En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

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
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
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.


Eschscholzia californica

Eschscholzia californica

Eschscholzia californica

Eschscholzia californica

 

 

More Propagation Questions

Dying branches on Texas Mountain Laurel from Kempner TX
September 14, 2012 - The branches on my Texas Mountain Laurel are very dry and brittle. The leaves are also starting to die. The tree has been in my yard for six years and prior to that it sat wrapped in burlap for ov...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of cardinal flower with variegated leaves from Wakefield RI
August 21, 2013 - I purchased cardinal flower seeds from the Brandywine museum & have had great success for over a decade. Recently I spotted one cardinal flower with variegated leaves. Is this a plant worth propagatin...
view the full question and answer

Will horseherb (Calyptocarpus vialis) survive planting in July
July 14, 2008 - I live in Southwest Austin and I am planting horseherb groundcover in my back yard that is part-shade. Can I plant this right now (July) or is it too hot to plant?
view the full question and answer

Killing a century plant from Burton TX
August 08, 2013 - How do you kill the century plant, they are taking over?
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Limonium limbatum
September 04, 2013 - I have a Limonium limbatum but do not know how to propagate the plant. Can you help with this?
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center