How to Plant California Poppies


California poppies are easy to grow and can brighten the home garden with their sunny, golden flowers. It is no wonder that they are California’s official state flower. These plants grow to be about 12 to 18 inches tall and that makes them a favorite for the middle of a flowerbed. They also grow well in containers. In California it is illegal to damage poppies so do not take them from the wild. Instead, buy seeds from a reputable garden supply company. While California poppies are perennials, they reseed themselves and are treated as annuals in climates with harsh winters.



things you’ll need:
  • California poppy seeds
  • Shovel
  • Rake
    1. Prepare the spot where the California poppies will grow. This flower does well in bad soil so they are good to fill in the spaces where nothing else will grow.
    2. Prepare the soil. Break up the soil with a shovel and then use a rake to smooth out the flowerbed.
    3. Sow the seeds in early spring. Scatter them over the surface of the garden bed and rake them in. The seeds should be barely covered.
    4. Water the flowerbed. Be gentle and use a light sprinkler so as to not wash the seeds away.
    5. When the California poppy seedlings emerge, space them about 12 inches apart.
    6. Water the California poppy plants only if the soil is very dry. These plants are drought tolerant.
    7. Divide the California poppies every five years by digging them up splitting them and replanting them or giving them away.
    8. Allow California poppies to reseed themselves. When winters are too cold for the California poppy to survive the winter, leave the dead flowers on the plant and allow them to produce seed. Then, the plant will come back the following spring.

Tips & Warnings

  • Too much fertilizer will encourage foliage over flowers. That is why California poppies do best in poor soil.

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