Camassia quamash

Height: 60-90cm (2-3ft)

Planting distance: 15cm (6in)

Features: flowers summer

Soil: humus-rich: moist, well-drained

Site: full: sun or partial shade

Type: bulb

As they thrive in damp conditions, an ideal site for these spiky-looking plants is a spot beside a garden pond. They will also grow in herbaceous borders or semi-wild, grassy areas, provided the soil isn’t too sandy.

The star-like flowers come out in early to mid summer – spikes of small blooms in various shades of blue, violet or white on 90cm (3ft) high stems.

All the species are hardy and require very little attention once they have been planted.

Popular species

Camassia cusickii has wisteria-blue flowers on stems 60cm (2ft) high. Plant the bulbs 7.5cm (3in) deep and 15cm (6in) apart and they will spread freely.

Camassia esculenta is 75cm (2.5 ft) high. Its violet flowers are densely clustered at the end of the stems. Camassia leichtlinii is the most striking species, with star-shaped, white, creamy yellow or violet-blue flowers appearing in mid summer. The plants are 90cm (3ft) high and the bulbs should be planted 15cm (6in) apart.

Cultivation

Plant the bulbs 7.5-10cm (3-4in) deep in early or mid autumn in humus-rich, well-drained soil which is un-likely to dry out in spring and early summer. Covering the bulbs with plenty of peat or leafmouid will help keep the soil damp.

Arrange the bulbs 15cm (6in) apart in large groups in light shade or full sun for the best effect. Deadhead after flowering.

Propagation: When the clumps become too dense, lift the bulbs in early autumn, remove any offsets and replant immediately. These offsets take between one and three years to produce flowers.

Pests and diseases: Trouble free.

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