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


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.


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

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