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I live in an apartment in the city (located roughly central east-coast of US) and really miss my father's garden in the suburbs. As such, I have figured out a scheme for window boxes that has allowed me to grow some nice herbs (basil and oregano). I would like to make this work with a similar set-up for flowers on my other window sill. I have grown poppies before in the ground and they are just so beautiful and fun to grow that I would like to try to grow them in my current situation. Now, I know they get very big and typically need a lot of space to grow to their full size, but I was wondering if it would be possible to grow a single poppy plant to at least a medium size in a standard window box (say roughly 500 cubic inches)? If not, what flowers would you suggest to grow given my circumstances?

NOTE: My windows get pretty good sunlight throughout the day. After about 4 pm, there is a tree that kind of blocks the sun but for the most part light still makes it through.

  • What kind of poppy do you have in mind? Poppies come in a lot of varieties. – Stephie May 13 '15 at 19:16
  • Yes, and sizes - they vary from about 6 inches high through to 2 feet, maybe more. – Bamboo May 13 '15 at 19:19
  • the only ones i have grown are Himalayan blue and Zahir, but if you have any recommendations for other ones that would be great! – celeriko May 15 '15 at 15:40
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Himalayan blue poppies (Meconopsis betonicifolia) are nearly impossible to grow outside of the Pacific Northwest or the UK (and the Himalayas), or other cool summer climes. Being a perennial, it is also not a candidate for your window box as annuals do much better. Zahir is a standard garden poppy, but really large. I would plant Shirley poppies or California poppies (a differnt genus in the Poppy Family, these can persist as short-lived perennials). Both of these would be better in containers. They are both adaptable and will grow to suit nearly any situation. Seeds are best for these as transplants are not that successful. Each prefers cool weather, so plant in early Spring. They can tolerate warm weather later however. California poppies are even more tolerant of the summer, though you want to keep them on the drier side - do don't over water. Plant thickly, barely cover seed, and water frequently. They even tolerate frost at this stage. Thin to one plant every 6 inches later. Cut frequently to keep them blooming. The bottoms of the stems of cut Shirley poppies need to be seared (with a lighter) to keep well however. Even if you don't want a bouquet, though cut the spent blossoms.

  • I now realize that this was asked in May... But you can plant poppies now - they do well overwinter, even if they don't actually come up till Spring. Sometimes they will germinate in a thaw too, but usually tolerate frosts well. I've sown them on a light snow cover in a wildflower planting to get the seeds to settle just right upon melting (the weather was warming the next day). In containers, this may be a bit more challenging, however. – Eric Deloak Nov 25 '15 at 9:19
  • poppies tend to have long tap roots and will be constrained by the depth of soil in a window box. Annual poppies would be more adaptable. – kevinsky Nov 25 '15 at 10:40
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    The ones I mentioned are very adaptable - even sort of weedy - in that they sort of grow to fit the circumstances better than other species. Shirley poppies for me, when in less than optimal situations just grow smaller, but still bloom. California poppies, while not quite as 'plastic', also do this. Last year I planted them in February and had wonderful poppies all summer. I grew the a couple other species too. Oh and seeds are easily available. – Eric Deloak Nov 25 '15 at 15:12

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