Somniferum is the variety of poppy whose seeds are most often used in culinary activities and baking. The seed oil is also used for a variety of purposes such as making paints, varnishes and salad dressings. Also like the peony, it has been a common feature of poetry and art dating well into ancient times. It is cultivated in many parts of the world as a crop and an ornamental flower. Unlike peonies, though, the flowers are not frilly. This variety’s attractive flowers are white with a purple mark in the center of each petal. With plants stretching up to four feet, the foliage is bluish green and resembles lettuce. They will usually hybridize with other poppies if precautions are not
Transplant seedlings into your garden after all danger of frost. Final spacing of plants should be 8" - 18", depending upon variety. Poppies grow quickly, and will bloom in early to mid summer For best results, add a general purpose fertilizer once a month. Mulch around plants to keep the weeds down, and for an attractive appearance. Water only during extended dry periods. Deadhead flowers to promote new blooms. Do not do this if you plan on harvesting the seeds. To harvest the seeds, allow the flower to die and dry. Snip off seed pods and lay the out on a flat surface to completely dry. Separate the seeds from the seed pod, and store for later use.