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 Pruning Questions

Mimosa shape
November 27, 2007 - I planted a summer chocolate mimosa, and although it has bloomed lovely foliage, it has two main branches growing in a vee shape. Is this normal? Do I need to do anything to spur the growth in a more ...
view the full question and answer

Should wax myrtles (Morella cerifera) be pruned?
April 26, 2007 - We planted Wax Myrtles in our backyard as a wall for privacy from the lot behind ours. Should we prune or cut back the tops periodically to get more fully developed bushes or let them grow naturally?
view the full question and answer

Trimming American beautyberry in Austin
December 20, 2009 - I have recently developed an interest in plants and since I work for a country club taking care of all the House & Grounds Maintenance, the landscaping is certainly a part of my work. I have a questi...
view the full question and answer

Deadheading cannas and geraniums
August 17, 2007 - I'm new to gardening. Your help would be appreciated. 1) I think I read that canna flowers can be deadheaded so they will continue to bloom throughout the summer. What part is actually taken off? ...
view the full question and answer

How to prune wild mustang grape vines.
July 11, 2011 - Now that my mustang grapes are harvested. When can I trim them out of the tree top and redirect them to an arbor where I can reach them next year? The main vine is at least 3" across. The vines from...
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