My California poppy seeds arrived yesterday. I lived in the Antelope Valley, where the Poppy Reserve is. A film I shot in college took place in a field that had poppies in it. I’m not a flower person, but I like those orange buggers. Per the link:
Drought is not a problem up here next to the Canadian border. I think one could say it’s moist. We have a lot of sun in late-Spring and through Summer. I took the lawn mower in for servicing, and the guy said I must have sandy soil based on the condition of the blade. Indeed, I can water a lot in Summer (not that I do – or pay much attention to the lawn at all), and it doesn’t seem to penetrate. The rosemary seems to be doing fairly well, and I’ve heard it likes a Mediterranean climate.
So. What’s the best way/best medium to germinate these seeds? When is a good time to attempt to get them to sprout? Once sprouted, how big should they be before I transplant them into the yard or into a pot? In short, how do I grow these things?
We just sprinkle/spread the seeds in ~February/March in very sunny patches. They come back the next year in the best places- you’ll also see where they will do best as the ones that thrive really thrive and the others… only small boring versions. Nothing too difficult about it- just find the most California like spot(s) in your yard and go crazy.
I read the reviews on several brands and species of seeds on Amazon. I get the impression that they’re hard to get started. I see several reviews like ‘I bought this seven million seed packet, and none of them sprouted.’
I’m a bit further south than you, in the Willamette Valley. IME, if you drop them on the ground in a sunny spot, they will grow. They thrive like weeds and reseed and spread themselves. If you were trying to start lupine, I’d say you’ve got a challenge, but poppies pretty much take care of themselves.
Also in the Willamette Valley, so similar to your weather up by BC, though a little drier and sunnier perhaps. Germinating California poppies has never been a problem for me – they are easy to germinate. But you’ll be pretty disappointed in the flower output unless they get the maximum sun available in your area. So south facing beds are best, without any shade. Don’t water them too much and they should bloom good.