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Poppies didn't come up, what did I do wrong?

Posted by SnailLover 5a MI (My Page) on
Fri, Jun 20, 14 at 11:13

Last fall, a co-worker gave me some poppy pods from his garden. He didn't know what kind, just said they were red. I stored them in the garage all winter in an open bowl, kinda forgot about them. The mice kicked them around all winter but I still had lots of seeds left. I read up on how to plant them, mixed the seeds with some sand and sprinkled in a tilled and sunny location and watered daily. That was 3 weeks ago and nothing is coming up. It's not a huge loss but I'm wondering what I did wrong? I'd still like to plant some poppies in this location.

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RE: Poppies didn't come up, what did I do wrong?

  • Posted by dbarron Z6/7 (Oklahoma) (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 20, 14 at 11:36

The proper planting time for my zone at least, is mid to late fall for most poppies.

The seeds may also have well dried out and died being exposed all winter, vs stored in air tight container and possibly frozen (that's what I do to maintain viability).

RE: Poppies didn't come up, what did I do wrong?

Best to store them in a zip lock in the refrigerator so they don't dry out. I plant them every Jan. in milk jugs with the Winter Sowing method and they germinate every year.

RE: Poppies didn't come up, what did I do wrong?

Thanks! I will try the winter sowing method next time.

RE: Poppies didn't come up, what did I do wrong?

i default.. to planting them.. WHEN THE PLANT IS DROPPING THEM ...

not to say you cant take them and move them.. but your first mistake.. was just not planting them ...

dont know where you are in z5 ... but this winter.. with 30 days in a row below zero... may not have been the right temps... not to mention.. the garage thawed on warm sunny winter days ... etc.. its the wild temp swings that might be a problem ...

i would be all that surprised.. if they dont show up next spring ...

it would also matter.. what kind of poppy they were ... annual or perennial ...

vermin didnt help either


RE: Poppies didn't come up, what did I do wrong?

Like lettuce, they will not germinate at temps over 70F....but they will likely remain dormant in/on your soil until autumn. Did you cover them when you sowed them? They won't germinate without light either. If you did cover them, you could gently rake the soil around - it might expose the seeds to light when they will hasten to grow - such is the reason for the historic symbol of poppies as a signifier of WW1 - as trenches were dug, the reservoir of seeds in the soil were exposed to sunlight and germinated and bloomed in a season - often covering entire fields in solid red blooms.

RE: Poppies didn't come up, what did I do wrong?

Good to know they could still come up. I assume they were perennials because my co-worker said he had a field of them. I did lightly sprinkle some soil over the seeds, just a dusting. I'll run a rake over the area and see what happens. Good info, thanks!

RE: Poppies didn't come up, what did I do wrong?

Having a field of them may simply mean they are reseeding annuals. I grow Papaver rhoeas, annuals, because they reseed so thoroughly and last so long, and then you just pull them. None of the fuss that you get with the perennial kind of ugly, dying foliage after the short bloom. But I certainly don't let all of them go to seed, that would be a solid field.

RE: Poppies didn't come up, what did I do wrong?

My guess, is that the seeds of many, may have died, in the garage, over winter, from repeatedly freezing & thawing, along with high humidity, & along the lines that Ken mentioned above, with mice. Had they been sown in autumn, they would have likely germinated, or if it were too late & too cold, been protected from the cover of snow & germinated as early as they could, in springtime.
Also, someone mentioned dormancy & that happens if sown, after the flowers of the same, are already in bloom, in your area, after is too warm, continuously...
Once June starts, some say it is already the start of summer weather & do not go according to the date of the solstice... & if your temps were just a bit too high enough, they may well haye actually germinated, but died to either heat exposure, or due to inadequate constant moisture at time of germination, if they were viable. But whatever didn't survive, through all that, the remainder may just might sprout when it's, cool enough in autumn.
Cool enough spring/fall temperatures & nearly constant adequate moisture after sowing, are probably the two most important factors, when you are certain, the seeds are good, other than fairly well draining soil & adequate sun exposure.

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