Seeds can be scattered at the rate of one seed every 2-3 inches or about 20 seeds per square foot, ideally just before fall or winter rainy periods. Leave seeds at the soil surface undisturbed, or rake gently into soil. While counter-intuitive for many gardeners, it’s best not to cover California Poppy seeds with soil. When irrigation or rainfall might be forceful enough to disturb or wash away seeds, cover with a thin layer of about 1/16-to-1/8-inch fine soil or sand.
When planted densely or with vigorous germination, plants may remain smaller in a dense mat and often won’t reach maximum size or bloom optimally. Thin as seedlings or space seeds about 4-6 inches and thin as seedlings for final spacing of 8-12 inches between plants for optimal size and blooming.
Under suitable environmental conditions, California Poppy seeds normally germinate in about 8-30 days, longer during cold weather. For more information, see Planting and Growing California Poppy (Eschscholzia california).
California Poppy normally begins blooming about 55-75 days after germination, or potentially longer during cold weather.When cut back or deadheaded after blooming, plants may re-bloom during periods of cool-to-warm weather or until spring or summer heat waves arrive. California Poppy can bloom almost year-round in mild-winter, mild-summer areas. For tips about deadheading and re-blooming, see California Poppy: Tips and Precautions for Care and Watering.
For more information on growing California Poppy, see: