Growing Californian Poppies – Eschscholzia

I like a brash colour in the garden and you can’t beat my favourite annual Californian Poppy. Eschscholzia californica is a bit of a mouthful but Californian Poppies and their family are well worth the effort.
Californian Poppy
The Californian poppy is an easy to grow hardy annual, which thrives in well drained sunny positions.

Growing Eschscholzia Tips and Hints.

  • Eschscholzia doesn’t like being transplanted at all, so it is best to sow in open ground. Eschscholzia have long soft tap roots that are easily damaged so take great care if you have to transplant them.
  • The main criteria for growing the Californian poppy is a well drained soil and sunny exposure.
  • Eschscholzia doesn’t need feeding and can thrive in the thinnest of soils. Gravel gardens are ideal.
  • They can be sown in October or early spring.
  • If they enjoy the conditions of your garden, it will freely self seed; it can even become a little invasive, although it is fairly easy to weed through just a light raking.
  • It is worth thinning the seedlings so that individual plants become stronger.

Varieties of Californian Poppies

  • When sowing Californian poppies I would recommend choosing single coloured varieties such as Golden Values, Red Chief, Sun Shades or the cream coloured Milk Maid.
  • The orange is my favourite colour and Rosebud Orange is a ‘dazzling orange, extra large, double and semi-double, rose-bud like blooms smother bushy, compact plants with silvery-green, feathery foliage. Creates an eye-catching display, when sown as drifts in borders in any garden soil, or in large containers on a sunny patio.’
  • For a mixed colour range try Fruit Crush ‘A captivating mixture of upward facing blooms in a bold blend of citrus and berry shades. These dainty hardy annuals are tougher than they appear and positively thrive on poor, dry soils. The papery flowers attract bees and hoverflies, and make excellent, if short-lived, cut flowers.’

Californian poppies Poppies are available from Thompson & Morgan.

Californian poppies grow well from seed sown direct into the ground.

Californian poppy

Description of Eschscholzia Species

  • The leaves are fine deeply cut grey green almost frilly.
  • The flowers are single with 4 petals in white, yellow, cream and orange.
  • Flowers open in the sun and close at night or in gloomy conditions.
  • 12 Varieties are listed in Wikipedia and horticultural texts.
    • Eschscholzia californica—California Poppy
    • Eschscholzia elegans
    • Eschscholzia caespitosa—Tufted Poppy, Foothill Poppy, Collarless California Poppy
    • Eschscholzia glyptosperma
    • Eschscholzia hypecoides
    • Eschscholzia lemmonii
    • Eschscholzia lobbii
    • Eschscholzia minutiflora
    • Eschscholzia palmeri
    • Eschscholzia parishii
    • Eschscholzia ramosa
    • Eschscholzia rhombipetala

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