Camassia, with their pretty purple-blue flowers, are one of the most easygoing bulbs to grow! Related to the asparagus family, Camassia are hardy and long lasting and love growing wild in open areas. In fact they thrive easily in most conditions, from drier areas to damp soils and rarely ever have problems with pests or disease. They are not so happy in containers however as they prefer to be unconstricted in their growth. A native plant of North America, camassia bulbs were once a staple food for Native Americans and settlers. It was so important that many areas of the Northwest were named after the plant, such as Camas Valley, Oregon, Camas County, ID, and Lacamas Creek in Washington to name a few.
Planting camassia bulbs:
- In the Fall, choose a spot that is somewhat sunny and has reasonably well-draining soil.
- Planting camassia bulbs is fairly simple. Bulbs look much like a small onion, with wiry roots growing out of one site and a spike on the other. Plant with the roots pointing down and the spike pointing up.
- Follow the rule of thumb when planting bulbs and give the bulbs at least 2 times their height of soil above them. Dig a 3-4 inch deep hole, drop the bulb into it and cover with soil.
- Regarding the spacing between bulbs, if planting in beds, leave approx 3 inches between each cluster of bulb. If you are planting in containers, you can space them a little closer together.
- After planting, water well so that the soil above the bulbs settles.
- Camassia bulbs will flower in the Spring. After the flowers die down, the plant can enjoy a warmer rest period. You don't have to water too much during this rest period. Leaves will also die back and at this point, you can choose to tidy up the plant and remove the old leaves or just let nature take its own course.