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Transplanting california poppies

Posted by stevation z6 Utah (My Page) on
Fri, Apr 7, 06 at 2:06

I have read that California poppies don't like transplanting and are best direct sown, but nevertheless, I am growing some of the pink 'Summer Sorbet' variety in jiffy pellets under lights right now. I had to get a jump on gardening this winter, and the last time I tried direct sowing this variety outside, none of them came up.

Anyway, I have two questions:

1) Knowing these plants can handle some cold weather, can I transplant them into the flowerbeds before the last frost date? I'm in Utah, and we usually consider final frost date to be around Mother's Day. Can I put them out in the garden next week? We were warming up last week, but we just got 3" of snow today! How risky is that for these little guys?

2) Having read of their distaste for transplanting, what should I do to ensure they survive when I do transplant them? Does anyone know what it is that makes them poor transplanters? Do they have fragile roots?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Transplanting california poppies

I tried both this year, and the transplanted ones are bigger. Just don't let them dry out the first week or so after planting in. They like some cold - I put mine in several weeks ago.

RE: Transplanting california poppies

If you transplant without disturbing the roots they do fine. Be sure to breakdown any edges of the pots when you plant. Al

RE: Transplanting california poppies

Stevation, I am Utah as well and have had California poppies planted out since the first week in march. They looked fine after the snow melted off of them today lol.
Cold doesent really bother them much. They grow a taproot that doesnt like to be disturbed at all. Mine did fine I was very carefull. I do suggest hardeneing them off some before planting out.

RE: Transplanting california poppies

Stevation - How did your poppies do? Summer Sorbet is in the T&M catalog so I was looking for comments on it.
Wondering if the beautiful color it shows is accurate and if it would bloom for a long time. Has anyone else tried it?

RE: Transplanting california poppies

Yeah, I got the Summer Sorbet poppies from T&M. They did not perform as well as some naturalized golden poppies in my beds. I planted them in mid-late April, and by July, I still didn't have many blooms. Most of the plants stayed too small all summer, and many died. I think growing them in Jiffy pellets wasn't that great. Maybe their roots had a hard time pushing through the fabric shell when I planted them. I had a few that accidentally got pulled up while weeding, and their roots didn't seem to have spread very far. I did get some scattered blooms from them after mid-July, but too many of them got overshadowed by bigger plants and didn't get enough sun. I'm not saying the plant isn't good, but I do think my conditions were not ideal. I gathered some seeds from them late in summer (the ones in the front yard weren't near any orange ones, so I think I'll get true ones from seed). Perhaps I'll sow the seeds very early in the spring, directly in the garden.

As far as color, they weren't as amazing as the catalog photo, but they were pretty good. some of them had a more creamy pinkish color with darker petal tips, rather than the solid pink color. They did have a little ruffly texture like the catalog shows.

I think the reason my naturalized orange ones are doing so well is that some of them sprout late in summer or early in the fall and the seedlings or small plants overwinter. They have a little jump on spring that way. I was surprised they could survive under intermittent snow, but poppies do seem to like cold (or at least cool) weather.

Has anyone else had this experience with poppies? Is it possible to sow these fancy varieties in late summer and have them get a head start before winter? I don't know if Summer Sorbet is more tender than the species. It's too late now, but perhaps I could save some of the seed for late next summer.

RE: Transplanting california poppies

Hi, I have just been out looking at my California Poppy seedlings in a half-barrel tub. I sowed them about 7 weeks ago, and they look good, though still a bit young to be facing the cold snap we have been having. I have been out every night for about 4 nights in a row, putting a cover over them - the nighttime temps have been in the upper twenties. This has been my first time doing this, and I was so thrilled to see them thriving - I guess I got a little over-protective, because reading the posts here I can see that they really are HARDY annuals! And when I think about it, I can remember seeing them growing as weeds all over in the Central Valley town where I grew up, and we had some cold winters. So, tonight, no obsessive poppy-covering-up (my decision is made easier by the fact that tonight they forecast 34 degrees)! I'll let you know how they do in the Spring!

RE: Transplanting california poppies

California poppies do well in cooler environments to start with. Some are more heat hardy than others. They can be transplanted whilst very young; otherwise should be sown where they are wanted.

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