How to grow papaver somniferum indoors

Updated April 17, 2017

Papaver Somniferum is an old-fashioned annual flower that garden enthusiasts have grown for years. Papaver somniferum, in addition to being a pretty flower, provides poppy seeds for food and poppy seed oil. This plant is native to southeastern Europe and western Asia. It is possible to grow Papaver somniferum indoors. You will need to simulate the light outdoors by using grow lights. In some states, growing Papaver somniferum is illegal. This is because Papaver somniferum is the opium poppy and some people extract the illegal substance of opium from the seed pod.

Fill a large pot with potting soil. The ideal pot is 10 inches or larger and the soil needs a pH level of about 7.0. Poppies prefer a soil that is light, sandy or gritty. Since poppies do not transplant very well, it is important to plant them in the right size container the first time.

Pour the seeds into the palm of your hand. With thumb and forefinger, sprinkle the seeds on top of the soil. Don’t puddle the seeds in any one spot. Scatter them sparingly over the top.

Cover the seeds with a fine layer of soil mixture. Do not cover them deeply, or they will not germinate.

Water thoroughly. Place the pot in a container of water and allow the soil to drink up water. When the soil is wet, place under grow lights. Leave the grow lights on for 12 hours per day. Poppies germinate better if the temperature is around 15.6 degrees C.

Use a spray bottle and mist the soil every day to keep the soil moist. Continue to keep the soil moist but not soggy.

Stop misting when the flower buds form and reduce the amount of water that you are giving your poppies.

Increase the light time to 16 hours per day when buds form. Keep the temperature between 20.0 and 23.8 degrees C during the day. Nighttime temperatures should remain around 1.67 to 12.8 degrees Celsius.


Check to make sure that this flower is not illegal in your state before you grow them in your house.

Things You'll Need

  • Pot or pots with drainage hole
  • Potting soil
  • Water
  • Spray bottle
  • Grow lights
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About the Author

Gail Delaney is a writer in South Dakota and has articles published online at various websites. She is the garden editor for BellaOnline, with years of gardening experience. Being the caretaker of her parents led her in the direction of medical issues, especially natural remedies.