Many specimens of poppy variety including papaver somniferum breadseed poppies, California poppies, and taffeta poppies are annuals and are grown from poppy seeds. This means that unless you let your plants seed themselves around the garden, new specimens will have to be planted each year to continue enjoying vibrant flowers. And while sowing is normally done in the spring for many varieties, planting the poppy seeds of California poppies in the fall can ensure bountiful and early plant seeds blooms when the spring arrives.
Even during November and early December California poppy seeds can be sown as long as their seed trays are kept on a warm windowsill initially. This will encourage quick germination and get plants off to a healthy start. Once young seedlings have reached approximately an inch in height they should be moved from the warm windowsill into a frost free but chilled area. This is best done by placing them in warm but outside spot for a couple of days, bringing them in at night. After this hardening period has finished, the seedlings can be placed in a frost free cold frame or greenhouse to overwinter.
Colder temperatures will hold back the California poppy seedlings growth without killing them. Giving these plants a head start on next spring’s seedlings, this is a fantastic way to grow healthy plants to use in the garden the following year. And while a succession of poppy seeds can be sown in March and April, fall sown plants will offer bountiful blooms before many seeds have barely gotten started.