Poppy seedling propagation
poppy seed is very small and should be sown in late summer
to early autumn (mid- February to mid-March) in a suitable
seedling tray or seedbox filled with a “seedling medium” purchased
from your local flower shop or nursery. Broadcast the seed
onto the surface and then gently press the seed into the medium
with the flat of the hand or with a wooden plank. Others prefer
to make shallow parallel grooves about 2 cm apart into growing
medium and then the seed is sown into the grooves on the surface
of the growing medium without any compaction. Either way, the
seedlings then take root into the medium followed shortly thereafter
by the appearance of small leaves. Water regularly (daily
during warm spells) with a fine mist-spray, or water from the
bottom up, by placing the seedling tray into a container of
water, but take care not to “flood” the
medium if this method of watering is used. The seedling trays
should be kept under shelter and not in direct sunlight but rather
in filtered sunlight or bright shade. Feed every two weeks with
a suitable liquid fertilizer.
Up to eight weeks later, the
seedlings will be at the four-leaf stage and ready to be pricked
out and transplanted into suitable polystyrene or plastic trays,
placed similarly in a sheltered position and with regular, daily
watering and applications of a liquid fertilizer.
Preparing your Iceland poppy seedbeds
Meantime your Iceland poppy beds should
be prepared in a sunny position with liberal
quantities of well-rotted compost and / or manure with morning
sun and afternoon shade preferably in good well-drained neutral
or alkaline soils. Given that many of our soils in the high rainfall
areas of South Africa tend to be acid, this may mean applying
lime to neutralize the acidity but preferably do so 2 months
before you plant out your poppy seedlings – lime takes time to
Several weeks later the seedlings should
be sufficiently well developed and can be transplanted into your
seedbed preferably on a cool day at a spacing of about 20 cm
between plants. After planting, press the soil firmly around
seedlings, like all seedlings, must be watered regularly, if
not daily, especially during hot spells, and will commence
flowering up to 3 months after establishment, depending on
prevailing conditions. Poppy Magic has long, strong stems and
a wide range of flower colours, from pastels to dark vivid
colours, some flowers variegated, others with a white fringe
on the petals, yet others with a double line of petals; yes,
very different from many of the mainly orange and yellow Iceland
poppy varieties currently on the market.
Picking your Iceland
Some gardeners recommend the
careful removal of the first flower buds from each Iceland poppy
plant soon after emergence, thus encouraging a greater abundance
of flowers in the weeks and months following.
If left, these first flowers often have much shorter and thinner stems than
the flowers which follow, which can be 30 to 40 cm in length, sometimes longer!
If signs of nutrient deficiency (yellowing of leaves) are detected in your
poppy plants, lightly topdress with the granular fertilizer 1:0:1 followed
by a good watering, or apply one of the “all-purpose” fertilizers
available from your local garden shop.
Pick your Iceland poppy flowers
just as the buds start to open and before the bees get busy,
thus ensuring that they last longer. But remember; do not place
your vase of Iceland poppies next to an open window because bees
from far and wide will buzz in to take their share, causing great
Give your Iceland poppy flowers space to expand to their full width by placing
only a few in each vase, or use vases which are broad at the top.
Prepare to enjoy these beauties for up to 7- 8 days in your home.