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Guide to Growing Wild Hyacinth, Camass, Quamash

Camassia are hardy bulbs. They can grow up to 2 m in size but smaller varieties can be as little as 30 cm in size.

They carry white or blue star like flowers. Common names for garden plants from the genus Camassia include Camass, Missouri Hyacinth, Wild Hyacinth and Quamash.

Plants normally flowers from late spring to summer.

Camassia leichtlinii


Camassia
Camassia leichtlinii photographs by Cliff1066 and Tom Bech.

Camassia quamash
Camassia quamash (Camas) by Brewbooks.

How to Grow Camassia

Quick Camassia Growing Guide and Facts

Common Names: Camass, Quamash, Missouri Hyacinth, Wild Hyacinth, Bear Grass.
Life Cycle: Hardy bulb.
Height: 12 to 72 inches (30 to 180 cm).
Native: Northern America.
Growing Region: Zones 4 to 9.
Flowers: Late spring and throughout to summer.
Flower Details: Blue, white, cream, violet, lilac. Star-shaped. Six petals. Raceme.
Foliage: Herbaceous. Linear.
Sow Outside: Usually grown from Camassia bulbs as seed grown plants will not bear flowers for about five years.
Bulb: 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm). Autumn. Spacing 6 to 9 inches (15 to 23 cm).
Seed: cover. Summer from fresh seed. Seeds should first be sown onto flats. Next sink the flat into the ground in an area that offers shade, preferably close to a wall that faces north. Provide a glass/plastic covering. Keep an eye on the flats to ensure that the soil remains moist and to check if seedlings have emerged. Seeds take from one to six months to germinate. After two years transplant the seedlings to their final location in autumn.
Sow Inside: No
Requirements: Full sunlight or light shade. Good drainage. Slightly acidic rich soil, moist soil. Provide a spring feed. Regular watering. Cut back to the ground once flowering has completed. Do not disturb settled plants. Only divide Camassia when they become overcrowded. Propagate: by dividing new bulblets at the start of autumn.
Miscellaneous: Used as a traditional food plant by native Indian tribes such as the Blackfoot and Cree.

How to Grow Wild Hyacinth (Camassia)

Members of the Camassia genus should be grown outdoor. Bulbs should be buried to a depth of 12 cm in the autumn. Alternatively ripe seed can be sown in flats (faced north)in the the summer; just cover the seed with topsoil, then cover the flats with glass.

The seeds of wild hyacinth and other Camassia members normally takes from one to six months to germinate. The seedlings will be ready for transplanting after two years of growth. Camassia seedlings should be spaced about 15 to 20 cm apart in a sunny or partially shaded part of the garden, which has moist, slightly acidic soil and good drainage.

Caring for Camassia species in your garden

It will take about five years for Camassia plants grown from seed to reach a mature state in which they will flower; during this time they should be lightly fertilized every spring, and frequently watered.


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