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California Poppy flower, also known as Eschscholzia Californica, is a beautiful and easy-to-grow wildflower native to the western United States. It is an annual or short-lived perennial plant that produces showy flowers in shades of bright orange, yellow, and red.
Plant morphology: The plant has fern-like, blue-green foliage that is finely divided and grows up to 6-15 inches tall. The flowers are bowl-shaped, measuring about 2-4 inches in diameter, and have four crinkly petals with a slightly crumpled texture. The blooms appear in late spring and summer and are followed by attractive seed pods.
Sun and soil requirements: California poppies thrive in full sun and well-drained, sandy or loamy soil. They prefer a neutral to slightly acidic soil pH level and can tolerate dry conditions once established. However, they do require regular watering during periods of drought.
Planting and care: The best time to plant California poppy seeds is in the fall, after the first rains, or in early spring. The seeds can be directly sown into the garden bed or in containers, lightly covered with soil, and watered. The plants should be spaced 8-10 inches apart.
Maintenance: California poppies require very little maintenance. They do not need fertilizers, and over-fertilizing can harm the plant. Deadheading spent blooms can prolong the flowering period, and regular watering during dry spells can help the plant thrive.
Uses: California poppies are commonly grown as ornamental plants in gardens and meadows. They are also used in wildflower mixes and as cut flowers in bouquets. The plant is not only beautiful but also serves as a food source for beneficial insects such as bees and butterflies.
Potential problems: California poppies are generally free of pests and diseases. However, they can be susceptible to powdery mildew if grown in humid conditions, and aphids may occasionally infest the plant.