Poppies and Sweet Peas

What are some good poppies to plant in our area? Where can I get poppy seeds? When is the best time to plant sweet peas outside?

- Nancy S.

Below is an excerpt from this article that addresses the types of annual poppies we grow and when to plant them and sweet peas. You may find seed packages of poppies and sweet peas at your local nurseries. You may also order seeds from mail order seed companies, such as Select Seeds, Parks Seeds, Burpee Seeds, Thompson and Morgan Seeds and others. There is still time to order the seeds and get them planted by November.

A few of our nicest cool season bedding plants are best planted using seeds in October and November and don’t bloom until spring. You cannot wait until spring to plant seeds of these plants and expect a good display of flowers. They need the winter growing season to produce strong, robust plants that will produce an outstanding display of blooms in spring.

Most of these plants resent transplanting and are best direct seeded right where they are to grow. Plant the seeds in well prepared soil at the depth recommended on the package (smaller seeds are simply scattered over the area and pressed in). Once the seeds come up, be sure to thin the seedlings to the appropriate spacing. If you allow the plants to grow too crowded you will be disappointed with the results.

The foliage of these plants is hardy and will not be bothered by winter freezes. Growth will be relatively slow through the winter, and then pick up as the weather warms in February. By March, these plants will come into bloom and bloom until late April or early May.

This category includes all of the annual poppies, including Shirley poppy (Papaver rhoeas), Iceland poppy (P. nudicaule), California poppy (Eschscholzia californica) and peony-flowered poppy (P. somniferum). Sweet peas also fall in this category. Plant seeds in October or November of this beautiful and outstandingly fragrant spring flowering vine. Also in this group are bachelor’s buttons (or cornflower), annual phlox and larkspur. All of these plants will commonly self-seed, and you may see new seedlings show up each fall in areas where they grew the year before.

Dan Gill
Consumer Horticulture Specialist

10/24/2015 5:31:30 AM
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