Camassias or quamashes provide a link from the spring bulbs to early summer hardy perennials. Flowering around the same time as alliums, they are especially suited for prairie planting and meadow grass borders — when planting in grass, leave the long strappy leaves for around six to eight weeks before mowing.
Camassia Cusickii is usually the first to flower, followed closely by the Leichtlinii varieties who will bring height to the borders with their impressive tall spires of star-shaped flowers. Their shorter cousins, camassias Quamash (Esculenta) and Orion will only reach 30 to 40 cm. All varieties make great cut flowers.
Plant around 10 cm deep in a moist, well-drained, humus-rich soil — allowing for around 40 bulbs per square meter for the larger varieties and around 75 to 100 bulbs for the shorter, smaller varieties such as camassias Quamash and Orion. In dry summers, it is advisable to water them regularly although it is important to note that they will not tolerate water-logged soil. Feed every couple of weeks with high potash feed. If you garden organically, liquid seaweed is ideal as it’s organic and comes from a sustainable source. Cut back the flowering stems as soon as the flowers fade and allow the leaves to die back naturally before lifting and dividing congested clumps. Remove any offsets and replant them! It will take these little bulbs a few years to reach flowering potential but the wait will be worth it. In cold areas provide mulch over winter.
Always unpack on arrival and store in a cool place until ready to plant.
Potential problems, pests and diseases:
Camassias do not suffer from any serious diseases or pest problems.