Pop Those Tops! Harvesting Poppy Seeds

I go nuts for the blooms every spring, but in the summer it’s all about the poppy seeds.

Before we get to cracking open the seed heads, let’s remember the journey of the poppies so far this year…

The first week of June brought the inaugural, vibrantly red, bloom.

But those delicate petals don’t stick around long. Within a couple of days, the plants drop everything and look like the photo on the right: a green seed head, ready to start drying out.

Let’s remember some more of those fantastic, fleeting blooms

So. Gorgeous.

My favorites!

When all of the precious petals have disappeared, we’re left with a bevy of seed heads.

It takes a couple of weeks for the pods to dry out. You know when they’re ready by the rattling sound of the loose seeds inside when shaken.

The seed pods also lose their color and the “star” on top pulls away, which opens little channels for the seeds to fall out of.

Fun Fact: Average seed numbers per plant can range from 10,000 to 60,000.


Here’s how we harvested a couple thousand, or so, seeds!

Snipped a seed pod.

Pulled the star off the top.

Checked out all those chambers full of seeds inside.

Poured out the seeds, admired their beauty and abundance.

Repeat, repeat, repeat….

Watch the tumble action below.


We gathered enough seeds to plant many more poppies next year.

Next time you dig into a salad with a poppyseed dressing you can imagine the journey those little kidney bean shaped seeds went on.



Betsy Brockett was diagnosed with Mesothelioma at the age of 28, and continues to thrive despite the challenges that cancer has created in her life. Holding a degree in Art & Visual Technology from George Mason University, Betsy expresses herself through writing, photography, painting, pottery, and more. She is most often found cultivating, creating, practicing/teaching yoga, or simply enjoying the beauty of life.

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