UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA
University of California
UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA

Water Wise Plants

Eschscholzia californica

esh-SHOLZ-ee-ah cal-ih-FOR-nih-kah
Common Name
California Poppy
Plant Type
Mature Size
6 in. wide and 6 in. to 12 in. tall
Water Requirements
Low: water every three weeks until the root ball is wet
Sun/Shade Requirements
Full sun
  • Bees
  • Beneficials
Flower Color
Bright orange, golden, pale yellow, red, cream, rose
Maintenance- Design- Planting Tips

California poppies look great in wild areas and are lovely massed. They make excellent temporary fillers in new beds and landscapes. 

California poppies can get by with almost no summer water, but they tend to look shabby and weedy under these conditions. To encourage continuous bloom, provide moderate amounts of water and trim the plants back to almost ground level when the foliage turns grey, and the plants lose their flowers.

Although California poppies are perennials in the Santa Clara Valley, they can be treated as annuals. California poppies can be problematic because they are aggressive reseeders. They should be heavily thinned even in desired areas and removed entirely when undesired. They can reach one and a half feet wide in size and can smother other plants.

Most retail nurseries and many hardware stores sell seeds for California poppies. Some mail order companies are good sources for some of the less common varieties of these California natives. Plant seeds in the fall for a spring show. Be sure to cover seeds with mulch to hide them from the birds and water regularly until they sprout if the winter rains have not arrived.

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