Tips For Growing a California Poppy

The California poppy is one of the most popular garden flowers, easily spotted on the natural landscape of the West Coast. It comes in an amazing variety of vibrant colors such as gold, orange, yellow, white, cream and scarlet. Growing the poppy flower is fairly easy and it is generally successful when propagated. Fortunately, the plant is rarely troubled by pests or disease, making it a fairly suitable flower to propagate and maintain.


The flowers will do best when planted outside—in fact, they will not thrive indoors as they are not quite adapted to inside conditions. Avoid planting poppies in containers and pots as the heavy watering followed by drying out is not ideal for their well-being.

Planting them outdoors in the garden assures them of even moisture, which is more to their liking. Locate an area of your garden that receives full sunlight. California poppies need plenty of sunlight to thrive.


California poppies are not a fussy plant and will grow well even in poor soils. It is however advisable to enrich the soils with organic manure during the planting stage. Organic matter will also help in providing good soil drainage which will encourage healthy plant growth and lovely blooming. The poppies need excellent drainage so this is critical when deciding what soils you choose to plant in. Clay soils are not suitable because of the poor drainage and are unlikely to sustain healthy growth of California poppies.

Direct Seeding

Poppies prefer not to have their roots disturbed which makes direct seeding the best option when planting. Avoid planting in seed beds then transplanting later. The poppies are unlikely to manage the transition well and plant failure may result.

It is best to sow in early spring when soil moisture is still available in good amount. Alternatively, you can also sow in the fall but make sure it is early enough so that you avoid freezing grounds. The seeds usually germinate in 10 to 15 days.


It is best to apply water moderately as the California poppy is a drought tolerant plant. Excessive watering will hinder the growth of the plants as they are not able to cope with too much water. However, if you live in a very dry area, you will have to water more frequently. Keeping soil moist is especially important during the planting stage as it will encourage the germination of seeds. Apply water moderately until the plants sprout. Once they become established they develop their drought resistant capability so you need not water frequently thereafter.


The California poppy does not require much fertilizer. Apply a fair amount of fertilizer during the planting stage. Once the seeds sprout, it takes just a short while before the plants bloom. You need not apply fertilizer once the plants are established. Too much fertilizer will affect flowering and your poppies will not develop abundant and healthy blossoms.