Difficulty Growing Opium Poppy in Texas
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Michelle Bullard
Posted on: February 10, 2005

I have been obsessive with the field of herb growing here in Texas, USA, for about 5 years now. So far, the hardest thing I have tried to grow was opium poppy. I bought some seeds from Richters last year, and I have tried 5-6 times to get these guys going. What is the trick? I have tried using different textures of soil, different pots, watering methods..(by just spraying them lightly with a spray bottle) They are so weak and they just shrivel up before they get past 1 in (2.5 cm). tall. I’d LOVE some advice.

Your symptoms sound like damp-off fungus.

Opium poppies do best in well-drained, moist soil and they must have full sun. They resent root disturbance and should therefore be planted where they are to grow. The seeds must have light to germinate, although the addition of Gibberellic acid- 3 to the growing medium can bypass this requirement. They are very susceptible to downy mildew and should therefore be watered from below to avoid wetting the foliage. Planting the seed outside seems to work better, since natural, healthy soil contains many competing micro-organisms and thus does not give damp-off fungi such a chance to take over. The increased sun and ultra-violet radiation of outdoors also forces the seedlings to toughen their tissues right from the start, making them less easy targets of damp-off fungi. Also keep the seed bed just dry enough so that seedlings don’t shrivel because of lack of water and this too gives fungi less of a chance.

Also, does Richters have herbal oil displays I could use for my business? I’m always telling my customers about the quality of your oils.

We are sorry, but we don’t have such a pre-built display for oils, only for seeds. But we do appreciate your endorsement of our oils’ quality!

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