Camassia is an often overlooked but spectacular spring bulb that takes over the show after tulips drop their petals and daffodil foliage begins to yellow. It produces spires of beautiful purple or blue flowers in late spring and early summer alongside favorites like allium, peony iris Add this cool beauty to an entryway planting for a burst of late-spring color. Plant large drifts of camassia in perennial or shrub borders; its striking blue-purple flowers are visible from long distances.
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Spring Pollinator Garden
Pair camassia, a North American native, with other spring-blooming plants to create an early-season pollinator patch. Bleeding heart vine (Clerodendrum thomsoniae) adds heart-shape flowers and medium green or chartreuse foliage to the mix. False indigo stands 3 to 4 feet tall and produces wands of purple or white flowers in early summer. Midspring-blooming prairie smoke is a ground-hugging favorite that produces eye-catching fuzzy seed heads after its reddish-pink to purple flowers fade. Spiderwort, lupine, and spring-blooming phlox are also easy-to-grow pollinator favorites.
Camassia Care Must-Knows
Camassia plants grow best in full sun and moist, fertile, well-drained soil. They will tolerate part shade and a woodland planting area. Like other spring bulbs, camassia is planted in the fall. Plant bulbs 4 to 6 inches deep and 6 inches apart. Water well and cover the soil with a 2-inch layer of mulch.
Camassia varieties bloom best when they get ample moisture during the spring growing season. Water plants as needed to maintain a moist—not wet—growing environment. After blooming, camassia foliage slowly turns yellow. Allow the foliage to turn completely yellow before removing it. Plants go dormant in midsummer.
Make a Bouquet
This long-lasting cut flower is a favorite of florists. Make your own bouquet by snipping stems shortly after the lowest flowers begin to open. The remainder of the flowers on the stem will open in the coming days. Cut flowers in the early morning to avoid heat stress and quickly plunge stems into a pail of water. When arranging in a vase, recut the stems and place the bouquet in a cool, brightly lit location.
More Varieties of Camassia
Camassia leichtlinii 'Caerulea' offers spikes of starry lavender-blue flowers in late spring. It grows 4 feet tall. Zones 4-10
Camassia 'Blue Danube' is a lovely selection with dark purple-blue blooms in late spring or early summer. It grows 4 feet tall. Zones 4-10
Camassia cusickii bears spikes of light blue flowers in late spring or early summer. It grows 3 feet tall. Zones 3-10
Camassia quamash bears spikes of violet-blue flowers in late spring. It grows 32 inches tall. Zones 4-10