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Eschscholzia californica

Phonetic Spelling
es-SHOLT-zee-ah kal-ih-FOR-nik-ah
Description

The genus honors world traveler, Johann Friedrich Eschscholz of Estonia.  

This annual poppy is native to the western U.S. and is the state flower of California. It can be found growing in washes, flats and slopes, grassland and among sagebrush, and juniper and pinyon woodlands.

It adds vibrant color to hot dry sites with poor soil.   It is considered a drought-tolerant, cool-season annual and a short-lived perennial in zones 8 through 10.

The flowers stand on tall stems waving above a mound of loose feathery blue-green foliage in the spring through July.  Flowers are 3" in diameter, cup-shaped, and have 4 silky petals. Bright orange is the most common color though the range is creamy yellow to bright orange. A number of cultivars are available in other colors. as well as in semi-double and double forms.  

Flowers close up in rainy or cloudy weather and at night. Deadhead flowers regularly to promote additional bloom, but leave some flower heads for self-seeding if desired.  The bloom petals give way to capsules that later split open to release thousands of tiny black poppy seeds.

A good time to sow the seeds directly in the ground is in the fall or start the seeds indoors about 3 weeks prior to the last frost date.   

These annuals may be used in a wide variety of garden areas with plants of similar sun and watering needs. Locations may include garden beds, borders, rock gardens, or in various containers. They work well in large groupings like meadows or smaller naturalized areas.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  No significant issues.  To prevent the spread by self-seeding, deadheading is recommended.  

Full sun is ideal for this plant, it will not grow in shade.  

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'XL Jelly Beans'
    Vibrant pink, lemon yellow, red, blue-green foliage
'XL Jelly Beans'
Tags:
#showy flowers#full sun tolerant#drought tolerant#white flowers#easy to grow#lacy leaves#orange flowers#low maintenance#blue-green leaves#rock garden#border planting#self-seeding#spring interest#wildflower garden#poor soils tolerant#border front#partial shade tolerant#container plant#annual#meadow
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'XL Jelly Beans'
    Vibrant pink, lemon yellow, red, blue-green foliage
'XL Jelly Beans'
Tags:
#showy flowers#full sun tolerant#drought tolerant#white flowers#easy to grow#lacy leaves#orange flowers#low maintenance#blue-green leaves#rock garden#border planting#self-seeding#spring interest#wildflower garden#poor soils tolerant#border front#partial shade tolerant#container plant#annual#meadow
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Eschscholzia
    Species:
    californica
    Family:
    Papaveraceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Wildflower
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    South western U.S.A. to Mexico
    Distribution:
    CA, WA, NV, NM
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Colorful
    Easy to Grow
    Edibility:
    The leaves and stems can be eaten.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Wildflower
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Mounding
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Fine
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Fruit Type:
    Achene
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    The three sided capsules will split open to self-seed when dry.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Head
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Cup
    Star
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Electric orange flowers appear in a round cluster on long stems from late spring through summer. At nighttime as well as during rainy or cloudy days the flowers will close up.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Blue
    Gray/Silver
    Leaf Type:
    Fronds
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Rosulate
    Leaf Shape:
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The fern like basal leaves are silvery blue, 3/4 to 4 inches long and narrow, on long stalks. The foliage will turn a straw-brown after the plant flowers.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Round
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Description:
    Due to a build up of carbon dioxide, the stout leafless stem become inflated as you go up the stem. It divides at a point that is approximately half its height.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Lawn
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Patio
    Rock Wall
    Slope/Bank
    Walkways
    Landscape Theme:
    Cottage Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Fairy Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rock Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Poor Soil