Eschscholzia californica. Plant Mission Bells California poppy seeds in spring for summer blooms. Sow them in the fall, and they will be among the first flowers in bloom the following spring. Attractive flowers in gold, white, red, and orange appear above finely cut grey green foliage. California poppies are extremely rugged and drought resistant, so they are ideal for xeriscaping - and look splendid in large plantings. Deer won't bother with these tough flowers, either. This species is actually a short-lived perennial, but is treated as an annual. They will self sow to some degree, but the range of colours diminishes from year to year, so fresh seed is a good idea.
These hardy, but short-lived perennial plants are usually grown as annuals. Grows to 5–60 in (13–152 cm) tall, with alternately branching, glaucous, blue-green foliage. The leaves are divided into round, lobed segments. Blooms are solitary on long stems which are silky-textured each with four petals. Flower colours range from yellow to orange, flowering from early spring through to fall. The petals close at night or in the cold, windy weather and open again the following morning. Flowers will remain closed in cloudy weather as well. Continue reading below for tips on how to grow California poppies from seed.
Season & Zone
Exposure: Full sun
Zone: Hardy in Zone 8, but usually grown as an annual
Direct sow outdoors in spring after the local last frost date. Otherwise direct sow in autumn. It can be started indoors, but does not like being transplanted.
Sow seeds 5mm (¼”) deep, spaced 20-25cm (8-10″) apart. Seeds should sprout in 14-21 days.
Grow in any average, well-drained soil. Deadhead regularly to prevent self sowing. California poppies are very likely to self sow when conditions are favourable.