How to Plant California Poppies


A field of brightly colored California poppies is a captivating sight indeed. The four-petaled flowers range in color from yellow to a reddish orange, but are always bright and eye catching. Albino blossoms sometimes appear with flowers having no pigmentation. Planting poppies takes very little effort or know how and can be carried out even by the most novice of home gardeners. Whether or not you've planted poppies in the past, you should find very little resistance from these hardy, quickly sprouting flowers.

Step 1

Prepare good planting soil by spreading an even bed several inches or more in depth and adding compost or fertilizer for added nutrients. Choose somewhere in your lawn or garden that receives plenty of sun. Ensure the area has proper drainage. In addition to preparing the soil, you can ensure drainage by planting away from steep hills or swampy valleys.

Step 2

Broadcast (scatter generously by hand) California poppy seeds across the soil. Do this in late fall in warmer climates and early spring in colder ones. According to Aggie Horticulture, mix in sand when planting over a large area to ensure proper sowing.

Step 3

Rake the soil to cover the seeds with soil. They do not need much coverage, so raking is sufficient.

Step 4

Water the soil with a garden hose until saturated. Continue to water during dry spells.

Things You'll Need

  • California poppy seeds
  • Planting soil
  • Rake
  • Garden hose


  • Cal Poly Pomona: The Genus Eschscholzia
  • San Francisco State University: The Biogeography of California Poppy
  • Aggie Horticulture: Poppy
  • US Forest Center: Celebrating Wildflowers
Keywords: how to plant, grow growing, California poppy poppies

About this Author

Mark Rhyman has been working as a freelance writer since 2005. His work has appeared in numerous online and print publications, such as "Kotori" magazine and "Inside Lacrosse." He has his bachelor's degree in English with a concentration in creative writing from the State University of New York at Brockport.