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Poppies: Sowing Poppie seeds that need the dark

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pepsidrinker
La Salle, MI
(Zone 5b)

February 16, 2008
2:53 PM

Post #4545682

Hi, if this has been asked b4, sorry but I just don't have time to read all these threads in search of my answer.

I have a few different poppie seeds that say that they need the dark, I am really new to these, can someone please tell me how to sow these.

Thanks Connie
mudpiegirl
Los Lunas, NM

February 17, 2008
3:04 AM

Post #4548752

What I have done is put the flat on a shelf of my linen closet. The trick is that once they're up they do need light, and they get spindly really quick. The first time I tried this my seeds came up a couple days before the projected germination time, and by then it was too late--I had to start all over!

If you were trying this with direct seeding, you might try using some of that black, porous weed fabric as a temporary cover, but I've never tried that--anyone?

Good luck!
3gardeners
Mableton, GA
(Zone 7a)

February 17, 2008
3:15 AM

Post #4548785

What "natural" process is this mimicking? Where would they sow in the dark and then suddenly have light as they sprouted? Nature is weird sometimes. :)
glendalekid
Tuscaloosa, AL
(Zone 7b)

February 17, 2008
8:30 AM

Post #4549392

3gardeners,

That's my question, too. Heat, light or cold, I understand -- but darkness? Did I not read on the WS Forum that people are using that method for poppies? If I am remembering that right, where would darkness come into play with WS? Cloudy, overcast days wouldn't be the same as dark.

Karen

wrightie
Metro DC, MD
(Zone 7a)

February 17, 2008
6:27 PM

Post #4550817

Wouldn't a layer of snow cause darkness?
glendalekid
Tuscaloosa, AL
(Zone 7b)

February 17, 2008
9:01 PM

Post #4551358

I don't think so. I've seen photos of the inside of "snow caves", and the light is shining through the snow. If they were winter sown in milk jugs and the snow only covered the tops of the jugs, you would have light, too.

Karen
wrightie
Metro DC, MD
(Zone 7a)

February 18, 2008
1:20 AM

Post #4552406

Yep, but I figure that if the seeds are direct sown in the ground (mimicking mother nature, not in WS jugs) and the snow is on the ground, unlike with a snow cave, then it ought to be dark at ground level, no?
timeinabottle
Louisville, KY

February 18, 2008
1:24 AM

Post #4552423

This is an interesting question. The directions for sowing seeds at stoke seeds for oriental poppies said sow with heat and in dark. Swallowtail seeds said germinate in light at 65 -75 degrees which is somewhat cool. I tried both ways . The results were that the seeds that were sown in the dark had lower germination rates but produced much more vigorous seedlings. They are 2 to three times bigger than the ones that were sown with light and lower temps.
The ones I germianted in the dark were started in a plastic food container ( with seed mix of course) and then cover over with a black plastic bag that was taped to prevent any light coming in. BTW I have no trouble transplanting poppies. I prick the seedlings out and move thme into pots and from the pots I plant them into the garden.
mudpiegirl
Los Lunas, NM

February 18, 2008
1:34 AM

Post #4552503

I agree with timeinabottle-- I have never had a problem with transplanting poppies either-- I use this method for the ones I either want to put in a specific place, want to make sure actually germiniate, or want to put in containers. I usually don't bother with the dark thing unless the packet says to do it, which is rare. What kind of poppies are you looking at growing?
wrightie
Metro DC, MD
(Zone 7a)

February 18, 2008
1:38 AM

Post #4552527

So far, I've had good luck with direct sowing most poppies a couple weeks before the last frost date.

The type that has given me the most trouble are the meconopsis, but I'm playing around with WS one batch of them and direct sowing a second batch ... time will tell and fingers are crossed!
glendalekid
Tuscaloosa, AL
(Zone 7b)

February 18, 2008
3:12 AM

Post #4553099

Very interesting. I don't understand the "dark" thing, but if it works -- it works. That's really good enough. But from what I'm reading here, it may depend on the type of poppies. I've got several kinds that I want to try this year, so chime in with your experiences -- dark or light. LOL.

Karen

mudpiegirl
Los Lunas, NM

February 18, 2008
10:18 PM

Post #4556820

I have had terrible trouble with the menconopsis, too-- after several tries I only got one to come up, and it petered out before I even got it into the ground. I wonder if it's more than just a light thing?
wrightie
Metro DC, MD
(Zone 7a)

February 18, 2008
11:01 PM

Post #4556998

They (meconopsis) need colder climates -- the heat and humidity here in MD is probably asking too much, but I'm going to keep trying. Nothing like a challenge! :)
paracelsus
Elmira, NY
(Zone 6a)

February 19, 2008
8:20 PM

Post #4560797

I've grown various poppies and have not used any darkness to germinate them. I've never heard of such a thing. In fact, once I put a tray of them in the refrigerator to see what would happen to them in there, and they did nothing for three weeks, then came up like mad when I took them out. Maybe what was meant was that the seeds not be set out in direct sunlight. They should have indirect light. I have had Meconopsis germinate by sowing them in peat pellets and then setting them outside in full shade in early spring. Keeping them going is another matter. I'm trying it again this year; this time they are in pellets under grow lights in my basement, which is about 55-60F.
timeinabottle
Louisville, KY

February 22, 2008
12:23 AM

Post #4570273

When a commercial grower discusses darkness they mean total darkness. For example Chrysanthemums in a twon near here did not bloom on schedule because of football field lights two blocks away from them.
dahlianut
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3a)

February 28, 2008
11:00 PM

Post #4602288

I just put a towel as a lid when the seed requires darkness to germinate. Easy to check and remove when it germinates. I like this guide for perennials. It recommends dark for many of the papaver in the annual database. Interesting. I never looked up poppies before. I just direct sow (mixed with sand and sprinkled on top of soil) in fall and early spring.

http://tomclothier.hort.net/
timeinabottle
Louisville, KY

February 28, 2008
11:09 PM

Post #4602307

That is a great website

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Other Poppies Threads you might be interested in:

SubjectThread StarterRepliesLast Post
Poppy reference sources (and pictures too) balvenie 29 Oct 7, 2009 11:38 PM
Oriental poppies - seed or root stock? ghia_girl 15 Jun 22, 2010 12:12 AM
Starting to grow mrpoppy 3 Mar 6, 2007 12:46 AM
Meconopsis from seed picante 42 Oct 12, 2008 7:15 PM
7b-ers who are going to sow soon sublimaze1 7 Mar 9, 2007 7:36 PM


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