The poppy family, Papaveraceae, is generally found in the northern temperate hemisphere.  This is generally true for Papaver somniferum as well.  It is thought to be native to the Mediterranean Basin, Southeastern Europe, and Western Asia.  However, it is cultivated in many temperate regions of the world today.
     P. somniferum plants are typically found in gardens, cultivated beds, wastelands, orchards, olive groves, or low altitude rocky hillslopes.

                  Image found on the public domain

     Opium poppies are easy to cultivate and thrive in any well-drained garden soil, and are even able to tolerate a slightly acidic, neutral, or alkaline soil.  They prefer sunny areas and therefore thrive in open orchards and gardens.  Opium poppies can become weedy, weighed down, and produce fewer flowers if succumbed to heavy rainfall or too much shade.  P. somniferum plants prefer cooler weather with soil temperature around 60-65 degree F, and can even be somewhat frost-tolerant.


          Image by robsplants.com

Next learn about the opium poppy's life cycle and Reproduction.