Garden Oracle / Drought and Heat Tolerant Gardening / Tucson - Phoenix - Arizona - California

Growing Eschscholzia californica:
California Poppy

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Form: Herb.
Lifespan: Annual to short-lived perennial. Usually grown as annual.
Growth rate: Rapid.
Mature Size: Normally 8" high.
Flowers: Orange-yellow, four petals shaped like a cup, 2" wide. The flowers close on cloudy days and at night and reopen the next morning in sunny conditions.
Bloom: Winter into spring. The blooming period for a group may last up to four months.
Fruit: A long, narrow, grooved seed pod.
Leaves: Feathery, highly-divided, blue-green.
Stems: No thorns.
Roots: It does not transplant once the seed has sprouted, unless it is grown in a small plug and transplanted with a few days of germination.
Wildlife: Attracts bees. Browsed by mammals.
Toxic / Danger: Mildly poisonous if ingested.
Origin: Western United States and Mexico.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 8-10 when grown as perennials.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Full sun.
Water once established: Monthly. Supplemental water may improve blooming but the soil must dry out between waterings.
Soil: Well drained, dry, low organic content, not compacted, pH 5.6-8.5 (acidic to alkaline).
Prune: Deadhead flowers to extend bloom.
Litter: Low.
Propagation: Seed planted in the fall out of the reach of quail. This plant self-seeds easily.
Uses: Ornamental.

This plant, a member of the Poppy family (Papaveraceae), is a highly variable species. It includes the Mexican Poppy as a subspecies — Eschscholzia californica var. mexicana. Other common names are Golden Poppy and California Golden Poppy. This is the state flower of California. While it freely reseeds, and can cover an entire hillside in a few years in a favorable climate, it can be pushed out by more invasive species such as mustard.
This plant is not closely related to the poppies that produce seeds used for cooking.

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Eschscholzia californica: California Poppy - flowers

Eschscholzia californica: California Poppy

Latest update: February, 2019
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