Camassias Outdoors

Guide to Growing Camassias, The Spring Flower

Last Updated on May 20, 2022 by Real Men Sow

Camassias are also called Indian hyacinth or quamash, and produce tall spires full of star-shaped blue, white, or sometimes pink star-shaped flowers in late April, May, and early June. They are cultivated from bulbs planted in autumn and come to their best when spring bulbs are finished flowering, while early perennials are still flowering.

Camassia Flowers Growing Conditions

Camassias are able to grow in moist, heavy soils unlike other spring bulbs. This makes them a great choice for places where other spring bulbs might not be able to thrive. They are extremely hardy and can be replanted year after year. The flowers are loved by bees, and they can withstand the stings of snails and slugs. They make great cut flowers and can grow up to 90cm in height, but they are strong and don’t require staking.

Growing Camassias in Pots

You can also plant Camassias in pots or borders and they look great when planted with early perennials like polygonatum (Solomon’s Seal), or dicentra, (bleeding heart). They also look great against the wisteria and euphorbia’s acid yellow. This plant looks great when planted in masses, similar to bluebells. They can be naturalized in grass, and they look great under deciduous trees and near streams.

How To Grow Camassias

Plant Camassia bulbs in autumn in moist, humus-rich soil. Camassia bulbs are happy in clay soil, and can grow in alkaline, neutral, or acidic soils. After flowering, let the leaves naturally die back and then divide any congested clumps.

Place To Plant

Plant Camassias in either part shade or in the sun in moist soil. Camassias are great for naturalizing in grass. However, you will need to let them die down before you mow. Choose a place where they can do this. Camassias can be grown in containers but they will need to be kept dry and in a warm place during winter.

How To Plant Camassias

Camassia bulbs can be planted in autumn from September through November. To make holes for each bulb, use a trowel or a bulb planter. The bulb’s pointed end should be facing upwards. Space around 10cm apart. It’s best to water the bulbs regularly. You can grow your Camassias in large pots using a loam-based soil and a large container. You should plant as deep as possible, and closer than you would in the ground.

Caring For Camassias

After watering the bulbs, you should ensure that they get enough moisture from rainwater. If there’s a prolonged dry spell, you can water them in the summer. Make sure you water the bulbs in pots in summer.

Do not cut the foliage until it is completely yellowed or has died back. This is crucial as the dead leaves will provide food for next year’s bulbs. If you don’t want to save seeds, then deadhead the flowers after they have faded.

Do I Need To Feed Camassia Plants?

Camassias do not require feeding, but they can be mulched in the autumn if they are growing in a border. If you live in very cold areas, this will protect your bulbs from freezing during winter.

Split the camassia clumps if they are not flowering well or becoming too congested in July and August. Replant the bulbs in a new location or further apart. In winter, move bulbs from pots to frost-free areas.

How To Propagate Camassias

Splitting bulbs in their dormant state during summer is the best way to propagate camassias. Split the clumps, and then replant them farther apart or somewhere else in the garden. The offsets around the main bulbs can be removed and replanted.

You can also collect the seed in early summer when it is ripe. However, you will need to be careful not to deadhead. Place the seed in a tray and let it germinate in a cold frame. It can take three years for new plants to bloom.

Camassias are generally trouble-free and are generally easy to grow. If the former, you can lift and divide the clump during summer.

Advice On Buying Camassias

  • For planting in autumn, buy bulbs after August so you can be sure they are fresh harvested
  • You should check the height of each variety. Camassias can vary in height from 30cm up to more than 1m.
  • Camassia plants can be purchased at a garden center in spring, but this is an expensive way to purchase them. It is much cheaper to plant bulbs in the autumn. A specialist supplier of bulbs will have the best selection.

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