Eschscholzia californica var. maritima, Coastal Poppy

Eschscholzia californica var. maritima, Coastal Poppy

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Eschscholzia californica var. maritima

The coastal form of the California poppy is a mounding, low-growing plant with striking gray-blue foliage and blossoms that are the essence of yellow, sometimes with a deep orange center. It is perennial and blooms for at least 3 months. Right on the coast, new plants emerge and bloom for up to 7 months. It reseeds reliably, and is great in a short lived bouquet. Pick while in bud and watch it open flat as a dinner plate over the next few days. Burning the cut end over a candle flame may also prolong cut flower bloom.

It is one of the stars of our coastal border. In wet years, it isn't as prolific, perhaps because of the elongated taproot that may dislike the elevated water table. In dry years, it is munificent. a magnet for bumblebees and other native bees, as well as honeybees.

We use it as a groundcover, mowing or weed whipping it after it finishes setting seed in the fall. The low mounding foliage quickly returns through the fall and winter to form an attractive silvery-green groundcover.