Transplanting Poppy Seedlings| Ultimate Guide

Transplanting poppy seedlings is a delicate process, but there are a few simple things you can do to make sure your seedlings thrive.

When Can You Transplant Poppies?

Poppies need to be transplanted before they become root bound, but the timing differs based on the variety of poppy you are growing.

Annual poppies, such as Shirley poppies (Papaver rhoeas), should be transplanted when they reach about 2 inches in height.

Perennial varieties, such as Oriental poppies (Papaver orientale), should be transplanted when they reach about 4 to 6 inches tall because their roots grow much more quickly.

When to transplant:

Seedlings should be transplanted when they have three sets of true leaves, and when the root system is well established.

Soil for transplanting:

Prepare your soil by tilling it thoroughly and mixing in several inches of compost. If planting in containers, use an all-purpose potting mix. Make sure to provide drainage holes at the bottom of each container and cover these with coffee filters or gravel to keep the soil from spilling out.

How to Transplant Poppy Seedlings?

First, water the seedlings well so that the roots are fully hydrated.

When you’re ready to transplant, gently dig up each seedling with a spoon or fork, being careful not to damage the root system.

Dig a hole about twice as wide as the root ball for each plant and carefully place it inside.

Gently pack soil around the roots and press firmly but gently on top of the soil to make sure it’s packed tightly enough for good stability, but not so tight that you damage any roots.

Water again, letting the water soak in at least an inch or two deep, then water each

It’s important to transplant the seedlings while they are still small, so that they are not disturbed later in their growth. Ready to get started? We’ll go through each step!

Step 1: Prep your destination location. You can transplant poppy seedlings outside or in pots, depending on your preference and climate conditions.

For outdoor locations, dig holes about 3 inches deep and 6 inches apart. For potted plants, make sure you have a pot that’s at least 8 inches deep, and fill it up generously with soil or compost.

You’ll want to make sure the pots have drainage holes at the bottom.

Step 2: Fill your bucket with water and set it aside for now.

Step 3: Using a trowel, scoop up a clump of soil from around an established poppy plant. Make sure to keep the clump of soil intact as you place it in the new hole or pot.

Step 4: Place two poppy seedlings into each hole, making sure that their roots are covered with soil and that their crowns (the part above the ground) are exposed to air.

The crown should sit just above the level of the surrounding soil.

Transplant Shock in Poppies

Transplant shock in poppies is a common issue that is generally caused by improper planting technique. Like all plants, poppies have a root system that must be protected every time the plant is moved or transplanted.

The best way to prevent transplant shock in poppies is to plant them properly in the first place, but even that isn’t always enough to keep the problem from occurring.

Poppies are sensitive plants, and any kind of stress can cause transplant shock in poppies.

If your poppies become stressed, they will go into shock by wilting and turning brown at the edges.

This can happen for many reasons. They may be short on water or nutrients after transplanting, or they may be exposed to too much sun or wind while they are trying to recover from being transplanted.

You can ease any kind of transplant shock in poppies by keeping the plants well watered and protected from the wind and direct sunlight.

If you do this, most poppies will usually recover within two weeks.

Can you transplant Poppy?

Yes, you can transplant Poppy.

Poppies do best when they are divided or transplanted in the early spring or fall. It is not recommended to plant poppies in the summer.

When planting poppies be careful not to cover the seed with dirt. Simply press them into the soil and they will sprout in a couple of weeks.

How do you take care of poppy seedlings?

Poppy plants need little care. As with most flowers, they prefer full sun, but will grow in part shade. They are not too picky about soil type.

Although poppy seeds are very tiny, you do not need to cover them in order to germinate. Just plant the seed by pushing it into soil and keep the soil moist until germination occurs.

You can also use a greenhouse flat or other container for starting the seedlings indoors if you wish.

Once established, your poppies will reseed themselves from year to year, although some varieties are better at this than others.

When growing poppies from seed, be prepared for some variation in color and form from one year to the next.

How long does it take for poppies to sprout?

Poppy seeds can take anywhere from 1 week to 3 months to germinate. It depends on the variety and growing conditions.

Though poppy seeds are small, they have hard casings that keep them from sprouting easily. To encourage your poppies to sprout faster, soak them in warm water for about 30 minutes before you plant them. This will soften their outer shells and allow moisture to penetrate more easily.

Can you start poppies indoors?

Yes, you can start poppies indoors. But in the case of many of the common species, it’s not recommended. Seedlings have to be transplanted carefully and should not be disturbed once they are growing well.

How do you divide poppies?

Poppies are hardy perennials that grow from rhizomes or tuberous roots. These hardy plants often die back to the ground in the winter, then return with lush foliage and colorful blooms in the spring.

Poppies will continue to bloom throughout the summer and into fall, provided they have adequate water and fertilizer during hot weather. These easy-to-grow plants also can be divided to start new plants.

Dig up and divide poppies in early spring or fall. The best time is when the foliage has died down, but before the ground freezes in fall.

Use a sharp spade to dig up clumps of poppies, taking care not to damage their root systems.

Shake off excess soil from each clump and cut them apart with a knife into sections with one or two leaf buds on each section.

Replant each division immediately. Plant them at the same depth as they were growing previously and water thoroughly after planting. Water again if there is no rain within a few days after planting.

Which Perennials to Plant Together with poppy?

You can plant some other perennial flowers such as:

Other variety of Poppy: There are many varieties of Poppy that you can choose from. The most famous ones are Oriental and California poppies. They are easy to grow in your garden and they are extremely beautiful.

Delphiniums: These blue flowers will look great planted with poppies and they will create an amazing contrast between the colors. You can also choose other varieties of delphiniums that have different colors than blue.

Peonies: Peonies come in a lot of beautiful colors and they will be a great addition to your garden. They are easy to grow and you don’t have to do much for them to flourish, just water them every once in a while when it is dry outside.

Iris: Another flower that goes well with poppy is iris. It will give an incredible color combination in your garden, because these two flowers come in a lot of different colors, so you can easily find the perfect one for your garden design ideas.


The steps above provide a good way to start your poppy seeds. Every time I transplant, I don’t lose many plants. Give this method a try and you’ll have some vibrant poppies coming up in no time!

I hope this article has been helpful. Good luck with your future gardening endeavors.

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