Opium poppy is an easily grown garden ornamental. It is an annual,
happy growing anywhere sunny outside. Poppies have brilliantly coloured flowers in all shades of pink, red, lilac, purple or white.
Grows outside throughout the British Isles.
Sow small pinches of seed where you want the plants to grow, during March-April outside, about 15cm apart.
You can also sow in late August to September.The seedlings which emerge from this sowing will flower better and earlier in the (following) summer than spring-sown plants.
Poppies need a well-drained sunny site, which is free of weeds. They do not need fertilizer or manure.
When the seedlings have 3 or 4 leaves, pull up some of the plants which are growing very close together, so that the plants will be 10-15cm apart in all directions.
Ripe seedheads are pale in colour, rattle when shaken and have little holes all around their tops, like a pepper-pot. To collect seed, simply take a big envelope with you on a dry day. Turn the seedheads sideways so they are completely inside the envelope, and shake well. Some of this seed can be saved for next year, although you may find you don't need to sow any more: poppies are extremely good at sowing themselves without help!
Most seed companies stock opium poppy seed. Poppy seeds sold for cooking usually come up if you sow them, although they may not have such attractive coloured flowers.
Ornamental cultivation of opium poppy is illegal in some countries, including the United States. Cultivation as an ornamental garden plant is legal in the United Kingdom.