Starting Channel Island Bush Poppy from seed?
May 20, 2013 3:07 PM   Subscribe

I have long lusted after a Channel Island Bush Poppy (dendromecon harfordii) but can never find the plant at any of our local native plant nurseries here in Los Angeles. I ordered seeds and have found conflicting information about how to start it from seed. I received a packet of seeds and a pink slip of paper that contained the same chemicals released in brush fire conditions. The instructions said to soak the paper with the seeds for 24 hours and then sow. No more information than that.

One website says to plant in 3" coir pots with equal parts sand/peat/compost and then put in fridge to vernalize. Other website says to sow directly but germination will take 6-8 weeks.

Do I really have to wait 6-8 weeks to see seedlings pop through? I couldn't do the vernalization due to having a tiny fridge. After soaking the seeds (they did swell and split open), I put them in coir pots with a thin layer of sand covering the seeds and covered the tray with a clear piece of plastic. They're out in a shady part of the yard.

Have I done this right?

I know the seeds are challenging to start but I want to know how long to keep the seeds moist with my spray bottle before giving up.

Is a shady part of the yard correct?

I am a novice gardener, so please hold my hand and use plain English! :)
posted by dottiechang to Home & Garden (6 answers total)
I would have gone with the fridge and the propogator as described here.

Grown plants seem to be available mailnorder in th US.
posted by BenPens at 3:27 PM on May 20, 2013

Check in with the nice folks at Las Pilitas Nursery They're specialist in California native plants and very generous with information.
posted by X4ster at 3:29 PM on May 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Just checked the Las Pilitas home page - yes they have Channel Island Bush Poppy for sale, deliverable by mail.
posted by X4ster at 3:35 PM on May 20, 2013

You might also check around at the Theodore Payne Foundation. They specialize in native plants in the Southern Cal area.
posted by BlahLaLa at 3:39 PM on May 20, 2013

Thanks everyone, I have tried buying from Las Pilitas and TPF and neither ever have any plants in stock. A volunteer at TPF told me there are people who call almost daily to put a reserve on any plants as they become available--so they're pretty much in a constant state of being sold out.

There's a full grown bush poppy specimen at the TPF nursery that is GORGEOUS. I may have shed a little tear when I saw it in full bloom. I went online to order the seeds the next day!

I understand that the plant is hard to propagate, leading to low supply and high demand, so I'm guessing I'll have trouble starting my seeds.

I didn't think of contacting the nurseries for advice, thanks! I'll give it a try. I am a TPF member, so I'm sure they'll be able to point me in the right direction.
posted by dottiechang at 4:10 PM on May 20, 2013

You can add it to a wish list at Annie's Annuals, and they'll email you when it's in stock.
posted by bunji at 10:31 PM on May 20, 2013

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