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How to Grow Red Field Poppies

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Red field poppies are easy to grow and if you are wondering how, just read on.

Red field poppies got their name from the poppy fields of France and continental Europe where they self-seeded freely among other crops.

They are seldom seen nowadays due to the widespread use of herbicides and weedkillers.

Organic farmers, however, are seeing the return of red field poppies where they happily intermingle with crops and cause no problems or damage to the chosen crop, as well as look aesthetically pleasing.

It is the red poppy fields at both France and Flanders that gave the British Commonwealth the red poppy symbol, used to remember those who died in the trenches during the First World War.

Red field poppies are also known as papaver rhoeas, corn poppies, Flanders poppies, Rose poppy, Headache Flower, Canker flower, Copper Rose, Red Weed or Redfield.

Click Here for Red Field Poppy Seeds at Amazon UK

red field poppies

red field poppies

Red Field Poppy Seeds at Amazon

Winter Planting of Poppy Seeds

If you really want to introduce red field poppies into your garden, please do remember that they self-seed very easily and will grow year and year, and not always where you want them to grow.

Poppies like all the sunshine that is going, so choose a spot that is sunny.

If you live in a hot, sunny climate, choose a spot that offers some protection from the sun when it is at its hottest during the day.

Make sure the ground is free-draining where you plant your corn poppy seeds, as poppies hate to be water-logged and will rot very quickly.

Poppy seeds can easily survive frost, so you can safely plant them in the winter.

  • Prepare the ground by turning it over, and removing weeds and big stones.
  • Rake over the surface to make sure the soil is well broken up and friable.
  • Water well, and leave to half-dry off, if it hasn't rained recently.
  • Take your seeds and mix well with sand. Poppy seeds are tiny, and if you mix them with sand you will find it easier to spread them evenly.
  • Gently rake them in.

In the spring as the weather warms up, you should be rewarded with seeing lots of little poppy plants appearing through the ground.

It is a good idea to thin poppy seedlings that are too close together. Those at the back which do not get the sunlight, will always be smaller and more stunted.

Thin out your seedling poppies when the are about 2" high, to about 6" apart.

red poppy fields

red poppy fields

Spring Planting of Poppy Seeds

If your ground is covered with snow all winter, do not scatter your poppy seeds because when the snow melts, you will find your red field poppies growing in a completely different place. They are small and light enough to be carried away by melting snow and ice.

Wait instead until spring to plant your corn poppy seeds. While poppy seeds can be safely left on the surface of the earth in winter, by spring the warmer weather brings birds and tother predators which will enjoy eating your poppy seeds.

If you plant in spring, follow the same steps as shown above, only rake then in well so that the seeds are protected from the birds.

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Take care not to plant them too deeply, else they will not germinate. They need the sunlight to germinate.

field of red poppies

field of red poppies

Growing on your Red Field Poppies

Keep your poppy plants well-watered in hot, dry weather, and keep the area around them weed-free as best you can.

It is a good idea to apply a mulch of perhaps bark clippings or grass cuttings around the plants to inhibit the growth of weeds, while keep moisture locked into the soil.

To prolong the corn poppy flowers, you can dead-head them as they fade. This encourages the production of new flowers, which extends the display.

Red field poppies are annuals, and by dead-heading them you are preventing the production of seed for next year. If you want your whole garden turned into a field of red poppies, leave the flowers to go to seed.

Even if you dead head, it is a good idea to leave one or two poppy flowers to develop seeds, so that you can collect them for next year's display.

Simply cut the seed heads off when it turns brown, pop into a paper bag, and keep in a cool place, perhaps an outdoor shed, until you are ready to plant again.

Your red field poppies will die down at the first frosts.

Red Field Poppies and Flanders Fields Remembrance Video


IzzyM (author) from UK on November 29, 2011:

Thanks Kiara :)

Kiara Dearest on November 29, 2011:

oh that's good to here. Izzym I will be following you always.

Raymond D Choiniere from USA on November 29, 2011:

Hey Izzy, great hub and awesome pictures to go along with it. Unfortunately, I've no place to plant any, unless the city wants to grant me the power to plant them in the city park. LOL! Not likely to happen though. But, thank you for an informative hub on planting Red Field Poppies. :) At least I learned something new. LOL! :)

Paula from The Midwest, USA on November 29, 2011:

I love these kinds of flowers, and hope to grow them soon in my garden! I get confused by the differences between the oriental poppy and the others. I am very clear on the California poppy as that is where I am from. These types here are just especially beautiful to me, and I can't wait to grow them myself. Thanks for sharing this Izzy. :)

IzzyM (author) from UK on November 29, 2011:

Kiara there are a lot of gardening experts here on HP. I myself have many hubs about growing all different kinds of plants.

Kiara Dearest on November 29, 2011:

Oh great, you have cool hubs and it's very informative. Interesting!

Expert Gardener on November 29, 2011:

If you get a chance try to visit my hubs. I have lots of hubs/articles to cater your plans.

Kiara Dearest on November 29, 2011:

Who is expert here in gardening? I plan to grow flowers. Please give ideas like IzzyM here.

IzzyM (author) from UK on November 29, 2011:

I struggle to grow them here too as the climate is subtropical and far to hot and dry for them. plus the tap water is chlorinated, which poppies hate. They grow well in the UK though.

Joyce Haragsim from Southern Nevada on November 29, 2011:

I'll have to let my sister about your hub because she loves poppies in England. Here in Nevada I dodn't get enough shade for them to grow well.

moonlake from America on November 29, 2011:

I have tried to grow poppies but they never make more than the first year.

Good Hub.

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