En Español

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Why is non-native peach tree not going dormant in Owensville IN
December 19, 2011 - I have a peach tree I grew from a peach pit. It is about 2 years old. I planted the tree in my yard this summer. It is now about 3' tall. My problem is it is not going dormant. We have had several fr...
view the full question and answer

Planting a pair of Viburnum nudum var. cassinoides for fruiting
October 19, 2008 - I'd like to plant a pair of witherod viburnums to improve their fruiting. Can I get the cross-pollination with a v. cassanoides together with a v. nudum? How close together do they need to be? (Ca...
view the full question and answer

Will hand pollination of red plum tree result in fruits?
February 24, 2014 - Red Plum is blooming but no bees to pollinate & no associate plum trees near by. Can flowers be pollinated by hand with q-tip?
view the full question and answer

Comparative speeds of flowering from seeds or bulbs
March 24, 2006 - Does a seed flower grow faster than a bulb flower?
view the full question and answer

Growing Green milkweed vine from seed
July 29, 2015 - I was given some seed for the pearl milkweed vine which I intend to plant, but I can find no information on whether to stratify or scarify them or just plant them. I know some milkweeds require strati...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center