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prunella_gw

Shirley poppies

17 years ago

Hi everyone,

I'm new to the Garden Web and I've really been enjoying it so far. I've found lots of things that have revived my interest in gardening, winter sowing (now I can't wait for winter and seed catalogs!), hypertufa troughs, and other people that love/hate gardening just like me.

Once upon a time my husband and I rented a place and the lady that owned it grew Shirley poppies and they reseeded themselves every year. We've moved a few times since then and I've tried growing them from seed, but so far no luck. I've scattered the seed in the fall thinking something would come up in the spring, I've tried growing them in flats, and I've tried direct sowing in the spring. Still nothing. What am I doing wrong? Any tips or tricks? I know they grow around here, a lady down the street from me has them.

Prunella

Comments (15)

  • 17 years ago

    Thanks for the welcome Char. I can't believe that it's that hard considering they reseeded themselves where I used to live. The landlady wasn't one to fuss with her garden either, so I don't think she froze the seed or anything. I've scattered seed in my garden once again, maybe THIS will be the year they grow!

  • 17 years ago

    I grow a variety called 'Lauren's Grape' and all I do is spread them in the fall wherever I want them. Poppies usually aren't too fussy.

    tj

  • 17 years ago

    TJ,

    I Googled 'Lauren's Grape', they're beautiful. They're also Papaver somniferum whereas the ones I'm trying to grow are Papaver rhoeas. I wonder if that makes a difference? Maybe I'll get some 'Lauren's Grape' seed and sprinkle it out this fall. I wouldn't mind having them in my garden.

  • 17 years ago

    Prunella- email me, I'll have plenty this fall.

    tj

  • 17 years ago

    My Shirley poppies reseed themselves every year. Whether the seed that germinates is from the fall before, or from a prior season, I can't say. The seedlings do seem to emerge rather late, for what I would expect for poppies. Other plants that reseed in the same bed and come up way before the Shirleys are two species of Nigella, bachelor buttons and milk thistle - and of course, weeds. Might you not be leaving the soil untouched long enough in the spring?

  • 17 years ago

    Leftwood, I just scattered some Shirley poppy seeds and California poppy seeds last Thursday. Neither one is coming up as of yet. Maybe I left it too late. Will they germinate even if they haven't gone through the cold? After the rain we had last night and today I have my fingers crossed. Some of the other seeds I planted are up now, but they went in earlier. Watering from a hose just isn't the same to a plant as rain water! I haven't disturbed the soil since I scattered the poppy seeds so we'll see what happens this time.
    Tsugajunkie, how do I e-mail you? I don't have your address?

  • 17 years ago

    Actually, I have never had any luck direct sowing in spring. They came up as a surprise the following season. I assumed I hadn't planted early enough in the spring, but I have since tried much earlier too, with no success.

    I haven't disturbed the soil since I scattered the poppy seeds so we'll see what happens this time.

    Not sure if I was understood: I meant had you disturbed the soil since your sowing last fall.

    I so agree with you about natural rainfall vs. watering. Often I will be watering, trying to get seed to germinate in the beds, but nothing really happens until mother nature's rain.

  • 17 years ago

    Leftwood, I didn't plant any seeds last fall. I've done it previous years, but had no luck. So this year when I found the seeds at the store, I thought I'd try scattering them now and see if I have better luck. There is something popping up after that rain we had, but I have to wait for the secondary leaves before I know what it is.

  • 17 years ago

    Hello all!
    After trying for 2 yrs I could'nt get poppies to grow either.Then I came across seeds the stores where selling dirt cheap"july>so I figured I'd give it another try.This time I worked the seed bed.spread seeds on surfaceof soil watered well then covered with plastic window screen.I kept it watered so the surface remained moist and two weeks later I had more poppies then I thought possible.
    Since then when I collect seed from my poppies " when the seed pod dries and plants start drying up>I spread seed on ground cover w/screen"I think the birds ate allot of seed when I left it uncovered> and water to keep ground moist.
    also I think poppies may need sun to aid germanation.

    Poppies started this way are quit large by the following spring and I get some blooms the first year.

    Good luck!

  • 17 years ago

    Prunella- To send me an email just click on "My Page" above and there will be a button to send me a email.

    tj

  • 16 years ago

    Prunella- Did you get my email?

  • 16 years ago

    I came to Garden Web thismorning to look for info about Shirley Poppies. This is my experience with them so far....
    last fall I sprinkled Shirley Poppy seed around my flower beds in November....it was already quite cold. This spring I was disappointed to find no poppies coming up when other things began to show. Finally quite late in the spring I recognized the leaves coming in just a few places. I may have destroyed some of them as weeds before I realized what they were.
    When I finally found a few starting togrow I protected them with some mesh for awile so they didn't get munched and so I didn't damage them by mistake.
    I ended up with just three plants this year. But they have been blooming since late June. At this time the stems and leaves are beginning to look exhausted but the blossoms keep coming. I have been deadheading them as soon as the petals fall off because I assume this keeps them making more flowers.
    I see you mention that you have plenty of seed. So I guess you are growing them this summer. Do you deadhead them or always let them form seed? Do they comeback each year or do you put out new seed each year? Will they keep blooming if I let the seeds form completely onthe plants?
    I was planning to just buy fresh seed and sprinkle again this fall. I hope I get many more plants because I just love them bobbing about here and there. They're so cheerful :)
    According to an online seed catalog they should be sown in fall because the seed needs the cold winter to germinate. Also sow the seed without covering it because it needs sun to germinate.
    In the past I had not much luck and I think either the seed washed away when I water plants or maybe birds eat it. The seed is very very fine so I mixed it in a salt shaker with dry sand from the beach to make it easier to disperse.

  • 12 years ago

    Mine came up last year, just a few, from seeding I did 2-3 years before; this year, there were many many more, and more different variants, so I think they are still coming up from the original seed sown way back when. If you keep them growing in the same area, it doesn't matter how long they take to sprout because there will always be some, but clearly they can take their time showing up. I would try sprinkling a lot of seed around the time that they would seed themselves, which is starting now through the end of July for the ones blooming in my garden. I often have found that plants I had trouble growing from seed would grow if planted around the time the plants themselves start dropping seeds. Mine are such a joy this year that everyone is exclaiming over them! I am putting out some more seed because I haven't yet seen any of the lavendar ones, which were supposed to be included in the original seeds. I have pale orange, several gorgeous different tones of red, piccotee and not, but no pinks or lavendars. They do make a statement! Good luck.

  • 8 years ago

    About 6-7 years ago, I sprinkled S. poppy seeds, mixed with fine sand, in my garden in mid Fall and firmly patted the ground where I'd put them. And definitely did this on a still day. I did probably pick up some, but after my hands got dirty, I figured enough seeds would remain. and I was right: the border was wonderful! It was right beside the sidewalk and had many folks stop to ask about them. Ever since, they're re-seeded themselves and all they need is a thinning (about 8-10 inches apart) and a weed. (When I didn't thin, they got gangly and weak so that was a lesson learned).

    Best of luck, Prunella (4)

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