California Poppies in full bloom at Ridge Winery in Cupertino, California.

California Poppies in full bloom at Ridge Winery in Cupertino, California.

california poppies

Sunlight Full sun
Maturity 55-75 days from seed to flower
Height 4 to 12 inches

FUN facts

The California Poppy was discovered in 1816 by Adelbert von Chamisso, a naturalist aboard the Russian exploring ship The Rurick. Chamisso named the California poppy Eschscholzia californica in honor of the ship's entomologist, J. F. Eschscholtz.

The California Poppy is native to the Pacific slope of North America from Western Oregon to Baja California.

On March 2, 1903 the California poppy became the official state flower of California.

California Poppy Day is observed on April 6th.

Poppies close each night and on cloudy days.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

California Poppies blooming in Pacific Grove, California.

California Poppies blooming in Pacific Grove, California.

Where should I plant my poppy seeds?
Plant your California poppy seeds in rich, fast-draining soil with access to ample water and full sunshine. If you have less than those desirable conditions, that’s okay! Poppies can adapt to poor soil conditions and periods of drought.

When should I plant them?
Poppies don't like to have their roots disturbed, so it's best to sow seeds directly in your garden in the early spring when the soil is cool, or in the fall before the ground freezes.

How do I plant them?
California poppy seeds are very easy to grow! Simply toss them in the soil (no need to plant each individually) and cover with no more than a quarter-inch deep of soil. No supplemental watering is required, unless the growing season is exceptionally dry.

When will my poppies bloom?
If you live in an area that experiences higher temperatures in the summer, poppies will bloom in the spring and early summer. Afterwards, the tops will die back and the plants will become dormant for the rest of the summer. In cooler coastal climates, California Poppies may bloom most of the summer.

How do I get more blooms?
To extend the flowering season, pinch off the flowers as they begin to fade and this will encourage new flowers to form. However, poppies are self-seeding year to year, so be sure to leave some of the faded blooms on the plants.

I have too many poppies!
Nonsense! However, if you want to control spreading, remove all flowers before they go to seed.

Is it illegal to pick California Poppies?
Most of us Californians grew up believing it is illegal to pick California Poppies, because it is the state flower. As it turns out, that is somewhat of a myth! While there is no law protecting the California Poppy specifically, it is illegal to remove or damage plants from property that a person does not own. Without written permission from the landowner, such actions may constitute trespassing and/or petty theft.

However, these laws do not prevent the collection of California Poppies on land that you own. But they do not make good cutting flowers for arrangements and wilt quickly. The blooms last much longer in the ground, so enjoy them where they’re planted!