Explore Plants

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 

Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
1 rating

Sunday - May 25, 2008

From: Denver, CO
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Propagation
Title: Planting time for California poppies in Colorado
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in Colorado and planted California Poppies in my front yard at the end of April. I read that I probably should have planted them in the fall. There have sprouted a little but they don't seem to be nearing a bloom. Will I still get blooms this year? If so, when?

ANSWER:

Eschscholzia californica (California poppy) is a native of California, but has spread to most of the country. It is found naturally in grassy and open areas from sea level to 6500 ft. so it should be okay in Denver. This species is said to be a “drought escaper” because it lies dormant as seed for what might be years in some areas. When a good rain comes, seeds rapidly take root and flower. Individual populations have adapted to their particular local conditions. In the native range, where it is dry or there are cold hard winters, this species is an annual (living only one year and then reseeding). Outside of these areas, plants develop a tap root, for energy storage, and live beyond a year. Probably where you are, these poppies would be treated as annuals, but they readily reseed. In natural conditions, Eschscholzia californica (California poppy) blooms most heavily from March to May, but with supplemental watering that can be extended. The webpage lists bloom time as February to October. The propagation instructions on our webpage for this species says seeding should be in the Fall, where the plants are to grow, as they do not transplant well. Since you planted your seeds right in the middle of their normal blooming period, you probably will not get much, if anything, in the way of blooms this year. However, you notice that the seeds can stay alive in the soil through a cold winter, so some of the seeds you planted may very well show up as blooming plants next year. With good conditions, some of your seedlings might get big enough to bloom this year, because the urge to reproduce is very strong, and they need to flower in order to set seed. You have the option of hoping that will happen and, also, that some of the dormant seeds will come up next year, as well as to plant more seeds this Fall.

 

 

More Propagation Questions

Transplanting an immature Sweet Bay Magnolia
May 30, 2006 - Hi Mr. Smarty Pants: I just found what I think is a Magnolia Sweet Bay growing wild next to an oak and a pine tree in my back wooded yard. It has blooms on it and is about 2 feet tall. There are tw...
view the full question and answer

Saving seeds of western red cedar from Monroe WA
June 06, 2011 - I would like to know how to save and store seeds of western redcedar if not planning on planting them their current year.
view the full question and answer

How to grow milkweeds (Asclepias spp.) for monarch butterflies
March 31, 2010 - I tried and tried and tried to grow Asclepias viridis, A. asperula and even A. oenotheroides from seeds and even tubers for fourteen years! Do you have advice for growing these and other milkweed plan...
view the full question and answer

Propagation by seed of Capsicum annuum
June 21, 2007 - I have always been told that the only way that a seed from a chili pequin pepper can germinate is that it has to be eaten by a bird and passed through it's digestive system. I have heard that there i...
view the full question and answer

Century plant offshoots in Denver
January 01, 2009 - Each year I get a small "baby" Century Plants in the early winter..December - January, But it dies off before summer. We live in Denver, CO My main plant is doing fine. Also, should I cut the lo...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.