Plant as early as possible in spring, as poppies can handle frost and bloom best and longest when plants get a good start in cool weather. In mild winter climates, you can also sow seed in late fall to form strong root systems and overwinter for earliest spring bloom. Weed and water young seedlings carefully. Mature plants can handle dry conditions but appreciate regular water in hot summer locations. Poppies make good cut flowers if cut just as buds begin to open. Allow spent flowers to form pods and drop seed if you want flowers to self-sow for next season’s bloom.