Californian Poppy Mission Bells 120 seeds

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Californian poppy seeds, Eschscholzia californica is a very popular annual here in the UK, the official flower of California. It does tolerate drought very well. Mission Bells has Very wide range of colours; which look like rose buds, almost like double flowers of the traditional poppy. The plants are around 30 cm tall and the flowers are 4 - 6 cm across.

How to Grow the California Poppy in the UK

Features and Highlights of the California Poppy

The California poppy plant (Eschscholzia californica) is a hardy herbaceous flower. It is the official state flower of California and is generally considered to be an annual. However, for many parts of the UK, it is considered to be a perennial! Though native to the southwestern US and parts of Mexico, this plant happily grows in RHS regions H6 – H2 (USDA zones 6 through 10).

Growth Habit

The plant’s foliage consists of feathery, fibre-like leaves which have a dense habit of growth. Mature plants grow to be about 20 to 30 cm (8 to 12 inches) tall with a 15 to 20 cm (6 to 8 inch) spread.

Flower Description

The delightfully cheerful flowers of the California poppy range from golden yellow to bright orange to deep red. Other more rare or assorted colours may include peach sorbet, pink, and white.

Each flower features four silky petals that emanate from a pollen-laden, yellowy centre. Individual flowers sit perched atop long and slender stems that easily sway with the breeze. Flowering stems stand a little taller than the surrounding foliage.

Deadhead spent flowers to encourage continued growth throughout the season. It’s worth noting that cut flowers do tend to fade quickly, so they are best enjoyed on the plant. The plant flowers prolifically and is therefore useful for drawing native pollinators like bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds into your garden, as well as other beneficial insects.

Fruiting

As late fall approaches, flowers will give way to small capsule-like fruits. As the season comes to a close and plants wither, seeds will burst forth from individual pods, facilitating a self-seeding process for the following year. California poppies can easily spread if allowed to do so.

Botanical Uses

The California poppy has potent medicinal properties that may improve mood, help with relaxation, and induce sleep. Fresh or dried flowers can be brewed for tea or used topically in homemade cosmetics. As such, it is a great plant to have in the herb garden. However, special care, research, and the supervision of an herbalist should be sought before consuming or using any part of the plant.

How to Use the California Poppy in Your Landscape

California poppies will appreciate the sunniest and warmest parts of your garden. They are an excellent option for naturalised areas like open meadows and splendorous wildflower settings. Another remarkable feature is that they are excellent for erosion control and are therefore a good option for sloped lots and embankments.

However, it should be noted that the California poppy may be toxic in large quantities and should not be planted where foraging livestock animals range. It should also not be planted too close to the coast if other wild poppies are present, as cross-pollination can destroy local varieties. If you live along the coast, consider growing the Yellow Horned-poppy (Glaucium flavum) instead, as it is native to many parts of Europe, including the UK.

Of course, further inland the California poppy can be used along private walkways, in mixed planter beds, and as attractive low borders. Even if you don’t have a large allotment, you can always grow them in decorative pots on your patio or balcony.

Other appealing plants to consider growing with your California poppies include lavender, sage, rose, and hydrangea. You can add even more visual interest by placing large decorative stones in your garden area. No matter where you decide to plant your California poppies, they will brighten your property and add lots of joyful kerb appeal.

Growing California Poppies from Seed

Starting California poppy seeds is pretty straightforward. However, it should be noted that they are a little fussy about their roots. For this reason, most growers feel that they should be sown directly into the ground in spring as soon as the weather permits it.

However, according to the Royal Horticultural Society, people do have success with germinating California poppy seeds indoors and then carefully transplanting them outside.

To start your California poppy seeds early, germinate your flower seeds a few weeks before the risk of frost is due to pass for your region. Here in the UK, this is anytime between mid-March to late-April.

To begin the process, gather your supplies. In a seed tray with multiple cells, add a mixture of rich compost and well-draining soil. Place one small seed per cell and sprinkle it with a thin layer of compost. After watering, cover your seed tray with a clear top to create a moist environment.

Temperature

To start your California poppy seeds, grow them in an area where temperatures consistently remain above 15°C (59°F). You can use heating mats and a soil thermometer to maintain the desired temperature. After about 10 to 20 days, your seeds will have sprouted. You can then remove any tray covers you were using. Also, be sure to remove heating mats and instead use overhead grow lights for warmth. As long as temperatures range from 10° to 24° C (50° to 75° F), your California poppy plants will continue to grow and thrive.

Lighting Needs

When starting these flower seeds early and inside, use full spectrum grow lights to nurture optimal growth. Poppy seedlings need at least 6 to 8 hours of light daily.

Transplanting Outside

Older seedlings may be transferred into a bright cold frame or greenhouse when they are a couple of weeks old, so long as temperatures remain warm. Thereafter, your poppies can be transferred outside and into the ground after all risk of frost has passed. Be careful not to disturb their roots as you transplant them. Gorgeous flowers should arrive by summer or the first part of autumn.

How to Plant and Nurture Your California Poppy Plants

California poppies are not just beautiful, they’re tough too. They are celebrated for their resilience, versatility, and low maintenance. Typically, they do not suffer from pests or disease. However, if your plants are placed in the shade or become waterlogged, they may succumb to disease.

Sunlight Requirements

The California poppy plants need full sun, at least 6 to 8 hours daily. Also, be mindful not to let other plants crowd around them or cast shade upon them.

Watering Needs

California poppies are naturally drought tolerant and once established need very little watering. However, potted plants may need more watering than in-ground plants. If your plants start to wilt or begin to turn brown after a prolonged absence of rain, you can water them deeply about once or twice a week.

Airflow and Humidity

It should also be noted that these plants prefer relatively low ambient humidity and plenty of airflow. As such, they are not good candidates for prolonged life in a humid greenhouse. They like to feel the “wind in their hair” so to speak. In high moisture climates, the California poppy may succumb to mildew, rot, and otherwise fail to thrive. To better facilitate airflow, plant them about 15 to 23 cm (6 to 9 inches) apart.

Soil and Fertiliser Needs

The California poppy plant isn’t picky. It can grow in variable poor soil, so long as it is well-draining. Even sandy or rocky soil is fine. However, avoid heavy clay soil, as it does not drain well. Additionally, these plants tolerate variable pH and do NOT require feeding. In fact, doing so may cause poor flowering.

With its irresistible charm, low-maintenance versatility, and unrivalled beauty, it’s no wonder that the California poppy has become more popular than ever among garden enthusiasts. Why not bring the magic of this lovely plant into your home garden this year?

Re - seeding

Poppies do produce a lot of seeds and californian poppy is no exception. In the autumn you can collect the dry seed heads and dry them out a bit more indoors to save the seeds for next year. Also if you forget about it the californian poppy seeds will scatter around in the garden around the base of the old plants and soon you will have new plants growing, do not dicard these as they can overwinter if they germinate in the autumn, as the plants are strong and can tolerate temperatures as low as zero Celsius and even slightly below, so if you grow your poppies in a sheltered spot they can for certain overwinter and you can have poppy flowers much earlier in late spring - early summer.

 

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