Wild California poppies are bright orange.

Even after so many pretty shades of yellow, red, pink and and white have been been developed, the natural orange of the native California poppy, Eschscholzia californica, is still the best. That is probably why they all eventually revert to orange after reseeding. Although native, they do not reseed everywhere, and actually seem to be more reliable in unrefined and unamended areas of the garden than in rich soil with generous irrigation. However, a bit of watering can prolong sporadic bloom until autumn. Bloom otherwise ends before warm summer weather.

California poppy is grown as an annual because the perennial plants get tired rather quickly. They fortunately self sow prolifically. Flowers are typically about two inches wide, with four petals. The intricately lobed leaves are slightly bluish. Foliage is not much more than half a foot deep.

6 thoughts on “California Poppy

    1. If it blooms, it is probably quite happy. It just does not live for very long. In the wild, they bloom briefly as winter ends, and then disappear for another year. That is why the Super Bloom of the Mojave Desert last only for a few days. That is how chaparral and desert plants operate. They can live through most of summer if irrigated regularly, but can get grungy after a month or so too. Alternatively, the first plants toss seed for subsequent generations that continue until autumn.


      1. Somehow, that does not surprise me. Although, it does sort of make one wonder how it became used as such, since essences have been developed for centuries, and California poppies were only popularized about two centuries ago. I suppose it does not take long to figure out what they are good for. They are exquisite flowers in the landscape, but are even more so in the wild. Their natural settings says a lot about their personality. I know that they are now popular everywhere, and that they are more prolific in gardens, but they are worth seeing in the wild too.

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