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Poppy seed heads

hiacedrifterhiacedrifter Posts: 119
My poppies have flowered and I'd like to dig them up so they don't self seed in situ. I would like to keep the seeds though to use elsewhere. Can I pull them up now and let them "ripen"? Or do they need to ripen where they are? How do I know when they're ripe?


  • philippasmith2philippasmith2 Posts: 3,486
    Best to let the seeds ripen on the plant.  If mine are anything to go by, the seed pods are still green.  As soon as the heads begin to dry and turn brown the head will begin to open at the top and the seeds will "rattle" when you tap the stem.
    Cut the heads and have a paper bag handy to upend the seed pod into. Store in a cool place and sow next year.
  • Sorry to jump in but if they were allowed to die down naturally, would the seeds not naturally ‘sow’ this year - is there a benefit to sowing next year?

    I collected a lot of California poppy seeds today and scattered a few about - will they fail?

  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Posts: 8,261
    There's a benefit to collecting the seeds if you want to grow them in a different place - otherwise you can let them do their own thing.  However, poppies do tend to produce hundreds of seeds, so you probably wouldn't want too many in one place.  Sowing some this year and some next, will give you plants of different sizes which will flower at different times, if you're lucky.

    Some of the California poppy seeds will germinate if conditions are right for them, and will probably not flower until next year.  You're just replicating what happens in nature.  :)   
    Since 2019 I've lived in east Clare, in the west of Ireland.
  • hiacedrifterhiacedrifter Posts: 119
    These self seeded the last 2 years but I'm trying to avoid that as we were over run with poppies. All the other plants got swamped  :)

    I will preserve the seed heads once ripe though and sow some in a designated poppy zone  :D
  • hiacedrifterhiacedrifter Posts: 119
    edited July 2022
    So once they're like this i can snip them off?
  • Loraine3Loraine3 Posts: 573
    Yes, but put a small paper bag on the top and as you cut flip it over so the seeds go in the bag.
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