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Starting Oriental poppies from seed

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Starting Oriental poppies from seed is a good way to propagate these beautiful perennial flowers. Transplanting can be difficult due to the long tap root poppies have. Here is an easy, nearly full proof way to get lots of flowers, for literally pennies.

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Using seed starting mix, or a good quality potting soil, Oriental poppy seeds should be scattered on the surface of moist soil and not covered. While it is important the seeds remain uncovered by soil, they also need darkness to germinate. Using newspaper or pieces of lightweight cardboard, cover the pot or seed trays at night until the first green shoots start appearing after approximately 15 to 20 days. The covering can then be removed.

When plants are large enough to transplant, care should be taken not to disturb the tap roots. They should be transplanted in an herbaceous border which has rich, well drained soil, and is in full sun.

It is easy to find poppy seeds on the Internet. Poppies come in different colors, such as bright orange, pale orange, deep dark red, purple, pale pink, salmon and more. Perhaps harder than finding the seeds is choosing which colors you would like. A very good mail order seed company is Botanical Interests. Their website is http://www.botanicalinterests.com.

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