I have a rusty old helmet in which I'd like to grow field poppies, Ive tried a couple of times but the seed has not germinated. Can anyone help me to achieve my 2014 tribute hanging basket?
They're annuals so you don't want to germinate them this year unless it's a practice run. Poppy seeds hang around for years and can germinate when soil is disturbed (as in battlefields)
Some of the best are sown and germinate in late summer, overwinter where they are and flower the next year
They need light to germinate. Don't cover them, just sprinkle on top. There is currently a field full next to the M1 just after J 26 northbound. I didn't get a pic- I was doing 70mph at the time.
What medium should I use?
sandy soil. shouldn't need fertiliser.
Should I grow them in a tray and transplant, or sow in position?
Alternatively, is it possible to buy field poppy plants? I haven't seen any for sale and I suspect readers will say they are so easy to grow, but I've sown several packets of seed and not a single seed germinated. Is there an idiots guide or failproof system?
I don't think they will transplant. General rule is to sow in situ and then thin. do you know anyone with a plant you can take fresh seeds off? I save my own from year to year.
I can't think of anyone with a plant and I assume it is illegal to take seed from the roadside. Surely seed from a reputable supplier should be ok?
It is perfectly legal to gather a few seeds of non-endangered plants from the wild. If they are in a field or similar you should of course ask the land-owner's permission and be sure to follow the Country Code.
Information and some suppliers of wildflower seeds here http://theseedsite.co.uk/wildflowers.html
What you may not do at the roadside re plants is dig them up - but seeds are OK - just please don't get run over in your excitement!
Hi Malcolm - you should be able to buy plants if you really can't get them to germinate. If you go to the RHS website, and click on 'Plants' then 'plant finder', and enter in the name 'papaver rhoeas', you'll see a list of nurseries that supply them (including some mail order options). I'd suggest you contact those nurseries to check out if they're likley to have any in stock at the time you want them in 2014.....as your 'just in case' back up plan!
I sympathise, I tried to grow poppies in my flowerbed last year and had no luck at all. I think the soil was too rich and they were overshadowed by other plants. Big sigh. Live and learn!