Poppies are beautiful in any garden bed, but poppy flowers in a pot make a stunning display on a porch or balcony. Potted poppy plants are simple to grow and easy to care for. Read on to learn more about container care for poppies.
Planting Poppies in Containers
It is not difficult to grow poppies in containers as long as you plant them in the correct sized pot, use quality soil, and give them adequate light and water. Ask your local nursery to help you choose the variety of poppies you want. You can choose by color, height, and type of bloom – single, double or semi-double.
Any medium-sized container is perfect as long as it has never contained chemicals or other toxic materials. The container needs drainage holes to prevent the plant from standing in waterlogged soil. You can also attach casters to the bottom if you want to be able to easily move your container grown poppies.
These plants like humus-rich, loamy soil. You can create a favorable soil blend for poppy flowers in a pot by amending regular potting soil with some compost. Fill the container to 1 ½ inches (4 cm.) from the top with the humus-rich potting soil.
Sow poppy seeds directly on top of the soil. These seeds need light to germinate so there is no need to cover them with soil. Gently water in the seeds, taking care to avoid washing them to the sides of the container. Keep soil moist until germination occurs. Carefully thin seedlings once the plants reach 5 inches (13 cm.) to about 4 to 6 inches (10-15 cm.) apart.
Container grown poppies should be placed where they will receive full sun for six to eight hours a day. Provide afternoon shade if you live in a region that experiences extreme heat.
How to Care for Potted Poppy Plants
Container plants require more frequent watering than those planted in a garden bed due to increased evaporation. Potted poppy plants will not do well in waterlogged soil but they also shouldn’t be allowed to dry out. Water potted poppies every other day during the growing season to prevent them from drying out. Allow the top inch (2.5 cm.) or so of soil to dry out before watering again.
If desired, you can fertilize poppies every two weeks during their first growing season with an all-purpose fertilizer or compost tea. After their first year, fertilize at the beginning and end of each growing season.
To enjoy continuous blooms, deadhead them regularly, as pinching off old flowers encourages the plant to produce more.
Follow these guidelines and enjoy container grown poppies for years to come.