About California Poppies
The California Poppy, a vigorous bloomer, is highly drought-tolerant and tends to perform well in just about any environment, even arid and inhospitable ones. These beauties are easy to grow and require virtually no care.
When to Plant California Poppy Seeds
We highly recommend sowing seeds directly in the garden at the last spring frost date, but if necessary to start your seeds indoors, do so 2-3 weeks prior to the last frost. California Poppies do not like their roots disturbed and therefore should not be transplanted.
Where to Plant California Poppy Seeds
California Poppies perform best in full sun, in sandy, poor to average, well-drained soils. They are heat and drought tolerant and are lovely additions to beds and borders, containers, rock gardens, and along paths or walkways.
How to Plant California Poppy Seeds
Poppy seeds require a special 2 week treatment called cold stratification prior to planting them. Learn how to cold stratify your seed here.
Poppyseeds require light to germinate, so be careful not to cover them when planting. Learn more about germination light requirements here.
These poppies germinate most successfully in cool to moderate temperatures and they are, in fact, frost tolerant. Poppies flower best under cool spring weather conditions. Bloom decreases on poppies as temperatures increase in summer months. If needed, add 2" of compost to your soil to promote drainage. Sow seeds shallowly with just 1/16" layer of soil to cover them, spaced about 6-8" apart.
How to Care for California Poppies
Seedlings should sprout in 14-21 days. Thin seedlings to about 8"" apart. Poppies should be watered regularly, but they can tolerate dry conditions. It is not necessary to fertilize poppies. It generally takes about 60 to 90 days for poppies to bloom after the seed is planted. This timing depends very much on your growing zone and when you plant, along with Mother Nature’s cooperation. The bloom season for poppies is spring to summer. Poppy plants will bloom for a few weeks, but the length of bloom time can be extended by regular watering and application of mulch for moisture retention, as well as regular deadheading of spent flowers. It is also recommended that the seed be sown in successive plantings to extend the bloom season of the poppies.