ALL ABOUT CAMASSIA

This lovely, spring-blooming perennial is native to the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. Camassia’s flower stalks stand 24-30” tall and display dozens of star-like florets that open from the bottom up. Depending on the cultivar, the flower color may be white, cream, blue or purple.

The bulbs are hardy in zones 4-8 and both the plant and the bulbs are resistant to deer and rodent damage. 

Camassia is also known as wild hyacinth, Indian hyacinth and quamash.

Planning

Camassia bloom in late spring, after the daffodils and before peonies and other early summer perennials.

In their natural habitat, these bulbs grow in woodland edges and moist meadows. Once planted, they will usually naturalize and bloom for many years.

After camassia finish flowering, their foliage starts to yellow and fade away. For this reason, camassias are not ideal for flower beds. They are also not recommended for containers because the bulbs prefer to be undisturbed.

Camassia are good cut flowers and cutting the stems does not harm the plant. For best results, condition the flowers overnight in cool water before arranging them.

Planting

Plant camassia in moist, humus-rich soil that’s slightly acidic. Full sun is ideal, but these plants will also grow in partial shade. Camassia bulbs tolerate more moisture than most other spring-blooming bulbs but should not be planted in a soggy area or in a depression where water may accumulate 

The bulbs are rounded and have a pointy end that should face up when planting. Plant the bulbs 5” deep and 5 to 6” apart.

Aftercare

Camassia bulbs may be left undisturbed for many years and will gradually multiply on their own. You may also dig up the bulbs in summer when they are dormant and harvest the offsets that form around the main bulbs. These may be planted elsewhere and will grow to be blooming size in a couple years.