When thinking about when to sow annual poppy seeds, remember that timing is everything. Too soon & all may be lost to the overall moisture if not to hungry wild life as small as the seed may be.
Too late & poppies may not bloom until the following year.
So when are annual poppy seeds best sown for best overall germination rate? Depends on climate zone.
Here on the South coast zone 8, February is the best time. Anywhere else will be when a few frosts are still possible or a few weeks before your last frost date.
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How To Plant Poppy Seeds
The top 1.5″ of top soil is raked to a fine tilth. To thin seeds before sowing, mix with sand & broadcast. Depending on bed or area size, firm by hand, with backside of rake or walk over to firm seeds. Good soil to seed contact most important
If wild life could be a problem disrupting seeding, place a piece wire mesh over the area & rock it down. Otherwise the entire area can be fenced to keep out most destructive wild life out but especially the neighbors cat!
Doesn’t have to be deer fence tall & can be temporary, to be removed once seedlings are well established.
Besides possibly some hand thinning, it is sow & forget.
Poppy seedlings that can be seen as too crowded will grow to be small & weak so must be thinned out.
Yes, pricked seedlings during thinning can be transplanted if the utmost care is taken not to disturb the tap root. Space 8-10″ apart.
It is the best bet to sow annual poppy seeds not in the fall but in late Winter, early Spring when some frost is still possible. Remember freshly sown poppy seeds need light to germinate so a soil cover is not required.