Are my poppy seedlings dying? I leave the plate filled with water everyday. How can I save them? (Even if it means ripping some off and leaving them more spaced out.)

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  • Are you watering from below? What kind of poppies are they?
    – Stephie
    May 19, 2018 at 18:11
  • @Stephie Yes, I water them from below (I put water on the plate, that's it, right?). About the kind of poppies, I actually don't know. I bought a packet of seeds in Holland, but I eventually tossed the packet away after I planted them.
    – Azzine
    May 19, 2018 at 18:42
  • Is the surface of the soil moist? They will have very short roots, so won't be able to search out the water if it's only soaking up a short distance into the pot. On the other hand they may not be happy if the soil is too wet. What are you using for compost? May 19, 2018 at 19:53
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    There should be no compost at all in this pot. The only soil allowed for pots is sterilized potting soil. Seriously. Do not soak the entire pot of soil. Only the surface should be moist, not the entire body of soil. These guys look fried. Has this pot and its seeds been in this spot from the beginning? Pots like this should be planted with plants in 3 and 4" pots. Not for starting seeds. What soil did you use? What fertilizer have you used (that could fry them like this as well). Watering from below is only for mature plants in pots in nurseries in hot hot temperatures.
    – stormy
    May 19, 2018 at 23:02
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    Those seeds need moisture at the surface NOT 6" below. I use a spray bottle to keep my seed bed moist. I never soak the entire pot of soil. And I start my starts in 1" by 2" pots first. Using a spray bottle to moisten the surface soil until the roots are able to suck up moisture. When the roots show at the drain holes I up pot them into 3" pots...then when the roots show at the bottom of those those plants get acclimated for transplanting into the garden out of doors OR into a 6" pot with potting soil. I fertilize when transplanting into the 3" pots the first time.
    – stormy
    May 19, 2018 at 23:05

2 Answers 2


It seems fairly likely the problem is water. It may be too little but it also may be too much.

Stormy's spray bottle approach is wonderful for seedlings, and I too would do that.

But do not! leave standing water in the bottom of the tray. If the water doesn't soak into the soil and leave the tray dry within, say, an hour, there is too much water. If so, temporarily take the plant pot out of the tray, dump the tray, and put the plant pot back. If the tray fills yet again from the pot draining out, (1) do it again, and (2) that's a nearly certain sign that watering is excessive.

It can be interesting to put a bit of dirt in a pot then leave it for a couple days in a shallow pool of water. Then tip it out and see how sopping wet the mud is at the bottom, with too little room for the air that roots need also.

P.S. Why do you think they are dying? My vision isn't the best but they look pretty good to me - maybe a bit yellow.

  • Well... they all died :( I don't know what was the problem, but it was a horrible first try. From this I learned that I need to do some spacing, seedlings must be sprayed and must not leave water in the tray. I am now trying to grow some with these methods and they seem to be doing better. Thanks for all the tips :)
    – Azzine
    Jun 26, 2018 at 13:49

It may have been too hot and/or too much sun? It looks like you posted in late May. Poppies like cool weather, and should be started in late fall or late winter depending on your climate. They melt under heat and sun. They're very fussy babies!

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