A question about california poppies

Silver Spring, MD(Zone 6b)

The california poppies that I wintersowed in 2010 wintered well in the front of the border of what I refer to as the garage flowerbed. The foliage is so heavy along with the flowers and I see the seed pods(looks like string beans)on them. Could I removed the seed pods and trim the entire plant to see if it will bounce back ? I love this plant but in this condition, it looks like a reject. It's laying over the scallopped brick pavers, and onto the sidewalk where we enter our front door and the mailman has to use. Any suggestions?

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

When I lived in zone 6 (eastern LI, south fork) I always treated California poppies as annuals. Occasionally they self-sowed. I'm amazed that you have a 2 year old plant! I'd take the seeds and re-sow next spring. If the plant bounces back, great. If not, you have a fresh start.


Dallas, OR(Zone 8a)

I pull out the plants when they start looking scragly but first collect the seeds pods for use next season. Place the seed pod in a brown paper bag and just leave them for a while in a dry place.(week or 2) (make sure to close the bag or the little seed will pop out all over your home. You may even hear the pods popping open as they dry. After a few weeks shake the bag good and remove the open seed pods. Pour the dry seeds into an envelope . When I lived in California I just scattered the seen early Feb or so. Now that I am in Oregon, I try to scatter them with the first snow. It makes it easy to see where they are scatterd and as the snow melts they are wet and make contact with the soil. Future snowfalls will keep them in place and dormant until your weather warms up in the spring.

Silver Spring, MD(Zone 6b)

Thanks to all for your responses. I went out early, about 6 am and finished what I was working on last night when it got too dark to see how to harvest larkspur seeds, then I got the clippers and cut back that clump of CF..I saw the" string beans"pods and opened a few to see if I could find the seeds. Oh, my gosh, it was like shelling butterbeans or peas in the summer "down home!" Some were real skinny so I didn't even bother after the one didn't reveal many seeds and the pod was hard to get into so I have others that I'll wait till that pod turns a light tan color? They are so easy to grown but don't get blooms until second year here. Another harvesting lesson I've learned this week. My first" Prairie sun" rudbeckia bloomed beautifully this morning. Have to go and take a picture of it. The first one that bloomed either was deformed and was missing some petals or a bird picked them off..I think I'll have to plant some more of those, as they are pretty. It's fun learning to harvest one's own seeds but some are a little bit more difficult or tedious, that I wonder if it is worth the efforts. I love learning and knowing how even if I decide not to keep the seeds. Now if I can only master not getting the chaffe in with the seeds. I'm out there this morning early and taking my eyebrow tweezers to get the dried chaffe out as much as I could. It won't hurt anything but it looks better with just the seeds showing through the ziploc seed bag. I thought I had a strainer(sieve)where the seeds would fall through and the chaffe would separate and stay in the strainer but the wire mesh was too small so nothing got through as far as the larkspurs. My other 3 stainers are for pasta and too large, so everything will fall through so that's defeating the purpose.

Silver Spring, MD(Zone 6b)

Sorry but I didn't read this posting until now and I had already cut back that clump of Calif.poppies. I have more in the sun room flowerbed that I will follow your advice. Before 2009 when I tried wintersowing for the first time, marigolds was the only seeds I'd ever sown. We always bought starter plants before then. So if some people think my questions are stupid, that's why. Thanks to the kindness of so many experienced gardeners, I've learned a lot and it is so satisfying to learn new things. Now if you can teach me how to become a patient gardener. I want the plant to look like the pictures of mature plants within a few months..it doesn't always work out that way.

Dallas, OR(Zone 8a)

Hopefully you saved some of the poppy seed pods after you cut them dowm. If not Ican send you some of mine when they are ready. I have been trying to collect seeds for my use for a while now. I have found that organza draw string bags work the best.(not used for CA poppies..i just cut the pod off and place in paper bags. ) I use this method for seed off columbines,foxgloves,the fancier poppies..oriental ,Iceland etc and many other seeds that strike my fancy. They are placed over the seed head and the drawstring is pulled tight. The bag stays in place on the plant while it dries. (it looks a bit strange , but hey..free seed. When the seed pod is dried and you see some fallen seed in the bag, clip the stem from the plant and shake the bag which will collect the seeds at the bottom. Open the bag ..remove the spent flower & stem..and there you have your seed. I sometimes slip a scrap of paper with the identification of the flower into the organza bag before closing it. A harvest time I can remember what is what. It does get confusing sometimes. (pic below shows some columbine in the bag) I like this sight to buy my bags. They have the lowest prices I have found . They are hand or machine washable and have lasted for years. They come in many sizes too. I have the big long ones that I use for delphiniums & foxgloves.

This message was edited Jul 7, 2012 9:40 PM

Thumbnail by BeaHive Thumbnail by BeaHive
Dallas, OR(Zone 8a)

Now to address easy chaffe removal. I have tried many different techniques and have found that a simple plastic tray with a flat bottom (no indentations..nooks or crannies) with at least a 1-2" side works best. Place seed & chaff in the container at the side farthest way from you. Slightly tilt the end closest to you downwards. Not much .. Holding the tray with one hand, take a pen and gently tap the side of the container.Seed should start falling downwards and the chaffe remains up top. Carefully scoop the clean seed ( I just use a teaspoon) and transfer to a nearby jar or small bowl. Process can be repeated until you have all the seed separated. It will take a bit of practice and some seed requires many repeat applications but I too was a tweezer picker for a while but that was crazy. :)

PS. best to do in a sheltered location away from any wind. :)

Silver Spring, MD(Zone 6b)

Thank you BeaHive for all your useful tips..It was 107 degrees here yesterday and it is a few minutes after 6am Sunday morning and still 82 degrees and no signs of rain. My DH announced to me last evening, he didn't think he'd be going to church today. Last Sunday, we didn't have any power because of the storm that had hit the area and knocked out power to hundreds of thousands in Md.Va. and DC. Fortunately for us and our Sr. citizens community, we never lost electricity. Good thing because we have over 8500 residents living here. Because we had power, a lot of residents were putting up family and friends that didn't have power for days. Our daughter lives 8 miles from us and they didn't get power restored until Wednesday afternoon about 4 pm. Getting ice to try to save your food was almost as bad as doing without power. Our Associate Pastor said he had drive 30-35 miles to get ice on Saturday morning after the storm knocked out all the area. Had we been living in our former home, we would have been one of those without power. Our daughter came over for our 2 coolers mid Saturday morning and we offered her and the kids a place to stay. The 20 yr. old floats between her Mothers and boyfriends, and works as a waitress in an upscale restaurant and goes to college. She will be starting her 3rd. year at Univ. of Md. come Aug or Sept. the 17 yr. old was over at his Dad because Daddy had never lost power, so the 14 yr. helped her Mother stick it out. Saturday, they drove over to my daughters's boyfriend's in Springfield, Va. as his power had been restored by Saturday afternoon. In his neighborhood, a large tree fell on the house of a 90 yr. old living alone and killed her in her own bed. Same thing happened to a 71 yr. old in a city about 7 miles from here. A man was electrocuted as he went out to move his car out of his driveway from under a tree and his wife tried to rescue her husband and was badly burned. We are hearing all kinds of horror stories and I'm sure the death toll will go up due to this extreme heat wave we are having on the east coast..My DH was effected by the heat the other day when we drove up to Walmart which is 15 miles away. He walked from the store to the car which was parked in a handicap spot close by door and I drove across the parking lot to Home Depot and we were only in their garden center about 15 min. to get two items and it started hitting him in there. He insisted on going straight home because he didn't feel good and said he thought he was going to pass out in the garden center. I was thinking his BS might be low since he is a diabetic and he told me not to stop for lunch anywhere, go straight home. As soon as we got home, he unlocked the front door, and went straight to lie on his bed and said to me that the heat got him..He stayed in bed for about 30 min. while I proceeded to make us a BLT sandwich as there was no other lunch meats here. He did manage to eat the sandwich and chips and instead of a diet soda, I made him a glass of ice water and told him he needed to rehydrate himself and he never argued with me. He laid around all afternoon, zapped out from the heat. Smarty pants decided he needed o. j. for this morning's breakfast yesterday afternoon and went out in the heat again but also went to buy sweets..and some other food items. Came back and he bit my head off when I made a remark that he didn't learn his lesson about the heat the day before, why had he insisted on going back out in 101 degrees? I knew it had zapped him again but thought maybe he will realize it sooner or later. I saw him go for his recliner and zonked to sleep soon after that. Soon after he announced he didn't think he'd be going to church this morning and that's fine because I am a greeter this morning for last service. Power was restored to the church and the community which is only 1 1/2 miles away. But it is supposed to be another hot one again today 94-99 but there is a front coming in that should make it in the 80's for next few days..Just listened to the tv report. Good News! Maybe even some rain and possible hail.

You're very cleaver about using the organza bags..I think last year somebody mentioned using those and maybe it was you because they recommended the same website..Somebody mentioned that Walmart may carry them or Michaels.
Michael's is only 1 mile away but Walmart 15 miles..so hope Michael's has them.
I'm getting so I just order a lot more things online anymore rather than driving so far with gas so expensive now days..we have been paying almost $4 and some months it was over $4 a gal. I can't walk these big stores or the malls anymore and DH can't either; he uses a cane but is so slow and starting with some dementia so I try to make things easy for myself and reduce the stress of him getting agitated.

How do you keep your California poppies from flopping? Do you plant them behind another plant or in a patio container? Yours look great..I may have to take you up on that offer of seeds..because I only found a few seeds in the pods..guess they had popped open and reseeded already and I looked through the bag of yard waste and what I found was mostly the stems of the flower, only a few string beans pods as I call them. They are usually the first plant that germinates when I wintersow them but they don't bloom the first year they are planted. I like the color of yours..mine are a sun yellow color. I went out this morning to pick up the newspaper from the driveway and see two slugs climbing the garage siding so there's another problem and another product that I need to put down on my list(Sluggo or slug bait) I don't think I have any in the garage cabinet but will double check. With these high temps, watering isn't even helping. The lady next door asked what happened to all my beautiful flowers..she waters her few plants with a sprinkling can, buys a tree and pays hundreds of dollars and does not even water it. Duh! Put her soaker hose on where her shrubbery and iris are located and doesn't even have it near those two plants, the water is going down in the swail which I find is keeping the lawn green there. The iris have already bloomed and foliage is dying back, why worry about them now. She never went on that side of the house when they were blooming and has no idea about if they even bloomed.

If I understand the picture of how you enclose your seed pod with the organza bag, tight it tight and when you think it is ready, just cut off the stem of the plant. Do you hang them up somewhere to dry and let the seeds drop in the bag? I like the idea of being able to see the seeds..I gathered the seed pods from the coneflower that the storm flatten for me, cut them off and laid them on a glass coffee table in the sun to dry but I have them in a brown lunch bag but dread the thoughts of that prickly pod getting the seeds out. Somebody wrote that they soak the pod in warm water and the it makes the prickly stuff softer and then easier to pull the seeds out, then they lay them out on newspaper to dry? I might try that tip to see if it works.

Well, I need to get myself some breakfast and move some plants around to make sure they are watered well before I start getting dressed and go to church. I'm plant sitting some impatients for my neighbor and they are big drinkers, especially one variety she has. She isn't expected back for a few more days. She bought them over here thinking it was easier for me but I'm not so sure because I have been moving them from place to place to keep them in the shade plus she bought over a Xmas Cactus and I'm trying to keep it out of the hot sun as it belonged to the former renter where she lives that died last Sept. who was a dear friend and neighbor of ours.

Do you have luck starting cuttings from the CC? I tried it once in water and it didn't work..I found a site that showed me how to do it in soil so I'm going to try that.

Do you have pictures posted of all your flowers that you grow? I saw two pictures. I don't know how to post pictures and am computer illiterate. Several people have said they would show me but I think it is all talk.. Maybe in the late fall or early winter, I'll approach them again about it when all the plants have been put to bed for the winter.

Many thanks for all your useful gardening tips.
Betty aka Pippi21

Dallas, OR(Zone 8a)

Morning Betty. I want to address all your questions and will later today. The sun is almost up and I want to get out in the garden early as it will be warm here today and I need to get stuff done before it gets to hot. I am sure you can relate.107 Wow! Sure hope you get the break in the extreme weather that you have been having. I am not understanding your question on cuttings of CC? Maybe time for another cup of coffee !! What does CC stand for and I will get you some info later. You and your DH should just relax indoors today . Hope you have A/C.
I do get around DG on different forums with my photo's. I have even placed in DG photo contest a few times. Here is a link to one I have posted to this spring if you want to see some of my flowers . Enjoy.

Regards Bernadette (aka Beahive)

Thumbnail by BeaHive
Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

There are a couple reasons why yours might be flopping--not enough sun would be one. Since it's next to your garage I wonder if they're getting a little too much shade? Other possibilities would be more water & fertilizer than they really need. Our climate here is very dry in the summer (typically no rain at all from May or June until ~November), and I've found that my California natives that get regular water in the summer tend to grow bigger and floppier than the natives planted in my natives bed that don't get water during the summer. Similar thing could happen with fertilizer--they can grow in poor soil so giving them more fertilizer can also result in faster floppier growth.

Dallas, OR(Zone 8a)

Betty.. I figured out that CC = Christmas cactus. My head cleared after the second cut of coffee . Thank goodness for coffee!
Ok..here I am. Long day in the garden and got a lot accomplished. Amazing how sun and warm weather can do that. We have to many rainy days here in OR to get much done outdoors. So glad the nice weather is finally here.
I am sorry to hear all the weather issue around the US and it seems your town and surrounding areas are in the same boat as many others. I pray that all is well soon for all in our beautiful country that are going through these tough times. We all work hard and deserve a peaceful and trouble free summer!
I understand the trouble you are having plant sitting. I am sure the hot weather is not making it any easier. With our 85 deg weather, I have to keep moving a tray of Lithadora starts that I am trying to root to keep them out of direct sunlight. They are doing Ok but looked a but ragged this evening. Going to move them to the shaddy side of the house tonight until the temos get a bit cooler. Really want to have these survive so I can cover a slope on the backside of my pond area. Beautiful plant & ground cover when in bloom.
Re: Organza bags for seed collecting:
I do not hang them up to dry following the stem clipping. I leave them on the plant until I am satisfied that they are dry. I do suppose if you clipped to soon, you could hang them upside down and give them more drying time.
In regards to removing seeds from the coneflower, they are not so bad once dry.(very brittle) You can always wear leather work gloves or heavy garden gloves when breaking up the seedhead. I never heard of soaking them , and I would worry about them getting moldy and unusable. If you have extra seed heads it may be worth a try to test each method and see what works best for you. How long does one soak the seadhead.?
The bag purchases are up to you, but I have found that web site I shared has really good prices. Michaels will have these in their Bridal section and everything “bridal” related is overpriced in the stores. (in the process now planning my youngest daughters wedding. Yikes!)
Re: Slug
Hate them. I have been hit really hard this year. Last year at this time I had just moved to this house and was having a pond installed. I brought over 200 plants with me from my former home who waited patiently in their pots until the project was completed. It was late when they got into the ground as I hurt my arm the day the landscaping/pond was completed. Bad timing for sure. It took a few weeks to heal from the two contusions on my elbow and forearm, but I learned to do one handed repotting quite well. Start with the 3” pot stuff and work your way up to the big stuff. The 5+ gal pots were a great challenge and I am sure any neighbors watching the show had a good laugh… but it all got done and things are growing well, and the slugs are enjoying munching on them. I am in full warfare mode with the nasty critters. . Sluggo.. Diatomaceous Earth, beer traps, yeast traps, copper strips… hand pick when I see the little buggers. Sluggo is a good start if you have only seen the two on the wall today.
Also had a serious problems with deer..but I got that covered for now. Rough one to deal with as I love seeing the deer, but just not in my flower beds, eating everything or stepping on everything.

Re: Poppies from flopping
I have areas in my yard that flop. I find that having multiple plants in one area help each other stay upright. They in the end will flop. It is just their nature when their season comes to a close. This is when you star your pod collecting then yank out the plant or at least cut it back for next season.

Re: Starting cuttings of a Christmas cactus.
I really don’t think rooting in water is the way to go. Growing up my Mom had a cherished CC of her mothers that was always displayed in the formal living room. Well with 8 kids in the house one of us would always be rough housing and break a piece off. We would of course never tell our Mom about it, but would simply place the broken piece back into some of the soil and press it down so it would stick. The plant grew and grew and grew doing this and no one was the wiser. My mom still has this plant today 50 + years and counting.
I would try taking a two to three jointed segment, allow it to air dry for a few hours once the cutting is made, then place it into a 3-4” pot filled with a good potting soil such as an African Violet mix. Keep moist, but not soggy and away from direct light for a few weeks. (indirect OK) . After a 3-4 weeks give the piece a gentle tug. If it shows resistance it is rooting.If you see new growth before that time , you know the cutting was successful Hope this helps. They are such beautiful plants .

Well I hope I answered some of your questions and I will let you know when my Ca poppy seeds are ready to mail to you.

Thumbnail by BeaHive
Silver Spring, MD(Zone 6b)

Good Morning! I heard the most beautiful sound on our bathroom skylight a few minutes before 4 am..something I haven't heard for a long time and something we need so desparately..RAI:N! Oh, the beautiful sound of rain, but it hasn't rained enough but hoping it will rain all day. We need it so bad..

Thanks for all your helpful tips on gardening. I feel blessed whenever I get other gardeners sharing their knowledge and experience of gardening with me. I have only been growing from seeds the past 3 yrs. and it has been such a satisfying experience for me, but it's so much easier to go and buy the starter plants from the nursery or garden center! I now appreciate the growers that supply starter plants to the nurseries/garden centers. You can tell who are the successful gardeners by their pictures they share of their beautiful flower gardens and by the way they write about it.

The plant you mentioned that you are trying to root some cuttings (Lithadora) I am going to look for some plants or seeds. Saw how wonderful it looks from Kosk0025. Is your variety of Lithadora "Grace Ward?" I saw it in the Bluestone perennials catalog..and would like to look for it locally first. Is that a plant that one can collect seeds from or is it solely through divisions or cuttings?

I looked at the pictures of your flowers on PNW forums..such healthy plants, beautiful, or " wonderful! wonderful! wonderful !"as Lawrence Welk used to say.

We didn't get much rain but hopefully it will rain more today. Temps are only supposed to be in low 80's which will provide much relief from the many weeks we've had of the 90-107 degrees..

Dallas, OR(Zone 8a)

Happy to hear you had some rain and cooling temperatures. What a relief that must be. The Lithadora I have came with only a tag that said Lithadora. Many people in our neighborhood have it as ground cover and it is just a wonderful sea of blue when it is in bloom. I stumbled across some 3" pots of it at a local Walmart in March . It has done well in one spot that I have planted it ,so I made many cuttings for myself and a neighbor who also wanted some. I did see some remaining plants last week at Walmart. I am hoping some will end up on their sale table soon. It would look nice with your CA Poppies near it.

Silver Spring, MD(Zone 6b)

Thanks for the tip about Lithadora..When we were in Walmart the other day, they had the overhead sprinkler on watering the plants..and you couldn't go inside the greenhouse portion. I've never seen that overhead sprinkler system before..good idea. I will look around here. It would be pretty to fill in along the edges of the landscape timbers that are on the side bed. I had started dividing the pink creeping phlox but some of the pieces didn't take, and it got too hot so I thought I'd wait till Sept. to do that again. My pink creeping phlox had filled in so beautifully in the garage flowerbed this year and everybody that saw it complimented me on it but it really needs to be divided, if if I take a little bit off each large clump..it'll have more room to spread during Fall and winter and early spring, should have filled in again nicely. At our former home I used to have ajuga in front of border and it was the first blooms you saw popping out in early spring.

A plant that has really outdid itself this year is a Double sun-gold rudbeckia that I rec'd in the 2010 wintersowing swap from a Sue Cirish. It didn't bloom much last year but this year, it is so full of blooms. I stopped counting at 30 yesterday on their now. I should really cut some off and bring them inside and put in a vase.. It is so beautiful..Wished I knew where she got those seeds or if she has a plant of her own where she collects the seeds. I plan to harvest the seeds from this one, that is for sure. I have made sure that it is watered every day.. It doesn't seem to lose any of its blooms..which amazes me in all these hot temps that we've had this month. Must be planted in a perfect spot.

Gosh, I don't know how to act with the cooler temps..think I'll throw on my old gardening clothes and get out there and get a few chores done while I enjoy the cooler temps!

Dallas, OR(Zone 8a)

Hi Betty,
I am so glad I found this thread and you again. I have CA poopy seed ready to mail to , but I did not jot down which forum these correspondences were on. Anyway please d-mail your mailing information to me and I will get these out to you. Any other seed you may be looking for? I may have it. Also I noticed you were looking for Rozanne Geramium. I believe I have some seed or I could send you a few cuttings if you wish..Just let me know.
Hope all is well.

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