Tips on How to Plant and Grow Iceland Poppies

The perennial Iceland poppy grows well in most climates, surviving both summer heat and winter cold. The flowers come in a range of colours including orange, red, pink, yellow, white and shades in between. Grow the poppies in a beds or borders where they receive plenty of sunlight. The poppies reach up to 2 feet tall and flower for most of the summer months. Sow the seeds directly in the garden in spring as soon as the soil thaws. You can also plant the seeds in fall, although they will not germinate until spring.

Spread compost over a sunny, well-drained garden bed. Turn the compost into the top 6 inches of soil as it aids drainage. Iceland poppies cannot grow well in waterlogged soils.

Mix the poppy seeds with an equal amount of sand. The seeds are exceptionally small, making it difficult to individually sow them. The sand helps prevent overseeding.

Sprinkle the seed and sand mixture over the garden bed in a thin layer. Cover the seeds with a 1/8-inch layer of soil.

Mist the soil surface with water. Use a fine spray to prevent washing away the small Iceland poppy seeds. Mist the soil as needed to maintain moisture until germination, which takes approximately two weeks.

Thin the poppies once they are approximately 1 inch tall and have two leaves each. Pluck out the excess plants until they are spaced about 10 inches apart.

Water the poppies only during dry periods when the ground begins to dry at a 4-inch depth. Iceland poppies are drought tolerant, and too much water can kill them.

Remove the spent flower heads as soon as they begin to wilt. Old flower removal encourages the poppies to produce new flower buds.


While Iceland poppies are technically perennials, they may die out in areas with wet winters. In this case, reseed each spring and grow the flowers as annuals. Iceland poppies require no additional fertilisation, as the soil provides for their minimal nutrition needs.

Things You'll Need

  • Compsot
  • Sand
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About the Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.