My friend has the most beautiful red poppy plant and I want to have it. We tried the seed head one year but it did not take. She won’t dig into it so how do I clone it. Is there a special trick?
I am sorry to say there are no special tricks! The best strategy with poppies is to grow them from seed. Perhaps your friend will let you have another seed pod or two this fall, and you can try again. There are some specific instructions you should follow once you have picked them from the poppy, to make sure that the seeds remain viable through the winter. This involves drying them, and storing them properly. In the spring, likewise there are specific steps you should follow to give your seeds their best chance of germinating. Seeds have a variety of requirements to sprout, and you’ll need to be sure that you follow the directions that work best for poppies.
Poppies dislike being transplanted, so it is best to sow the seeds directly onto the soil in the garden where you would like them to grow.
We received another inquiry about this subject, and particularly the timing of planting poppy seeds, which can vary, so you may want to experiment with sowing seeds in the fall (as would naturally happen when the seed pods of the parent plant split open) and in the spring. This post might be helpful reading: http://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/askagardener/sowing-poppy-seeds-in-july/
Finally, here are links to two websites that have very clear descriptions of:
- How to pick the seed pod from the poppy, prepare it, and store the seeds over the winter – http://homeguides.sfgate.com/dry-poppy-seeds-replanting-21550.html , and
- How to prepare the soil and plant your seeds in the spring – http://homeguides.sfgate.com/plant-poppy-seeds-41536.html
I wish you all the best in growing these beautiful red poppies from seed. If you don’t have much luck, you might consider checking out some of the larger nurseries which generally have an inventory of already potted poppies for sale early in the season. Landscape Ontario has a comprehensive list of nurseries in the Toronto area: https://landscapeontario.com/garden-centres/chapter/toronto .