How to sow California poppy seeds outdoors

Do it:

Mar, Apr, May, Aug, Sep, Oct

Takes just:

15 minutes

At its best:

Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct

California poppies (Eschscholzia californica) are hardy annuals that bring a vivid splash of colour to summer borders. After their long flowering period the plants will also readily self-seed.

You will need

  • California poppy seeds eg 'Golden Values'
  • Bamboo cane
  • Trowel
  • Plant labels
  • Pencil or waterproof pen
  • Watering can with a rose

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Make a straight drill of even depth by pressing a bamboo cane into moist soil. Rows need to be about 15cm apart, in a sunny site.

Take pinches of seed and scatter thinly along the drill or you will waste seed and spend more time thinning out.

Use a trowel or your fingers to cover seeds with 0.5cm of soil. Label the rows and water using a watering can with a rose attachment.

Thin seedlings out once they're about 4cm tall and again at 8cm, so that they're spaced about 15cm apart.

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To get the best possible display of poppies, keep plants well watered until they are established.

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