California Poppy

©2007 Publications International, Ltd. California poppy is an See more pictures of annual flowers.

In the wild, California poppy is an orange annual flower that carpets California hillsides in early spring. Garden forms are hardy annuals that grow in a broad range of golden colors.

Description of California poppy: Leaves are threadlike and lacy, growing in one-foot mounds that elongate as branching plants begin to flower. Each one- to three-inch poppylike flower has four or more silky petals, sometimes bicolored or rippled. The color run is buff, yellow, orange, peach, red, and pink.


Growing California poppy: Grow the California poppy in any well-drained soil in full sun. Thin to ten inches apart. Pinch back and deadhead to prolong flowering.

Propagating California poppy: Start seeds outdoors where they will grow, about four weeks before the danger of frost ends in spring. In climates with mild winters, plant seeds in late fall.

Uses for California poppy: California poppy is excellent for drifts of color in beds, borders, and meadow gardens. Flowers self-sow freely when planted where they are well suited.

California poppy related species: E. caespitosa Sundew is only six inches tall and loaded with little yellow flowers on feathery tufts of greenish-white foliage. E. mexicana has large reddish-orange flowers and self-sows strongly.

California poppy related varieties: Thai Silk is a standard mix of large poppies in varied colors. Champagne and Roses has large pink blooms with fluted petals.

Scientific name of California poppy: Eschscholzia californica

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