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What should I do with these messy Californian Poppies?



  • Pink678Pink678 Posts: 401
    edited June 2022
    oh wow, I see!
    But then, wouldn't the other plants need to be really close to do this?  Like a flowerbed just packed with plants?
  • Pink678Pink678 Posts: 401
    I was wondering, could I put a little bamboo stake next to each plant and tie it on - I'm wondering if they could be encouraged to grow vertically that way, or whether I should just let them grow sideways if they prefer that.
  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,490
    As well as in gritty, poor soil, mine were in a big clump (so kind of supporting each other) and get plenty of strong sun, but afternoon sun from the west. The whole lot flopped southwards. Which way do yours face?

    Mine returned from last year, I’m wondering if they are better treated as annuals and resown every year, even when they are perennial? I don’t recall them flopping the first year.

    @Marlorena grows them and her clumps always seem neat and upright so might be able to help - do yours eventually flop too M?
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • Pink678Pink678 Posts: 401
    edited June 2022
    Mine are in a south facing bed, and they have all flopped southwards too. I think you are on to something there Nollie ...
    I don't remember mine flopping last year either. Although this year they were especially vigorous and large plants compared to last year. Mine are very woody and rooty at the base, and those woody bits seem so determined to grow flat.
  • TopbirdTopbird Posts: 8,247
    Mine always look lovely for a few weeks May / June but then they get too big for their boots and start going to seed and flopping everywhere. At that point I chop them right the way back and they bush out and flower again later in the season. 

    I usually leave some of the seed pods on the 2nd flush to ripen. In autumn I cut all the plants right back and scatter some of the ripened seeds. The next year I usually get a combination of a few old plants regrowing plus new plants from seed. 

    So I'm probably treating them a bit as short lived perennials but also as hardy annuals. I'm pretty sure no plants survive more than 2 seasons. The plants don't seem to like a very cold, wet winter so old plants don't always make it - but some of the seeds scattered in autumn always germinate.

    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • Pink678Pink678 Posts: 401
    Topbird how many inches do you leave when you chop them right the way back?
    I haven't left any seed pods, but I do have a few seeds in packets. Do you think autumn is the best time to scatter, just on bare soil?
    I wasn't expecting mine to keep going like this.
  • TopbirdTopbird Posts: 8,247
    I chop them right back to where there's a healthy clump of new bushy growth emerging - usually around 3 inches.

    I scatter the seeds in autumn because that's when the ripe seed pods (from the 2nd flush of flowers) are open and when I'm having a good tidy round. I usually just scatter them over the damp soil and maybe rake them in a tiny bit with a hand fork. .

    If I sow from a seed packet (which I do from time to time to introduce new colours - particularly the ivory version) I do that in spring because that's when I have my seed sowing head on😁
    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • Pink678Pink678 Posts: 401
    edited June 2022
    That's good to know, I did chop mine around 4" I think in the end.  I've just checked and I do have a bit of feathery new green growth growing in from the bottom.
    I'm still very much learning, and I wonder why it's good to leave some stalk when chopping back plants, is it just convenience or does it benefit the plant ...
    If I get a second flush I'll let some pods ripen. I'm quite tempted by the peach ones if I buy new seeds.
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 11,999
    @Pink678, I found using a packet of bamboo or wood barbecue skewers (available from most supermarkets) works really well for holding up small plants. I just put 3 or 4 of them around each clump and use fine string or knitting wool to tie them together. The ones I use have one shaped end on which I write the plant's name.
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • Pink678Pink678 Posts: 401
    Lizzie that sounds like a good idea. Especially using a few per plant, not just one. I straightened mine up a little bit manually, but some are still rather toppled.
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