GROWING AND SAVING THE SEED OF BREADSEED/OPIUM POPPY


Latin name Papaver somniferum is also known as breadseed or opium poppy. The long, slender stems are topped with delicate, papery petals that give way to enlarged seed heads filled with edible blue seeds.


 

HISTORY

The breadseed poppy is most likely native to the eastern Mediterranean. Images of opium poppies have been found in ancient Sumerian artifacts dating to 4000 B.C.


USES

  • Ornamental
  • Pollinator attractor
  • Mature seeds are edible poppy seeds
  • Beds, borders, containers, cottage garden, cut flower garden, cutting garden, wildflower mixes
  • Opium poppies are extremely popular with honeybees. You will often see multiple bees on each bloom at the same time, loading pollen grains onto their sacs.

 

 


 

  • Seeds germinate in 14-21 days.
  • Surface sow seeds and gently press into soil, as light aids in germination.
  • Keep seeds moist until germinated.
  • Ideal germination temperature is 65 F.

 

  • Prefers full sun, moderately rich, loose, well-drained soil.
  • Direct seed in early spring.
  • Space plants 8-12 inches apart.
  • Deadhead spent flowers to encourage continued blooming.

PESTS/SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS

  • Aphids can be a minor problem with this generally pest-free plant.
  • Treat aphids with organic insecticidal soap.

 

  • Mostly self pollinating; however, small flies and honeybees may cross pollinate closely planted varieties.
  • Often self sows, but you can also harvest seeds when capsules turn brown.
  • Save seed over winter in a cool, dark, dry place.