Growing Opium

The poppy plant is an important source of opium, a substance that could be used as painkiller. Its downside, however, is that its use is addictive. That is why possession of the plant is declared illegal in many places.

Those that allow its growing have heavy regulations regarding the possession and processing of the plant. Do you want to know how to cultivate this plant?

Growing and harvesting poppy has been practiced for many centuries largely due to the demand for opium, a substance that has important painkilling effects. But because of the abuse associated with the use of opium, the possession of the plant is illegal in many places. Those caught with the plant are usually suspected of growing poppy in order to extract opium from it to make illegal drugs. In some countries, poppy farming is legal although subject to heavy regulation. If you want to grow poppies other than to extract opium (maybe because of its beautiful flower), make sure that you exercise some discretion.

  • When buying seeds, use only its scientific name, which is Papaver somniferum. That Latin sounding name will sound innocent, pass as a material for a science project, and would prevent sparking unnecessary interest or suspicion. For an acre of land, you’d need about 1 kilogram of seeds and produce 20 times that amount. But if you are planting poppies for non-pharmaceutical purposes, you can just try one or two seeds.
  • Choose a time to plant the seeds. Poppy seeds can be planted in early spring or late fall. They can survive the winter to sprout in the spring. Seeds can even be preserved in as many years under optimum condition.
  • You can plant poppy seeds by scattering them over a piece of ground or dropping them in holes. If you plan to transplant grown poppy plants, be sure not to touch the roots or they will die.
  • Poppies grow well in warm climate, and in a variety of soil as long as it is well drained. Preferably, the pH should be neutral. Sunshine must also be present in considerable amount. Lack of it could result to plants that are stunted.
  • Poppies germinate after more than a month of planting. They mature in three to four months. It flowers for almost a month. It must be replanted annually once harvested because it does not have the capacity to regenerate. It grows up to 5 feet in height. Collect some seeds during the harvest for planting during the next planting cycle.
  • In the early part of its development, poppies will need protection from excessive rain and insects.
  • If you are planting several varieties be sure to separate them to avoid cross-pollinations or contamination of better varieties with lesser ones.

Opium’s painkilling value is due to alkaloids like morphine and codeine present on it. Its use as such is highly controversial because of its addictive side effects. Its use is recommended only once every four days. Poppy seeds are also source of food-grade oil, and ingredient in making paints and scents.



  • Jay Watsion said on August 27, 2010
    I am interesting to grow OPIUM! Here are my questions? How do I grow Opium legally? Where do I purchasing the Opium Seeds? Thanks a lot! Jay
  • Charlie Punzalan said on September 29, 2010
    how do i start a opium farm in aguanga,ca 92536, usa
  • Tich Chikwaira said on October 8, 2010
    Hie Would like to grow opium legally in Africa ?Where do i purchase the seeds and the cost?What chemicals do you use to control when growing? Thanks a lot
  • Soul said on June 26, 2011
    I want to grow opium for salad is that legal in San Jose CA?
  • wayne williams said on November 8, 2011
    Interested to buy a farm in south africa to grow opium. What type of money can I make out of such a business. Income need to be enough to pay the farm loan and support it. Planned farm in grapevine farm area. Who do I sell the products to. Do u know what kind of rules I could face when starting this type of farming. Will I have to produce my own powder first and then sell it? what part of the plant is used for pharmaceutical purposes. Would like to start this type of farming as I do not think that there are a lot in this country. I could be wrong. Please help. Thanx.
  • Apeloye Ayomikun said on November 27, 2011
    I ll like If opium could be grown in Nigeria west,Africa. On 1 acre of land what will be the capital and the interest on growing opium. And ? how do I get the seed? Thanks
  • Dr.Shinasi Gafuri said on January 12, 2013
    We are legally producers of poppy plants in Macedonia, but we wish to find a good pharmaceutical buyer and producer of drugs for medical use. If you have any information let me know! Dr.Shinasi Gafuri,
  • Asnath Sihlangu said on September 8, 2013
    i am interested in commercial farming planting opium plants in south Africa Limpopo province is it legal in South africa how to obtain a license and create market.
  • hustler said on September 28, 2013
    yes can it be grown in south africa? indoors and what are the requirements to grow indoors?
  • sifiso said on April 27, 2015
    I'm interested in growing opium in South Africa ,how do I grow opium legally and where can I purchase opium seeds
  • Afzal said on March 10, 2016
    I can get you guys a land to grow opium. Sell at same place no problem. Contact at


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