Eschscholzia californica
Common Name: California poppy 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Papaveraceae
Native Range: Western United States
Zone: 6 to 10
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Bloom Description: Orange to orange-yellow
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual
Flower: Showy


Cool weather annual or short-lived perennial that is easily grown in sandy, poor to average, well-drained soils in full sun. Sharp soil drainage is essential. Sow seed directly in the garden at the last spring frost date or start plants in pots indoors 2-3 weeks prior to last spring frost date. Seed may be sown in fall in USDA Zones 6-10. Deadhead flowers regularly to promote additional bloom, but leave some flowerheads for self-seeding. Plants are more apt to perform as short-lived perennials in USDA Zones 8-10.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Eschscholzia californica, commonly called California poppy, is the state flower of California. It is native to hillsides, roads and open areas from southern Washington south through California, Nevada and New Mexico to northern Mexico. Plants grow in loose, free-branching mounds to 12-15” tall and as wide, with finely divided, fern-like, blue-green leaves. Single, cup-shaped, 4-petaled, silky flowers (3” diameter) are typically bright orange or less frequently yellow-orange. Flowers bloom on long stems from late spring to early summer. Flowers close up in rainy or cloudy weather and at night. Flowers give way to dehiscent seed capsules which split open when ripe to release seeds. Plant foliage turns straw-brown after flowering. Cultivars are available in semi-double to double forms in additional colors including white, pink, red, lilac and purple.

Genus name honors Johann Friedrich Eschscholtz (1793-1831) of Tartu (Dorpat), Estonia, who accompanied Otto von Kotzebue on his first expedition around the world (1815-1818).

Specific epithet means of California.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Beds, border fronts, rock gardens, along paths or walkways, or containers. Good selection for large naturalized plantings in locations where plants freely reseed.