California Poppies



Can I plant California Poppies in my garden in Mississauga? Will they survive they winter like Oriental or Iceland Poppy does? What about Shirley Poppy.

Secondly where can I get the seeds or plants of California or Shirley Poppy from in GTA? Thank you.


The oriental poppy, Papaver orientales, is truly perennial and very hardy. It can live for years in Ontario gardens. The other poppies you mention are more short-lived and behave either as annuals or biennials in our gardens.

Eschscholzia californica, commonly called California poppy, is actually a short-lived perennial where the winters are milder, but here in Ontario it behaves as an annual. You can purchase plants or seeds in many garden centres in the GTA.

Shirley poppy is also an annual plant. It is a cultivar deriving from the species: Papaver rhoeas. It is also easily grown from seed, planted in early spring. (Wikipedia)

Iceland (or Arctic) poppy, Papaver nudicaule, is another a short-lived perennial, though it is cold hardy. It is often planted from seed, as an annual or biennial. (Missouri plant finder lists it for planting from seed in Feb/March)

Many nurseries have stocks of seeds and some of the larger nurseries generally have an inventory of already potted poppies for sale early in the season.  Landscape Ontario has a comprehensive list of nurseries in the Toronto area.

If you decide on seeds, fall or early spring are generally the recommended times for sowing. A couple of earlier Toronto Master Gardener posts deal with growing poppies from seed:   and

Note that once you plant these “annual” poppies, they will go to seed once they have flowered, and you will be able to keep your poppy patch going year after year.