Propagating Poppy Seeds

file9121307018171We have had a late Spring here, which means that some activities that should have been done last month are finding themselves being done now.  One of these activities is collecting seeds to be used next year or to share with others.

The picture above is of a poppy.  The previous owners planted this beautiful flower, which was a surprise to me the first year.  I have come to love seeing the brightly colored poppies every spring.  At first I knew nothing about poppy flowers but decided it was time to learn, especially after a few years when they seemed to decline in numbers.

One of the things I learned was that these flowers are self seeding.  This means that the seeds they drop this year are what creates next year’s flowers.  Last year I missed collecting seeds, so I have made a point to do just that this year.  The middle of the poppy, the black part, is actually a bunch of seeds around a seed head.  Collecting these seeds is pretty easy, just make sure the wind isn’t blowing too hard or else they will all blow out of your hand.

While reading a book on collecting seeds, I was directed to use paper bags or other breathable material so seeds don’t mold.  Makes sense.   Seeds have moisture and when moist things are wrapped in plastic bad things tend to happen.  When I first gathered poppy flower seeds this year I put them in a plastic sandwich bag, left unzipped, on the kitchen counter.  My intent was to add some more seeds relatively quickly, place them in a paper envelope and wait for next winter to plant them.  Yes, I was tempting fate.  When I gathered more yesterday and picked up the bag to add them I saw that it was almost too late – the moisture from the seeds was already creating the beginning stages of mold on a group of seeds.  Since it wasn’t too bad, I decided to keep what I had gathered previously, transfer them to a paper envelope and add the new seeds.  My hope is that the extra air circulation and the dry conditions of the paper will dry out any moisture/mold on the seeds.

I made sure to label the envelope with the seeds that were inside, the date and where I gathered them from.

While learning about how to propagate poppy seeds I also came across a recommendation for easy sowing – spread them over the snow in winter.  What happens then is the snow melts and the seeds come into direct contact with the soil.  This is an important steps for them to sprout in the Spring when the weather is at the right conditions.

I love having flowers in the garden.  I really love it when having flowers in the garden is so easy.  Why make such fun work harder than it needs to be?