Santa Monica Mountains’ Wildflowers May Be ‘Late Bloomers’ This Season

April 2, 2018 by Juliet Bennett Rylah

Contrary to last year’s super bloom, wildflowers in the Santa Monica Mountains may bloom later in the year than usual due to less than average rainfall and late-season storms, according to a release from the Santa Monica Mountain National Recreation Area (SMMNRA).


Ecologists with the park say wildflowers should be blooming now, but rangers have yet to see much color. This does not mean that the wildflowers won’t bloom, but it may push the bloom to mid- to late April.

NPS restoration ecologist Joey Algiers explained via the release that plants take their cues from sunlight, temperature, and water, and that the “clues are out of whack” this year.

“It’s been a confusing year for plants. First, it was warm, the it got dry and then it became cold, followed up with frost and heavy rains,” Algiers said.

If you’d like to try your flower-finding luck, some SMMNRA-recommended spots to view wildflowers include Malibu Creek State Park, the China Flat area in Cheeseboro Canyon, and Rancho Sierra Vista in Newbury Park.

Or you can check out What’s Blooming, which is based on user-generated feedback that you too can contribute to should you go on a particularly floral hike. You can also attempt to identify flowers you might have spotted here.

Meanwhile, at the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve the park is expecting a small to moderate bloom, according to a recent status update on their Facebook page from March 26. Assuming the weather remains temperate (no heat waves or frost), park officials say they will begin to see more poppies bloom within the first week of April. On that note, if you want to see what a significant bloom looks like, watch this video from last year: