8 Camassia Cusickii (Wild Hyacinth Bulb)Blue star-shaped flowers tall spiky stem

Mount Everest

$ 19.95 

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A Pacific Northwest U.S. native that’s been cultivated commercially in the Netherlands for a long time, C. cusickii is best grown in moist, fertile soil in full sun to partial sunlight. Unlike most bulbs, it prefers soil that has a bit more moisture. Deer- and rodent-resistant, C. cusickii forms ever substantive clusters of linear strappy foliage around upright racemes studded with dozens of six-petaled, 2”, star-shaped pale wisteria-blue flowers with yellow anthers and whisper-green centers. The flowers open sequentially from the bottom to the top. Commonly known as the Wild Hyacinth, Camass, Quamash or Leichtlin’s camass, C. cusickii, circa 1888, is incredibly valuable since it naturalizes well when left undisturbed in a good spot, and since it blooms in the blank period between the big Narcissus and Tulip spring show and the big summer show when perennials and annuals hit their colorful strides. As it matures over time, when it’s happy where it’s planted, it naturalizes by bulb offsets (called bulbils: baby bulbs on the sides of the mother bulb you’ve planted). 

You’ll need four bulbs per square foot. (Square footage is determined multiplying the planting site’s length times its width.) Bulb size: 14 cm/up. Full to partial sunlight. Height: 24” to 30”. Bloom time in horticultural zone 5: May/June. Plant 5” deep and 5” apart. If it’s planted near a stream or pond, make sure to plant it above the high water mark. Even though Camassia likes soil with a bit of moisture, it can not be submerged in water. HZ: 4-8.
Strains of camassia have grown wild the northwestern United States for centuries. These were a traditional food for native Americans who roasted the roots to eat as vegetables and also boiled them to produce a sweet, molasses-like treat. The treat for travelers who have visited Oregon and Washington in the late spring is not the taste of these plants but the breathtaking swaths of powder to violet blue that can be seen festooning fields along the highways. You can grow these sparkling spires in your landscape, too. With the right site - sunny and moist, or drier with a little shade - they'll thrive on benign neglect. And it's that just what busy gardeners are looking for, right?

Outdoor Beds
Find a location where the soil drains well. If there are still water puddles 5-6 hours after a hard rain, scout out another site. Or amend the soil with the addition of organic material to raise the level 2-3" to improve the drainage. Peat moss, compost, ground bark or decomposed manure all work well and are widely available. Camassia are one of the few bulbs you'll find on this website that will grow in soil that's moist more of the time. For these beauties, perfect drainage isn't a requirement.
Site your camassia where they will receive full sun if the soil is moist. In slightly dried soils camassia can be grown in areas that receive 4-5 hours of direct sunlight.
Dig holes and plant the camassia bulbs 4" deep and 8-10" apart. The bulbs are rounded, with small pointy ends. Plant the points facing upwards. For best naturalizing results leave the plants undisturbed; they'll be fine for years in the same spot.
After planting, water the camassia well, gently soaking the soil to settle it around the bulbs. Roots and some foliage will form in the autumn. Buds are produced in late spring and and flowers in early summer.
When in bloom, feel free to cut the flowers for bouquets. This will not hurt the plants.
After blooming has finished for the season leave the foliage in place; don't cut it off. The leaves will gather sunlight, create food through photosynthesis and strengthen the bulbs for the future. Water as needed during active growth periods; about 1" of moisture per week is a good estimate.
By mid summer the leaves may yellow and die back as the plant slips into dormancy. Foliage many be removed at this point. Your camassia will rest for a few months before beginning the next growing cycle.
Pots, Barrels, Tubs & Urns
Camassi prefer to grow undisturbed. These are not the best plants to use for containers.

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