Monday, March 24, 2014


Symphony Sprout's Shirley Poppies - barely hanging on!

April 3 - four weeks since planting seeds.  My Shirley Poppies are barely hanging on!  I have probably five - ten living sprouts with only four leaves each that have not appeared to have grown in past two weeks..... I have been vigilant about 12-16 hours of florescent light (five inches from plants) daily, 8 hours or so dark, and have watered when soil looks dry and feels light.  I have added some Miracle Grow to my bottom watering this morning - to see if this might stimulate more growth. 

Frankly, I am having way more fun outside in my garden than tending my sad poppies.  Planted a wisteria vine in a pot (a first) and have transplanted Jane Beattie Shepherds pussy willows outdoors.

Anyone having luck with their Shirley Poppies?  Please post, if so!  

Symphony Sprout's Shirley Poppies.....Survival of the Fittest?!

March 24 - As several others have noted, I saw a decline in my Shirley Poppies in the second week.  They looked to be wilting away ~ but I now seem to have some survival of the fittest happening.  Some dying off while others are growing taller and starting new growth of second set of tiny leaves! 

I am keeping 12-14 hours of flourescent light on them and have bottom watered twice.  Spritzing occasionally when top of soil looks dry. 

Here is a side view to see how little they have grown in height since the first week!

I wish I had more varieties to follow...maybe I will be inspired to plant more!

(Marjorie Cooke)

Hey fellow gardeners!
This is fun.  Thanks to Dede and Sara!  I have now taken ownership of tiny Shirley Poppy sprouts from MaryAnn who planted poppies March 5th and cared for them for the critical first week. I missed the planting day, being out of town in Florida.
Happy growing!
Symphony Sprout 

I am not seeing much new growth in height since taking the ziplock bag off.  
Anyone else noticing this?

Shirley Poppies(that are not mine, sadly)

A summer update from Symphony Sprout...July 2014  

I've learned so much from this plant propagation workshop and subsequent blog! Thanks for the leadership and inspiration of the Kanawha Garden Club Hort Committee!  

I've learned much about the Shirley Poppy.  Its scientific name is Papaver rhoeas. It is a gorgeous annual flower that is difficult to germinate and difficult to transplant. They take eight days to germinate at 70 degrees Fahrenheit, longer in cooler temperatures. I've learned they start as basal rosettes and bloom in the spring.  They grow one to three feet high, with flowers two to four inches.  I've learned they hate heat, that rabbits and slugs love them and that one should let seeds ripen to self-sow.  These flowere are sensitive to light and heat and cold and basically everything I did to them, or did not do to them.  I had fun watching them germinate, then suffered as I watched them falter and die off, despite my 12-14 hours of florescent light daily.

I've also learned that I am not good at propagating this lovely flower that I adore. I find them so romantic and playful and colorful and happy.  Perhaps I will try again some day to grow a Shirley Polly from seed!  I have been unsuccessful this time, despite my best efforts.  For now, enjoy my photo of someone else's glorious poppies - and please do share successes, KGC Hort committee members, if you have Shirley Poppies growing tall and producing glorious flowers!  

Thanks again ladies for the learning and the fun! 


  1. I am finally starting to see a second set of leaves emerge - very, very tiny! Need my reading glasses to see them well. I decided my flat was much too wet and let the soil really dry out - and keeping a light on them for 14 hours a day. Have lost a bunch but think that is normal. Some have survived and are upright. Hope yours are growing still.

    1. Mine are growing but like yours, some have gone by the wayside! I've decided that is normal. I've titled it survival of the fittest..... ha

  2. Mine are doing the same thing as both of yours. Not much growth; more thinning out! After WV Spout's experience, I've made sure not to water any of these too much!

  3. My opium poppies must be sleepy. Growth seems to have stopped, although most have the first set of true leaves. Since I over seeded, I thinned them several days ago by cutting some off at soil level. A drastic move which hasn't hurt the remaining ones but hasn't done any good either.

  4. Good morning Symphony Sprout! I should share my photo with you as it will definitely make you feel better. Only 4 left of the Shirley poppies. The opium poppy is doing a little better - I can actually see the second set of leaves now and some growth. The next time around we will save more of the seeds and try direct outdoor sowing after frost.

    Isn't the weather glorious - I don't blame you for wanting to be outside and working in the yard - and Jane's pussy willows are great! You can actually see them instead of squinting at these little poppies - they are monsters next to the poppies. Hang in there with the journal - it's about our failures, too! I think everyone that is doing poppies is having trouble - maybe some comments from others???