The official state flower of California since 1903, this poppy has long been used as traditional medicine by the First Nations. It was the first poppy to be noticed during the 1816 Lewis and Clark expedition, and its Latin name ‘’Eschscholzia,’’ comes from a German botanist who was part of the exploration journey.
The plants grow to only 12-18’’ tall and bear a colourful array of blooms, ranging from red to orange, to yellow, white and pink. Because they are very easy to grow and demand little, California poppies are a great option for beginner gardeners. Usually grown as an annual in Canada, it may over-winter in you are part of the lucky few in BC that are in zones 8 and 9. California poppies will thrive in full sun or partial shade and are adaptable to poor soils. An excellent option to plant in borders, walkways and meadows, California poppies also make fiery cut bouquets.
- Life Cycle: Annual
- Days to Maturity: 60-75
- Planting Depth: 2-3 seeds 5 mm deep or broadcast directly
- Plant Spacing: 15 cm
- Growth Habit: 30-45 cm tall
This common annual wildflower is capable of producing stunning, colourful blossoms. Poppies typically bloom from late spring to early summer. They hardly require any maintenance once established and will acclimate to almost any climate over the course of a few seasons.
The easiest way to propagate poppies is to let them do the work! Poppies freely self-seed from one season to the next and will eventually become naturalized to the area in which they grow. But to get a new crop started, sowing directly into the garden is the best option.
Transplanting poppies is a difficult task and is not recommended. Still, it is possible if the correct precautions are taken. Poppies germinate quite easily, but quickly develop a central taproot that does not like to be disrupted. By planting seeds in biodegradable peat or coco pots, this problem can be avoided.
Four to six weeks before the last frost date, plant two or three seeds per pot and lightly cover with soil. Mist and cover with plastic wrap to retain heat and humidity. Pots can be placed on a heat mat and seedlings should appear in about two weeks. Remove the plastic when germination is apparent. When seedlings are about 5 cm in height, thin to a single sprout. Provide bright, filtered light for seedlings. Gradually acclimate young poppies to the outdoors by hardening them off. Prepare the garden bed and dig planting holes (30-45 cm apart) large enough to accommodate the entire pot. Plant the poppies, backfill with soil and water well.
The planting site should be in full sun to encourage strong growth and abundant blooms. If the site is well-drained, poppies can adapt to many types of soil. They’ll even survive and grow in poor soil, but to achieve outstanding results, the addition of a little organic material will go a long way.
Established poppies require little water to thrive. Too much water can quickly lead to leggy, weak stems. Your watering duties are likely to be taken care of by mother nature if you receive regular rainfall. Deadheading spent flowers will prolong the blooming window. Poppy flowers are not frost tolerant, but their seeds will endure cold winters and sprout reliably next spring.
- California poppy fully thrive in high elevation, around 2,500m.
- A true North American wildflower, California poppies are native to the sunshine state of course, but are also found over wide areas of Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Baja California and Sonora.
- During the 1800s, California poppies spread wild via cargo ships in Chili, Australia and other parts of the world with similar climates.
- Poppy seeds will remain viable for 4 years if stored in a cool, dark place, ideally between 4 and 10⁰C. After that, the germination rate may start to go down.
OUR SEED GUARANTEE
You know that a lush, fruitful garden needs good soil, frequent watering, and sunlight to grow, but it’s the seeds that really make the harvest.
Picked and bagged for 2022, the vast majority of our seeds have germination rates of over 85%. The seeds are all-natural, non-GMO, non-hybrid, untreated, and open-pollinated for seed saving.
We have put a lot of thoughts into the design and packaging of our seed packets. Our seeds are all carefully packed in food grade kraft paper/aluminium zipper lock bags, and then are shipped in eco-friendly padded mailers.
We heat-seal each of our seed packet for even more protection from moisture, odour and light, allowing you to store your seeds for up to 3x longer than paper or plastic. Plant them all, germinate some indoors, save some for next season - it’s up to you!