Can I Sprout Poppy Seeds?

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Poppy seeds can be sprouted for eating and planting.

You can enjoy poppy seed sprouts on salads and sandwiches or use them to add an extra exotic flare to your garden. Buy poppy seeds to sprout from plant or gardening stores. Many poppy seeds bought from groceries stores are toasted and, therefore, will not germinate.

For Eating

Soak seeds for at least eight hours. Spread seeds over a damp napkin or towel-lined tray or plate. Seeds should not overlap. Cover seeds with second damp towel or napkin. Place in a well-lit area. Sprouting takes two to five days. Keep the seeds damp throughout. Rinse before eating or cooking.

For Planting

Start indoors using peat pellets. Plant two to three seeds per pellet. Water seeds from the bottom by placing porous planters in water-filled dishes to avoid disturbing fragile sprouts. Sprout seeds in shady areas. The ideal temperature to sprout poppies is between 60 and 90 F. Sprouts can tolerate frost but cannot be expected grow in temperatures exceeding 90 degrees. Seedlings typically appear in four to 15 days.


The "Papaver sonniferum," or opium poppy, contains opiates and is illegal to harvest in large quantities. Horticulturalists at Texas A&M, however, note that popular store bought varieties, such as the California poppy and Shirley poppy, are legal to grow.


Carson Pierre

Carson Pierre has been writing since 2005. A nonprofit worker based in New Orleans, her experience includes editing "Period!" magazine, a college publication, and interning for "Meridians Journal." She has a Bachelor of Arts in history from Smith College.