California poppy is a native annual that we normally seed in fall along with other wildflowers. Even in winter or early spring, you can usually find nursery transplants to dot your dormant landscape with golden-yellow flowers and harvest the seeds for next year.
This Western U.S. native needs very shallow, even rocky soils to survive, and will thrive in situations where other plants die.
If you have any amount of soil at all, be careful not to overwater these plants.
If we have a rainy winter, you’ll be rewarded with prolific blooms when these plants regrow each spring. As annuals, the parent plant will die after flowering, resprouting from seeds each fall, when they may need a little extra water if we aren’t seeing much rainfall.
You can also plant them in containers, in which case you’d be better off reseeding each year, or replacing with new transplants.
Full sun is best, and shady spots should be avoided. If you don’t live in the Hill Country or another rocky area, you should build berms or otherwise amended beds for these plants. Sandy soil and decomposed granite would work well.