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
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - July 10, 2013

From: Berkeley, CA
Region: California
Topic: Pruning, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Care of poppy plants
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

I bought a tiny poppy grow kit at Target for 99 cents. Amazingly, they have grown into numerous large and very healthy plants, though they don't all appear to be the same species. Some have grown to 3' tall and are bigger than I planned for my small garden. Can I trim them while they are still blooming without causing damage? If so, how? Thank you.

ANSWER:

Consider yourself very lucky.  My wife bought a $4.95 poppy seed packet from a reputable seed company, and nothing ever came up.

You might have red Flanders poppies from Europe or some other exotic kind.  Opium poppy???  Our expertise does not go beyond plants native to the United States. If the blooms are orange, it will probably be Eschscholzia californica (California poppy), the state flower of California.  This plant is a native of California and is usually treated as an annual plant, grown each year from seed.  But it does not often grow as high as 3'.  Once it finishes blooming, that's usually it for the year.  I doubt that pruning any poppy plant would be successful, except perhaps for clipping off the spent flowers.  With a lot of loving care you might nurse it through until next year, but your best bet would be to buy another $.99 seed packet and start all over. 

 

From the Image Gallery


California poppy
Eschscholzia californica

California poppy
Eschscholzia californica

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Native plants for pots for wedding in November
October 03, 2006 - Will any of the plants that are in your big plant sale be flowering in November? I am looking for plants that would do well in pots because I'd like to use them as center pieces at a wedding (in Aus...
view the full question and answer

Magnolia species are allelopathic
August 02, 2014 - Have a healthy Southern Magnolia tree around 8 years old. It seems like everything I plant next to it dies.: Variegated Spirea, Stokes Aster, Hydrangeas. Is there something it secretes like the waln...
view the full question and answer

Ecosysystem with pecan at center from Austin
February 21, 2014 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I would like to create a native tree guild around a mature pecan. It shares its space with native shrubs and ephemerals but I would like to add a nitrogen fixing plant. I am...
view the full question and answer

Drought Tolerant Shrubs and Perennials in San Jose, CA
July 18, 2013 - Hello I am a SLT home owner in San Jose, Ca. and want to plant drought tolerant shrubs and perennials. We don't have irrigation but plan to put a timer on a nozzle and run some lines. At least I am t...
view the full question and answer

Low plants to cover bank too steep to mow
June 26, 2008 - I have a bank along the road that is too steep to mow. This bank faces east and only gets 2 - 4 hours per day of sunlight. I'd like to try ground cover to prevent erosion, however visibility is a p...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center