About Red Chief California Poppy: These poppies have a habit of opening and closing with the sun, appropriate for their native Golden State. The first member of the California poppy genus was identified in 1816 by German botanist Adelbert von Chamisso on an exploratory voyage to California and the Pacific Northwest. Chamisso named this genus “Eschscholzia” after a fellow botanist, Johann Friedrich von Eschscholtz, who accompanied him on the journey. Nearly a dozen species of poppy grow wild in the western United States.
Red Chief California Poppy Germination: Sow in early spring, planting the seed ¼” below the surface of the soil; keep the soil lightly moist until germination, which should occur in 2-3 weeks at a soil temperature of 60-65 degrees. In USDA Zones 7 and warmer, this seed can be fall planted. Poppies do not transplant well, and must be planted while very small if started indoors. This plant tolerates most soils that drain well, as well as adapting to seaside conditions.
Growing Red Chief California Poppy Seeds: Water seedlings occasionally, but decrease watering as the plants mature; poppies tolerate drought well and will only need watering in periods of extreme dryness. This plant does not need rich soil, and actually blooms best in poor soil. Pinch off faded blossoms for the most prolific blooming. These flowers prefer cool temperatures, usually blooming in spring and early summer and going dormant when the summer heat begins. Though an annual, it will reseed itself and return the following year. Poppies attract bees and butterflies.
Harvesting Red Chief California Poppy: For the longest lasting cut flowers, choose poppies that have just begun to open; cut them in the morning while the moisture is at its peak. Sear the cut ends of the flowers with boiling water or a match, and immediately plunge them into cold water. Place them in a vase with water at room temperature.
Saving Red Chief California Poppy Seeds: When saving poppy seeds, keep in mind that the resulting flowers sometimes revert to the dominant orange or red blossoms. After the petals drop off, a capsule will form and turn from green to tan. Since the capsules will eventually split and explosively release their seeds, cut them off as soon as the color begins to turn and the seed inside has ripened to grayish black. Spread the capsules out to dry for several days, then split them to remove the seeds. Store the cleaned seeds in a cool, dry place.
Detailed Red Chief California Poppy Info: Origin: US Native Other Common Names: None Duration: Annual Bloom Time: Spring-Early Summer Height: 12-18 inches Spacing: 8-10 inches Light: Full Sun Soil Moisture: Dry to Medium USDA Zone: 3a-9b Seeds Per Oz: 15,600 Produces finely divided, fern-like bluish green foliage and 2-3” blossoms with silky scarlet petals.