Can I grow poppies?

It’s poppy season down in my native land, and I’m seeing lots of photos. I thought I might try to grow some here in Rainland. I have some seeds that I got a couple of years ago. I’ve got seeds for California poppies (orange), some white ones, and I think some white-and-purple ones. The California poppies I knew back in the day, grew in the desert. The soil was sandy. Poppies are worn in England and Europe for Remembrance Day. I’m only guessing, but I presume the soil there is not dry and sandy. It seems to me that the conditions in the Middle East where they grow are dry and sandy, and Winters are cold and snowy.

Here in the PNW the weather is often wet, it often snows in Winter, Summers are glorious. The soil in the yard is rather dry under the grass. I actually have some exposed soil (where the trailer used to be) that I could easily put into a pot. Other than that, I have potting soil.

So: If I get some pie tins and pot dirt or potting soil, and sprinkle some seeds in them, will they grow? How about transplanting into pots or flower boxes? Will they survive in this climate? Can they withstand a week or two of snow?

Papaver somniferum grows like literal weeds all over Seattle–I could speculate how THAT got started but yeah, poppies grow just fine in the PNW. If there’s a lot of clay in your soil adding some sand would definitely help them along and they handle our hottish, dryish summers just fine. Proof.

Mom planted them one year, they always came back. They grow just fine in PacNW.

There’s a whole bunch of poppy species, which have different requirements, but yeah, some should do fine where you are. Only issue is you’re a bit late for sowing them for this year; the field poppy (the remembrance day one- though I will note the ones normally worn in the UK are paper and plastic, so sadly won’t grow well in your area) and the opium poppy (also known as the breadseed poppy if you don’t want your neighbours to freak out) both do best sown in Autumn or maybe early spring, as chilling them helps break seed dormancy.

You could give it a shot anyway, seeds’re dirt cheap, but they might not germinate or flower well, and as they’re annual (mostly- I’ve had opium poppies last two years) they only get the one summer regardless of what your winters are like.

I guess I can just see what happens. I think I read (here?) a while back that seeds should be planted in Autumn or Winter. But it’s freezing then, and I thought it might be too cold.

Seeds lie dormant until it’s warm enough to germinate and as already mentioned, a lot of species rather prefer the seeds go through a cold winter to help them germinate in spring. Winters in Pakistan and Afghanistan can be bitter but the poppies come right back in spring, all ready to be made into lovely heroin to fuel our opioid crisis!

What about California poppies? It does get below freezing in the desert – sometimes well below freezing – but it doesn’t seem to last long.

We had shit tons of California poppies growing along the side of my house on Capitol Hill in Seattle. We did not plant them and I did not particularly want them there, but they always came back and in greater numbers.

California poppies are very well adapted to life on the Left Coast–just look at the super blooms California is having now that they’ve had some rain. Probably a lot of the seeds in the soil that are now thriving plants were just laying around for a few years waiting for better conditions to do their thing. Nature is profligate and adaptable and the mild climate of the PNW is conducive to sustaining a very wide range of plant life.

You should be able to grow them wherever you are, just pick some that are meant to grow in your area. I’ve seen them growing wild in Belgium. They reseeded themselves and regrew every year in my mom’s garden in Ohio. The highway department here in NC seeded some along the highways and they reliably come up and bloom every year. One of the people I work with had them in her garden in New Hampshire.

An article about poppies in Seattle.

Re the OP and Remembrance Day poppies: a species of poppies grows well in Flanders, particularly in freshly turned earth. That’s the origin of the Remembrance Day poppy:

“In Flanders fields,
The poppies grow
Between the crosses,
Row on row,
That mark our place.”

Can you grow poppies? Obviously yes, but the pertinent question is MAY you grow poppies. In Seattleland I think the answer is, “Sure, man, as long as you share.”

One of my favorite sights here in the Puget Sound area is California poppies growing randomly along roadsides and sidewalks. I always remember back when I was a little kid asking my mother what they were. Other easy-to-grow poppies here are the colorful Shirley and Iceland poppies.

Since your seeds are a couple of years old, I’d be worried if they’re still viable. You might want to visit your local nursery and find some that are already sprouted for this season. They’re pretty darn cheap.

People used to grow poppies in community gardens at UBC.
It was a bit of a shocker to arrive at my plot one day to see people had slashed the unripe pods for harvesting opium.

Well, you’re close enough to the Emerald City that it could be worth a try.

On the whole though, it would be a lot less trouble to just go down to Payless and BUY a new pair of red shoes. Especially when you don’t even know if that other pair will fit.

One thing you might want to think about before you start planting poppies is that once you have them
they are hard to eliminate. If you decide some years latter that you don’t want poppies they can be very
difficult to kill off completely.

Regarding P. somniferum, remember that Afghanistan certainly has cold winters, and that country was (still is?) a major producer of illicit opium.

'Strictly speaking it’s illegal in the U.S. to grow opium poppies, but unless you start selling opium from your back door I don’t think any law enforcement agency really cares.

Nope, it’s legal to grow them and you can order the dried pods by the pound from florist supply companies. The only thing you’re not allowed to do is to harvest the latex. I mean, get some of those dried pods and make some tea–use plenty of honey, just saying. Then let us know what you thought about it in about, oh, six hours. thumbsup

Well, the seeds I saved from the jalapeños I grew last year didn’t germinate; so yesterday I dumped a bunch of California poppy seeds in the pot. I haven’t seen them sprout yet.