plant quick find clear
As the state flower of California, California poppies are native to many meadows and prairies there and elsewhere. In a home garden setting they are typically treated as an annual flower, but California poppies will happily reseed in the garden for years to come. Even when not in bloom, these plants feature soft foliage tufts that can be quite stunning throughout the garden.
Upload your photo here.
6 to 12 inches
Up to 1 foot wide
California poppies are often found in bright sunset tones, with the most common color being bright orange. The four-petal blooms almost shimmer in a certain light. There are also varieties that bear eye-catching bicolor blossoms. Many of these blend ivory with flushes of pink, purple, and even yellow. Some varieties exhibit a second row of petals for a lovely double-flower effect, and others feature twisted petals. The flowers of the California poppy will close at night and on overcast and windy days. The blue-gray foliage makes a pretty statement against plants with darker leaves.
California Poppy Care Must-Knows
Being native to hillsides, sandy plains, and other open areas of the mountainous regions of western North America, California poppies require well-drained soil. Sandy or rocky soils are best, and anything that remains too wet can kill off poppies. Being native to sandy, well-drained soils also means that California poppies do not require a lot of added nutrients or even nutrient-rich soil to thrive.
For best results, grow California poppies in full sun. This practice will ensure plants put on the best display of blossoms, as well as the densest habit possible. In their native areas, California poppies are often seen as cool-season annuals because they will put on their primary display of blooms in spring, and possibly a second show in fall. In very warm climates, they may not survive in the full heat of summer. In these situations it may be best to provide some shade—especially from the hot afternoon sun.
Sow California poppy seeds directly in the ground. If California poppies are happy where you've planted them, there is a good chance they will seed the ground on their own and sprout up year after year. If this is your goal, be sure to leave spent blossoms on plants so they can disperse their seeds.