A regal mix of semi-double and single blooms in cerise, carmine, red, orange and yellow. These dainty hardy annuals are tougher than they appear and positively thrive on poor, dry soils. The papery flowers attract bees and hoverflies, and make excellent, if short-lived, cut flowers. California poppies are easy to grow in beds and borders, or let them self seed throughout gravel gardens to form natural drifts. Height: 23cm (9″). Spread: 25cm (10″). Culinary note: Fresh or dried leaves can be used to make a herbal tea which is known to be soothing and relaxing.
Direct sow eschscholzia seed outdoors where they are to grow from March to May or in September for overwintering. Autumn sowings will flower in late spring. Choose a position in full sun on any poor, well drained soil which has been raked to a fine tilth. Sow seeds thinly, at a depth of 1cm (1/2″) in drills spaced 15cm (6″) apart and cover seed with its own depth of soil to exclude light. Water the ground regularly, especially during dry periods. Germination usually takes 14-21 days. When seedlings are large enough to handle, thin them out to 15cm (6″) apart.
Alternatively, sow California poppies indoors from February to March at a temperature of 15-21C (60-70F). When seedlings are large enough to handle, transplant and grow them on in cooler conditions until large enough to plant outdoors.
Gradually acclimatise eschscholzia plants to outdoor conditions when all risk of frost has passed before planting outdoors in any well drained soil in full sun. Water regularly until plants are fully established. Deadhead faded eschscholzia flowers to prevent them from self seeding.