Driving around town, you may be seeing lots of California poppies (Eschscholzia californica) popping up everywhere. If you are a California resident, you may also know that the California poppy is our state flower. On March 2, 1903 the California poppy, became the official state flower of California (Ca. Government Code Section 421). The plant's bright orange flowers are an unmatched symbol of the Golden State, perhaps viewed as a floral representation of the “fields of gold” sought during the gold rush.
Since we here at Secret Garden Landscapes are obsessed with pollinators, we also love to grow poppies as they attract numerous varieties of native bees. Beetles and butterflies also visit these flowers for the flower's pollen. California poppies don't actually have nectar but they have tons of pollen making them pollinator generalists (attracting a wide variety of pollinator insects). Adding California poppies to your garden will allow you to experience the joys of watching numerous pollinators flit throughout your garden.
Many of our clients want to grow poppies in their own yard as they have a nostalgic attachment to the flower. Although you can get seedlings from a nursery, they are best grown from seed as they do not like their roots to be disturbed. They love sunny spots and don't need to be planted near water sources as they will bloom from our winter/spring rains. You can sew the seeds in fall for an early spring display. To get longer blooms you can also sew seeds from March-May for later season blooms. When spreading the poppy seeds, just spread them out and avoid covering the seeds with soil. California poppies are truly an easy plant to grow. Happy Gardening!