Camassia (Camassia) – bulb culture for the garden

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Description: The name was borrowed from the inhabitants of North America, who used the onion of some species as food. Camassia grow on open mountain slopes, mountain meadows, near streams, well-moistened soils in spring and dry summer, in the temperate zones of North America, rising to the mid-mountain belt. A total of 5-6 species have been studied (almost all in the USA and western Canada). They are bulbous plants with a bunch of basal foliage sticking up, which appears long before the appearance of inflorescences, and an erect stem. The camassia bulb consists of films and of many dry, storage, covering scales, reaching 5 cm in diameter. The basal foliage is elongated-lanceolate, bluish-green, up to 60 cm long. The flowers are collected in racemose apical inflorescences. The perianth has six narrow lobes, one of which is bent down. The flowers are blue, white, blue, cream or purple. The fruit is a triangular capsule with many black seeds. Camassias were brought to Europe relatively recently (at the beginning of the 19th century) and became a popular garden culture.

  • Lighting: partial shade or sunny.
  • Soil Type: Any soil that retains moisture will work well for Camassia. Heavy soils will also be quite suitable, but it must be borne in mind that due to prolonged waterlogging in winter, the plant may get wet.
  • Pests and diseases: standard for small bulbs.

Camassia quamash – Camassia quamash

It grows in mountainous areas mainly in the taiga zone of western Canada and the USA. More precisely, the distribution areas are as follows: from Montana and British Columbia to California and Utah. Camassia bulb can be eaten.

The shape of the bulb is spherical or broadly ovoid, 1 to 5 cm in diameter, brown or black. The stem of this type of camassia reaches 20-80 cm in height. The ground foliage is linear, 15 to 60 cm long, 0.5 to 2 cm wide. The underside of the leaves is lighter. The brush is from 10 to 20 cm long, it has about 35 flowers. Pedicels 0.5 to 3 cm long. The bracts are often wide and rather conspicuous, and are equal in length or slightly longer than the pedicels. The flowers are blue, white or violet-blue, zygomorphic or actinomorphic (both are found in the same inflorescence). Tepals 0.2-0.8 cm wide, 1.2-3.5 cm long, obtuse or pointed, persistent with 3-9 veins. When dry, they begin to weave together around the ovary. The pistil is slightly curved, slightly longer than the stamens. The anthers are blue-violet or yellow, and the filaments are very thin. The box is 0.8-2.5 cm long, in total there are about 8 black seeds in the nest. Flowering period – late spring – early summer. The duration of flowering is 10-15 days.

Camassia Kuzika – Camassia cusickii

It grows on the slopes of mountains in the taiga zone at an altitude of 1100 – 1800 m above sea level in the Western United States. This type of Camassia was named after the person who first collected this plant.

This camassia has several bulbs about 9 cm long, 2 to 5 cm in diameter. The shape is broad. Has an unpleasant smell. The stems are strong enough, 50 to 100 cm high . The shape of the foliage is from xiphoid to belt-shaped, long pointed, width – 1.5-5 cm , length – 40-80 cm , wavy along the edge, bluish-green above, strongly grooved. The length of the brush is up to 40 cm , from 30 to 100 flowers are concentrated in it. Bracts, pointed, narrow, twisted in the middle part of the inflorescence. The length of the upper bracts is 5.5 cm , the lower ones are 8.8 cm .

The diameter of the flowers is about 3 cm , the shade is light blue. Tepals are obtuse, linear-oblong, keeled, 1.5 to 3.5 cm long, with 3-5 veins, 3 of which are bent inward in the upper half, and 3 others are slightly wider and longer than the first, with short claws, almost flat and with two small ears at the base of the nail. The tepals after flowering dry up at the base of the fruit, hang, do not curl together. The stamens are shorter than the perianth. The length of the filaments is 1.5-1.6 cm . Color is white. The color of the anthers is yellow, and their length is 0.5 cm .

Column 1.5 cm long. The box is oblong or ovoid, length – 1.5 – 2.5 cm . In fruit, the pedicels are erect, 1.5-2.5 cm long. The flowering period is the end of spring – the beginning of summer, the length of flowering is 12-16 days .

General recommendations for growing camassia

Features of care: in the dry summer of camassia, watering is necessary. In early spring, even in the snow, when the soil surface steadily thaws during the day and the snow begins to melt, and freezes at night, it is necessary to apply top dressing with full mineral fertilizer. Nitrofoska is best suited. It must be evenly scattered on the site where the bulbous plants are planted, at the rate of 50-60 g per 1 m2. In autumn, in September-October, it is recommended to mulch plantings of camassia with humus or peat, protecting them for the winter. When using peat, the thickness of the mulch layer should be 5-7 cm, and when using humus, 2-3 cm. Mulch will also protect plantings from drying out in summer and spring.

Camassia bulb in the photo

Reproduction: carried out by planting seeds and bulbs. Camassia seeds require long-term cold stratification (about 5 months), because the initial development and germination of the seedling (up to the first leaf) occurs at low temperatures. Therefore, the plant should be sown in the fall. If the flower is propagated by seeds, then it will bloom for 3-4 years. After 3-4 years, adult bulbs form 5-8 bulbs of various sizes. With a slight thickening, they bloom well. But after 5-6 years, the “nests” of the bulbs must be planted. The roots of the bulbs do not need to be cut after digging. Bulbs before planting can be stored in any well-ventilated area, most importantly – not in the sun. The division of the bulbs should be carried out right before planting. Planting depth should be 12-15 cm, and the distance should be about 15 cm from each other.

Application: Camassias are used for various floral arrangements. The most suitable place for planting is lawns. In August, these plants begin to lose their charm, so they are well planted in mixed perennials. Also, these flowers look great against the background of a coniferous hedge.

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