Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

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
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 Species List for Ponca OK
June 24, 2011 - I planted daylilies in my Austin garden and did not do well. I moved these daylilies to my garden in Ponca City Oklahoma and have done outstanding relying only on mother nature's rain. My garden in ...
view the full question and answer

What to plant between patio flagstones in Austin, TX?
May 16, 2011 - I would like to plant something between my flagstones on the patio. Something that doesn't require a lot of water, low growing, and can stand a little to moderate traffic. It is in a shade to partly...
view the full question and answer

Drought tolerant ground cover for Midlothian, TX
June 17, 2012 - I'm looking for a fast, low ground cover. That is drought tolerant for a large slope.
view the full question and answer

Native perennials for Missouri City, TX
March 19, 2014 - I checked all the questions for my area and still need help. What are some native perennials for southeast Texas
view the full question and answer

Source for silver ponyfoot from Temple TX
March 19, 2013 - Where can I purchase dichondra argentea -- I live in Bell Co. but am willing to come to Austin if need be. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.