California Poppy

Yellow California poppy flowers

Bright and cheerful, but often overlooked, the California poppy is an annual whose seeds should be planted in the fall—you’ll be rewarded with lovely blooms in the spring. Its pretty, paper-like flowers come in bright cheerful colors like orange, red, yellow, and pink.

Choose varieties suited for your area, and start seeds in the fall for spring blooms. You can sow them directly in the ground, or in small pots or cell packs. Aphids may feed on the tender new shoots, so watch for these pests and use a horticultural soap spray as needed.

California poppy (Eschscholzia californica) is fairly drought-tolerant, but grows best with weekly waterings. Your poppies may be damaged by severe freezes, but usually grow back from buds near the ground. The California poppy will grow to around eighteen inches tall, with fern-like, blue-green leaves. Use as a cool season groundcover or in containers ; the plants spread out over the surface of the ground and over the edge of pots. They may need an occasional light trimming to keep it neat.

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