Sowing Mother of Pearl Shirley Poppies – Fall Planting Hardy Annual Cut Flowers in Zone 6

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I’ll admit, the process of maintaining a blog and youtube channel is a little daunting. For whatever reason, it always seems that I neglect the blog. I think the main cause for this has to do with the fact that I do a lot of writing throughout the day at work. By the time I make it home, I’m usually tired – and more writing is the last thing I want to do. However, this fall, I want to make a specific effort to record what I’m planting in the yard.

This year I’m sowing more shirley poppies. Though there are several varieties of shirley poppies available online, most of them look very similar with a few exceptions – such as slight color differences, and whether or not the flowers are single or double. Into my fall garden, I’ll be planting ‘Mother of Pearl’ shirley poppy from Baker Creek.

If you’ve never seen shirley poppy seeds before, they’re insanely small. These seeds are NOT to be mistaken for breadseed poppy seeds. These seeds are NOT edible. One of the most important aspects of growing any plant for the first time is making sure to do proper research. Many plants that are grown as an ornamental and for use in cut flowers are toxic. It’s so important to keep your kids, pets, and everyone else that you love – safe.

Since these poppies grow best in cool weather, I can’t plant them in the spring here in my garden. Though my zone 6/7 garden has cold weather during the winter, I also have a very short spring. In fact, it’s not uncommon for temperatures to climb into the 90s quite suddenly. Due to this fact, it’s important that I make the choice to sow these seeds in the fall. Luckily, most shirley poppies are extremely cold tolerant and have no problems overwintering in my garden without any kind of protection. Of course, this may vary from garden to garden depending upon where you live.

To sow these seeds, I usually wait until the end of September – sometimes into early October. I simply work a well-amended flower bed and make certain that it is weed free. Personally, since the seeds are so tiny – I always choose to direct sow (surface sow). I’ve heard that some growers like to mix the seeds with sand, so that the plants will be more eventually spaced. However, I’ve never tried that technique.

The seeds germinate relatively quick and will continue to grow into winter until the coldest of temperatures have arrived. Then, plants will resume growth and bloom in the spring. When sown in the fall, I can expect tons and tons of large spring blooms. This early season color makes shirley poppies one of my favorite flowers to plant.

Have you ever grown poppies before? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below! I hope you’re having a wonderful day!

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