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Camassia - Growing Guide

Caring for Camassia leichtlinii

These bulbous perennials from North America are excellent for naturalising in grassland or in a border. The top lawn at Wisley filled with violet blue flower spikes is one of the great shows there in April. This may well be one of the reasons that these bulbs have grown in popularity in recent years.

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Your spherical camassia bulbs should be planted in the autumn at a depth of about 4in deep in moist but well drained soil. Waterlogged soils will result in the bulbs rotting away. The selected planting spots can be in full sun (as at Wisley) or in partial shade. These bulbs grow well and flower well in pots or perhaps in large containers below a specimen shrub. They grow well alongside early season alliums.

The leaves emerge in March. These are narrow, linear and bright green. The flowers are borne on leafless stems which grow 2-3ft tall and about double the height of the fully developed leaves. The flowers are star shaped and, in the Caerulea Group, violet blue.

The leaves die down quickly after flowering but you should ensure that they have gone entirely brown and dead before any grass cutting takes place. If a group forms after a few years the bulbs can be lifted and separated in autumn. The seed can be sown in a cold frame in a container once it is ripe in June.



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