How To Collect Poppy Seeds Easily


Once you know how to collect poppy seeds, you will never need to repurchase them.

Poppies are easy flowers to grow. They usually aren’t planted as a cut flower, because the flower petals fall off really easily. However, they are a beautiful addition to your garden.

They also grow really well in zone 2.

Perennial poppies that have been given the opportunity to spread seed will always come back every year.

I got my original seeds from my mom. After flowering, poppies create seed heads. All you need to do is let them dry, and harvest them. You can replant them next year.

Poppies are a favorite in the garden.

Not only are they easy to grow, but they also produce beautiful blooms. Poppies will do well in your wildflower patch, as they self-seed and will grow the next year as well.

Depending on the variety you plant, some poppy seeds are gray or black.

The common name poppy refers to a large number of species in the Papaveroideae family, of which there are more than 12 different types!

The common poppy usually refers to the Flanders poppy, which became a symbol of World War I after this species grew wild on the battlefields.

One familiar poppy is the Oriental poppy.

It is a common feature in the northern gardens and blooms in June and July. There are also Iceland poppies, which is a short-lived poppy, and Himalayan poppies, which are an unusual sky blue hue.

poppies in a field

Opium poppies (Papaver somniferum) have distinct gray-green foliage and produce red, purple, and even white flowers. It is taller than most other varieties and is an exquisitely attractive plant.

The opium poppy is illegal in a lot of states, as these seeds contain the substances to make opium, heroin, morphine, and codeine.

California poppies are another variety that comes from the same family as the opium poppy and carries some of the same benefits.

It has pain-relieving and relaxing qualities but does not contain the same addictive and narcotic traits of the opium poppy.

If you want to grow poppy flowers for the seeds to bake with, make sure you plant opium poppies (Papaver somniferum).

These are also called breadseed poppies.

California poppies (Eschscholzia californica), a native poppy, or Oriental Poppies (Papaver orientale), do not produce edible seeds.

There are annual, biennial, and perennial varieties of poppies.

Annual poppies include the common poppy, Himalayan poppy, and Ladybird poppy. Perennial poppies include Oriental poppies and celandine poppies.

Where To Buy Poppy Seeds For Your Garden

If you have no one to get poppy seeds from, then order from a reputable seed company.

In Canada, there are several different seed companies that sell these.

West Coast Seeds

Brecks Canada

McKenzie Seeds

T & T Seeds

For best results, sow seeds in early spring, in an area that gets full sun.

They prefer well-drained soil but will grow almost anywhere. We had some poppy plants in an area that had poor soil, and they struggled to grow.

They were much smaller than the ones in our main garden and did not get as many blooms.

Where are the seeds in a poppy?

Poppies usually bloom in late spring to early summer. Because of our short growing season, poppies bloom in late summer.

There is still sufficient time for poppy seeds to develop and dry enough for harvest.

The seeds in a poppy are much like any other seed. After the flower has bloomed, the petals fall off, the ovary develops into the plant’s fruit, a round seed pod.

Each pod contains hundreds of tiny black or gray seeds, which are usually edible.

Poppies will self-seed. If left, the ripe poppy seed heads will start sprinkling their seed over the ground, producing a bountiful crop the following year.

purple poppies

How do you get seeds from poppy?

Green poppy seed pods are filled with white immature seeds.

They are soft and green. When the weather is dry in late autumn, the pods turn brown and hard. Hard enough to crack, it’s easy to see when the pods are ripe.

You don’t want to harvest them too soon, as that will affect their viability.

A good indicator that the pods are dry is if the dry pods rattle when shaking the stem. It usually takes about 80-90 days after planting.

To get seeds from a poppy, break the seed head off the plant.

Shake it upside down into a bowl. Hundred of seeds will fall out of the tiny holes on top of the hard pod. This is how to collect poppy seeds.

You can also crush them, and separate the seeds from the pod with your fingers. It doesn’t take long at all to get seeds from the seed heads.

Another option would be to store the dried heads in a container or bag, until the next growing season.

Carefully shake seeds directly out of the seed pod. They come with their own seed shaker!

How do you dry poppy heads for seeds?

If you have a short growing zone as we do, you can harvest green pods, and let them dry on their own.

Placing them in a paper bag or nylon hose will allow the seeds to dry before harvesting. There might be some viability issues when saving seeds from harvested dried pods, because of immature seeds.

I wait until the seed pods are somewhat brown and hard. This increases viability.

If you are only interested in saving them for poppyseed muffins, then you’ll be fine.

Greener seed pods will also rot, so if you have been drying them and you see mold, toss the moldy ones.

Always toss moldy ones.

How long can you keep poppy seeds for planting?

When stored properly, poppy seeds keep for months.

Dry them completely in an open container for several weeks.

Then pour the seeds into a glass container with a tight-fitting lid. They will retain flavor for up to a year, and viability for up to two years. Store them in a cool, dark, dry place in an airtight container. For best result, use within a year.

A herbaceous plant, poppies can grow over a meter tall.

Bees love this plant, but most poppies are poisonous to humans to a degree.

Don’t eat any part of the plant, except for these seeds of course. It’s their versatility and beauty that make them such a popular plant.

If you want to grow poppies for breadseed, then you need an opium poppy. Always make sure that the variety you are harvesting has edible seeds.

If you are new to saving seeds, collecting poppy seeds is one of the easiest seeds to save. Enjoy the flowers during the growing season, and enjoy the seeds the rest of the year.

Once you know how to collect poppy seeds, you will be able to enjoy them forever.

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