How to Plant ORIENTAL POPPY Seeds Sow seeds in peat pots or cell packs, press into soil but do not cover. Needs light to germinate. Kept at 65° F., germination is in 14-21 days. Can direct sow into prepared seed beds in rows, thin to 12-18 inches apart. Comments: Full sun. Prefers moderately fertile, well-drained soil. Provide regular water the first season, less water following years. Long-lived in cold winter climates, plants can thrive for decades.