Masses of beautiful silky flowers in various shades of gold, one of the loveliest of all naturalised flowers. Eschscholzia is the state flower of California, where it covers the hills of the Napa Valley.
Grown en masse, with the fine dissected foliage making a tangle of stems, they are fascinating to the eye and are breathtaking in massed plantings or containers. The flowers are extremely attractive to bees and butterflies.
Eschscholzia californica gives continuous bloom from mid summer until frosts and should be grown in full sun, to encourage blooming. The flowers will not open in shade. Perfect for ground cover or in a natural cottage garden type setting, it must be sown directly as it will not tolerate being transplanted.
Eschscholzia are one of the easiest and most colourful annuals to grow, they bloom profusely over a very long season, succeed in all soils and garden positions and are heat and drought-resistant. They will give a garden performance second to none!
Sowing: Sow direct in spring
This species does well in all areas, and although it is considered a perennial in hot areas, it is grown as an annual in temperate zones. They do not perform as well in areas where temperatures get below minus 4°C (25°F). If the plants are in an area that will not receive frosts, they can be planted earlier in the year, around February. Seeds are usually broadcast in spring, but in warm areas can also be sown in the autumn.
Eschscholzia have a long taproot and dislike transplanting, so it is better to sow them directly outdoors where they are to flower. They do best in an open sunny open site as the blooms do not open in shade but will grow in most soils.
Prepare the ground well and rake to a fine tilth before sowing. Mark the sowing areas with a ring of light coloured sand and label if sowing more than one annual in the same bed. Sow seeds in short drills 1mm (1/8th in) deep in rows 30cm (12in) apart once temperatures reach around 20°C (68°F).
Seeds germinate in two weeks. The seedlings will appear in rows a few weeks after planting and can be told from nearby weed seedlings quite easily. Thin the seedlings out so they are finally 10 to 15cm (4 to 6 in) apart by early summer.
Alternatively, leave them to grow as small clumps, of 4 to 6 plants every 30cm (12in) or so. Keep the compost slightly moist, but not wet at all times especially in warm temperatures.
Prefers well drained soil enriched with manure or compost ahead of planting. Feeding is rarely needed but water well if there are prolonged periods of drought. Apply complete plant food as growth begins in the spring.
Remove spent flowers to encourage prolific blooming. At the end of the season, if required, leave a few plants to die down and self seed. Others can be pulled up and composted.
Cottage/Informal Garden, Prairie Planting, Wildlife Gardens, Flower Borders and Beds, Container Gardening.
Eschscholzia is native to the west of North America and is also found growing in southern France, Australia and Chile.
Once the California Gold Rush ended, miners set sail for new opportunities in Chile, New Zealand, and Australia. Using sand from the bluffs at San Francisco as ballast for their ships, they transported poppy seeds to these other places.
Eschscholzia is the state flower of California. The species appear in various shades of gold and cover the hills of the Napa Valley in summer. It was designated the state flower of California on December 12th 1890 and is now protected by state law prohibiting anyone from picking or destroying it.
The genus name Eschscholzia is named for Johann Friedrich Eschscholtz (1793 -1831) a Livonian physician, botanist, zoologist and entomologist. He was one of the first and most important scientists in the exploration of the Pacific, Alaska, and California.
Born in Dorpat (now Tartu) in the Russian Empire. He studied medicine at the local University of Dorpat, and spending the main part of his career there: extraordinary professor of anatomy (1819), director of the zoological cabinet (1822), and professor of anatomy (1828).
From 1815 to 1818 Eschscholtz was a physician and naturalist on the Russian circumnavigational expeditionary ship Rurik. He collected specimens in Brazil, Chile, California, the Pacific Islands, and on either side of the Bering Strait, Kamchatka, and the Aleutian Islands.
One of the other naturalists was the botanist Adelbert von Chamisso, who took over Eschscholtz's specimens on completion of the voyage. The two were close friends and, after his early death Chamisso named the California poppy Eschscholzia californica in his honour. (note that he accidentally left the 't' out of Eschscholtz’s name). The results of the trip were published in the Berlin journal Entomographien in 1822.
The species name californica is for the state of California to the west of North America.
It has the common name of California Poppy. Early Spanish settlers fittingly called them Copa de Oro meaning ‘cup of gold’ after the legend that the orange petals, turning to gold, filled the soil with the precious metal.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 2 grams Average Seed Count 1,400 Seeds Family Papaveraceae Genus Eschscholzia Species californica Synonym Eschscholzia maritima Common Name California Poppy. Aurantiaca Orange Other Language Names FR: Pavot de Californie Hardiness Half Hardy Annual Flowers Silky flowers in various shades of gold Natural Flower Time June to September Height 15 to 30cm (6 to 12in) Position Grow in full sun The flowers will not open in shade. Time to Sow Sow direct in spring. Sow directly as it dislikes being transplanted. Germination 14 to 21 days Uses Cottage/Informal Garden, Prairie Planting, Flower Borders and Beds, Container Gardening. California Poppies