California poppies bloom in the spring, summer and fall. The four-petaled orange flowers add bright color to roadsides, empty lots and cultivated gardens alike. Originally native to California, this poppy has since spread throughout most of the United States. California poppies produce cylindrical seed pods that ripen on the plant. When the seed pod dries it bursts open, scattering the seeds. Plant California poppies in full sun and loose soil with good drainage. These poppies grow well in a variety of soil types with the exception of heavy clay soil.
Clear the planting area of weeds and rake the soil smooth. If you have very heavy clay-like soil, spread a 2-inch layer of rotten leaves or other coarse organic matter over the surface of the soil. Work the organic matter into the top 4 inches of the planting area. Sow seeds in the late fall or early spring.
Scatter the seeds onto the planting area so that there are at least five seeds per inch. Rake a 1/16 of an inch of soil back over the seeds to protect them from predators.
Water only if the season is exceptionally dry. The seeds will germinate during the wet winter months and emerge when the weather warms in the spring. Spring sown seeds germinate quickly in the spring rains and bloom in the summer months.