In addition to the California poppy, which is widely recognized in the western United States for its colorful orange blossom, there are many other varieties varying in color from white to red to purple and ranging in size from 6 inches to 4 feet tall. Each stalk produces only one flower at a time, and though most blossoms are 2-3 inches across, the Oriental poppy is 6 or more inches in diameter. They are fairly easy to grow, prefer cool sunny locations, and don't require much water. While some varieties, such as the California poppy, are perennials in temperate climates, they may be an annual in the Midwest where they can't withstand the cold winters.
Poppies don't transplant well, so it is best to sow the seeds outside when the ground is workable in the spring. For best results, plant them in a sunny location. They only need to be covered with a light amount of soil and watered enough to dampen them. When they have grown an inch or two tall, thin them out to 6-8 inches. Remove the flower when it has faded to encourage further blooming.
As can be seen by the picture at right, poppy foliage sometimes can resemble a giant pricker or something from the movie, A Little Shop of Horrors.