Drying poppy seed heads

Last summer I was so taken with the beautiful contorted stems of the opium poppy seed heads that I decided to cut and dry a few to display in a vase.  Not only did they look striking on the kitchen window sill they also filled the sparse home grown flower gap between November and February.

A vase of dried poppy seed headsLast years poppy stems that have filled a space on my kitchen window sill

Dried poppy seed headI love the dried poppies natural patina

This year I thought I’d fill a vase with poppy seed head stems, so we can have a large arrangement in our sitting room over the winter. I grow double opium poppies in my borders which happily self seed each year, they look gorgeous whilst in flower but once over their leaves start to die back leaving an unsightly mess in the border. Pull the whole plants out and break off the long poppy head stems from the main plant, stripping away the untidy leaves, this reveals the stunning contorted poppy stems and their amazing architectural seed heads.

Opium poppy when overThe poppies finished flowering and are now a messy sight in the flower bed

Papaver paeoniflorum - opium poppies doubleThe poppy in flower before revealing its wonderful seed canister

Poppy seed headsThe poppy stems stripped of leaves and popped in a vase

Poppy seed heads in a vaseThe poppy stems left in a corner to dry, come November they’ll be moved to pride of place in the sitting room

I think the poppy stems muted green seed heads with the white hazy polish that coats them looks fabulous now but I know as they dry the colour will change to the golden brown which will give our sitting room a warm, natural statuesque dimension in those lean winter months.



4 Replies to “Drying poppy seed heads”

  1. I bought these 5 poppy seed heads with stems today. Shop had them in water. Can I keep them in a glass vase with water or will they rot ? I would prefer to do this than dry them.
    Was hoping to attach photo but can’t do it. Thank you , Margaret

    1. Hi Margaret

      I would pop them in your glass vase without water. If you add water they will rot in the end, and they won’t dry. Without water they should dry over time, changing colour from green to the lovely light brown. I think they’re fabulous for the winter months when there are not so many flowers in the garden for cutting.

      Good luck.


  2. Thanks, I’ve got a lot of them this year and was wondering should I hang them, or put them in a vase with or without water. Hard to know what’s best !

    1. Hi Richard
      I just pop the stems in a vase without water and let then dry. You can also hang them upside down to dry but remember seeds will fall out so pop a paper bag over the seed heads and secure with a rubber band.


Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *