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Hello - have driven past some stunning red fields full of poppies recently and was wondering, are these planted for a particular purpose, or are they self seeded?  Absolutely beautiful to look at and was curious as to how / why they are there.  Anyone know? 


Poppy seeds are viable for hundreds of years i understand, when the land is cultivated they germinate.

I saw an amazing field-full of red poppies in Norfolk last week!  There's a connection between Little Ann's post and the fact that our national flower emblem for remembering those who died fighting for their country during world wars is a red poppy. I believe it's because those fields in France which had been devastated by the WW1 trenches were covered in red poppies in later years - the trenches etc disturbed land which had been uncultivated previously, and the poppy seeds had been thrown up by the digging.


Inorganic farmers spray to kill off weeds (poppies etc ) in their wheat crop.

Organic farmers don't. so they end up with a lot of red poppies there, and they have to sort the seed more. Thats why organic stuff is more expensive.

Woodgreen wonderboy

FB, yields are also lower and the customer prefers to pay more!!


Gardening Grandma

I presume some are cultivated for poppy seeds, too? I love these in bread and cakes.

flowering rose

poppies will grow in perfusion in any field that is not sprayed with insecticide.They look wonderful.

I heard on GQT (I think...) that many people  - not sure who - are planning to sow lots of poppy fields in remembrance of 1914 next year. I think it is a good idea and will try something in my plot.


I sowed a packet of wild flower seeds in a trough in my garden in spring and now have lots of lovely red poppies.  I've tried sowing small patches of wild flowers as a mini flower meadow before but it never worked very well.  The trough is much better and has pride of place on my path.

Outdoor girl wrote (see)

I heard on GQT (I think...) that many people  - not sure who - are planning to sow lots of poppy fields in remembrance of 1914 next year. I think it is a good idea and will try something in my plot.

Great idea. Might do the same myself. Do they need to be sown in autumn so they receive the winter chill for them to germinate?

I don't think they really need winter cold for germination - it's light they seem to need more than anything, hence the "sudden" appearance of poppies in France after WW1.  In any case, imagine what happens when they're left alone:  the pods develop those little openings around the crown of the seedhead and the seeds themselves are scattered when the wind shakes the dead stems.  The seeds fall on the ground and aren't covered over.

I sowed 10 grms seeds of black poppy. i like gardening very much, the flowers of poppy plants are good looking and in red of color.

Jim Macd

'Black poppy seeds' the kind you get on bread are opium poppy, Papaver somniferum, the wild kind you get in fields are Papaver rhoeas or/and Papaver dubium the seeds will last about 60 years in the ground, they don't need winter chilling and will germinate when the conditions are right which is usually any time of year if on disturbed soil. The seeds from Papaver rhoeas aren't usually used for baking since they're so small. The rest of the plant is not edible. By the way, Opium poppies, the kind you put on bread, are normally purple, or at least if you sow a box of seeds you bought for backing they will be purple. You can, of course, buy them in all kinds of colours from a seed merchant.


Thanks. So if I want teaditional red poppies for next year then do I have to sow the seeds this year or next?



Hi LF, Some of my best poppies have been the ones that self seeded and germinated in late summer and grew slowly til next spring then had lots of flowers in the following summer. Or you can sow them in spring. as Jim said, it's exposure to light not cold that they need

Jim Macd

 You can sow in Spring or Autumn, the ones sown in Autumn will flower earlier and will probably be bigger than the spring ones. You could so at both times to get a succession but they go brown quite quickly so only do that if you don’t mind a few brown ones. So decide when you want the best show and when you want to clear them away.


Thanks. I will try and prepare the area (currently poor lawn) and get some seeds sown.


I'm going to sow opium poppies this autumn.  I have laready put in a ladybird poppy into my wildflower front garden and fingers crossed it will self seed all over the garden.  

There is a plant that produces little yellow flowers that is really good at removing/weakening grass so that you can sow wildflowers.  Can't for the life of me remember its name though.


Yellow Rattle, it really works. I'm thinking of restricting it a bit so I don't lose all the best grasses