedlings survive.

http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/90465/

Pocono Mountains, PA(Zone 6a)

Forgot to mention, the seeds of patty's plum may not be true to the plant, so I may be in for a surprise. That is alright with me.

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

I never had any luck starting OP's from seed.Some people just have a knack for it.
That includes other plants too.

Louisville, KY

ge you are right they are somniferums...I was thinking opium poppies which are of course somniferums. I am always amazed tht people have trouble growing oriental poppies from seeds. low temps until germination... followed by standard growing techniques. under lights after germination. transplant to individual pots ( not peat pots) after first set of true leaves. grow on under lights. I have just given away a flat of 48 mixed orientals and am taking another 24 pink ones to the next master gtardening meeting.

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

I had no luck with OP's from seed.I buy the plants.I'm over 70 and dont have much patience.

Louisville, KY

I understand that...I will be 70 in a couple of mos.

Judsonia, AR(Zone 7b)

I need to go back and read through this thread completely,

I have alway s failed at germinating poppy seeds by planting them in pots. I gave it up this past winter, or rather in february and threw everyone of the seeds out into the full sun garden and said if they germinate they do.

I litterally have hundreds of poppies out there all over the place, I was thrilled with the success I had at throwing them out LOL

From now on they are direct sowed onto the ground in the cold weather, and I should have success from then on out. ;0)

now i'm going back to read all the other posts LOL

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

Hi kathy-ann
I direct sow because the seeds need a cold period and light to germinate.I make sure they are sown on bare ground not mulch.I sow in November to March here in Z6.
I tried a direct sow in early May when we still had some cold nights but it didnt work.
I only used half of the seeds so I will sow the saved ones in November.

katonah, ny, United States

I am right on the border of zone 5b/6a, in Westchester county, NY. I have tried all of the annual poppies with seeds from reputable seed companies, and nothing seems to come up. Mainly I tried sewing in late fall, to make sure I didn't miss giving them a nice cold period; I tried sewing in spring (late April - early May) and that didn't work either. I tried a lot of papaver rhoeas (spelling is off, I know) and Shirley poppies....nothing grew. Do birds find the seeds? My other thought is that maybe the spring-sewn ones dry out, since the bed is far from the house and I relied mainly on rain for moisture. I love poppies, and would like to make them grow.

Also, my purchased oriental poppies haven't been doing so well. I lot of them seem to rot at the crown shortly after I plant them. (Most of them are purchased online and don't look all that great when they arrive, and just don't improve.)

Any ideas?

Where do you purchase seeds of orientals?

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

I direct sow annuals Somnifariums in November December. I never had luck with Rohas(sp) or Shirlies.
If you make sure the ground is bare( no mulch etc) and scratch it so its rough it works better. I step on the seedsed area ,not stomp just press .The seeds dont need any soil on hem. The winter snow and thaw will take the seed to the depth thy like.
Isow them rather thick and thin them when they germinate in April or early may.
I have never had any luck growing Orientals from seed.

Elmira, NY(Zone 6a)

I have grown rhoeas poppies by first working the soil well so it is not full of heavy clods, smoothing down the surface with a rake, wetting the soil thoroughly, sprinkling the seeds over, and then sprinkling over more soil, usually potting soil because it's easier to handle. Then tamp down with the back of a rake. I do this in the early spring, about the time I would plant peas. No problems with them coming up and flowering, but they did not produce enough subsequent seeds to keep the bed going without reseeding. Annual poppies don't require cold stratification. They do need cool temperatures to grow. They prefer 55-65F for germination.

I grew oriental poppies from seed this year by starting them in peat pellets like I do most of the seeds I grow. I started them 4-6 weeks before the last frost date and had them growing in a cool room under lights. The seedlings are very small. I know they do spread hugely from plants in the ground, but I think that is due to massive amounts of seed being shed and that's not an efficient way to start them.

I have also grown California poppies by just throwing them out on the snow, but this requires a lot more seed. I wouldn't start a named variety of any seed that way.

Orofino, ID(Zone 6a)

just was looking at this thread & thought I'd throw in my experience....bought a lb of breadseed poppy mix from our food co-op for $3.70, mixed it with sand and datura seeds and used a fertilizer whirly spreader thingee to sow in November and I've got seedlings everywhere....the poppies aren't the most spectacular in color but they give a nice lift to areas I needed to cover and the best part of it was that it was cheap!

Thumbnail by Depsi
Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

That is a really clever idea.
I had heard bread seed poppies werent too great.They do look nice in that planting.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Excellent idea and it looks great.

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

Hi Pirl.

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