California Poppy Fast Facts

California Poppy Fast Facts image by Docentjoyce/Flickr, photogirl7/Flickr, Mikebaird/Flickr
California Poppy Fast Facts image by Docentjoyce/Flickr, photogirl7/Flickr, Mikebaird/Flickr


The hillsides of California are blanketed with the vibrant orange of native poppies during springtime. They provide a stunning colorful landscape and are relatively simple to maintain.


The California Poppy's name might be a little misleading, because this plant variety can be found as far north as Washington State all the way down to Baja, California. They tend to grow best on heavily grazed lands. For picture-perfect poppy sightings check out the "Grapevine" along California's Interstate 5 at the northern part of Los Angeles County.

California Poppy Fast Facts


The California Poppy plant grows anywhere from 12 to 18 inches tall and are characterized by light blue-green leaves with small, tapered buds that burst open into a vivid orange bloom. The flowers generally close during the night or in cold weather.

California Poppy Fast Facts


These perennial plants require a dose of full sunlight in addition to well-drained soil. The poppies should be seeded directly into the garden bed, as they do not transplant easily. Rake and moisten the soil and plant them about 12 inches apart. You may decrease watering after the plants show signs of flowering.


Poppies are extremely drought tolerant and do well in arid climates. They can be planted as border flowers for beds, in rock gardens to add a dash of color and along with other plants to provide variation.

Medicinal Purposes

While scientific research has not been conclusive on the California Poppy, Native Americans often used the plant to treat toothaches and insomnia.


  • University of Wisconsin, Susan Mahr
  • Texas A&M Aggie Horticulture
  • University of Florida Poppy Information
Keywords: california poppies, perennial plants, native poppies, native flowers

About this Author

Alexa Evans is a freelance writer and marketing editor based in San Diego, Calif. Evans has been published in "Tango Diva," "Map Vivo" and "Trazzler." She earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Photo by: Docentjoyce/Flickr, photogirl7/Flickr, Mikebaird/Flickr