Camassia (Camassia) is a bulbous flowering perennial belonging to the Liliaceae family. In natural conditions, the flower grows in the United States, Canada, where it takes refuge on the vegetative mountain slopes or on the vast steppe plains with a humid spring and dry summer climate.
The amazing beauty of the flower attracts many breeders. Camassia does not require much maintenance. However, in our latitudes, the plant is considered exotic and is grown very rarely.
Description of camassia flower
The diameter of one bulb does not exceed 5 cm. The skin consists of scaly plates. The length of the stems reaches 20-100 cm. The leaves originate from the basal rosette and have a rich green color with a bluish tinge. The flowers resemble the shape of stars. They form spikelet inflorescences. The species of camassia grown by gardeners are characterized by a varied palette of colors. Among the varieties, there are white, blue, milky and lilac tones.
The flowering of camassia varieties growing in the middle climatic zone begins in late spring, so this bulbous flower belongs to late-flowering perennials. Star-shaped buds, like lilies, gather in fragrant brushes.
Planting camassia in the open field
Growing from seeds
To grow a camassia plant on the site, use seeds or divide the bulbs. The most favorable time for sowing seeds is the end of the summer season. The flowerbed is plowed by mixing the soil with peat or rotted organic fertilizer at the rate of 4 kg per square meter of land.
Healthy seedlings will not appear from seeds without stratification. The stratification period must last for at least five months. For the best result, gardeners recommend doing winter sowing. In the middle of autumn, the flower bed is dug up and narrow shallow grooves are organized, where the seeds are poured. When the seedlings show their heads, they are thinned out so that the distance between individual shoots is 30 cm.
Seedlings of camassia
To breed good strong Kamassia seedlings, the seeds are prepared in advance. They are sprinkled with wet sand and stored in the refrigerator, wrapped in a bag until spring arrives. During this time, the material, as it follows, will be hardened, which in the future will have a positive effect on germination. Sowing activities start at the beginning of March.
Camassia has large seeds. 2-3 achenes will fit in one pot, it is no longer needed, otherwise you will have to spend time later on picking. The seed is deepened by no more than 1 cm. The flowerbed with seedlings is watered abundantly, trying to ensure that excess water drains from the pan.
In the process of growth and development, plants are watered moderately. It is advisable to keep the pots under diffused light, then the seedlings will grow evenly, without stretching to the top. Repeated feeding with mineral compositions used for flower perennials will only benefit. The grown seedlings need to be hardened before they go into the open ground. Planting mature Kamassia seedlings is carried out on the site by a transshipment method in warm weather, maintaining an interval from one bush to another 30 cm. A flower planted from a seed begins to bloom in five years.
The bulbs also produce quite decent seedlings with a developed root system. In the third year after planting, the mother bulb is overgrown with 5 to 8 daughter bulbs. After flowering is complete, the nests are dug up and stored in a darkened room with access to air at room temperature. To prevent the Camassia bulbs from drying out, they are separated just before they are planted in the ground. To prevent infection and infection, the material is disinfected with a potassium permanganate solution.
The planting depth for a loose substrate is about 15 cm, for a heavy one - no more than 10 cm. The planting will look more decorative if the bulbs are placed in groups in a flower bed.
Caring for camassia in the garden
Planting and caring for camassia in the garden is not difficult. A lighted corner in the garden or a place located in a light partial shade is ideal for laying out a flower bed. In the shade, the peduncles stretch out and become lush, and the flowers stay on the stems longer.
It is better to select the soil for growing camassia in a moist, loamy with a fertile environment, then the plants will be attractive and slender.
Without the flow of natural rain moisture, the site is periodically watered, preventing waterlogging. Otherwise, the rotting process will start, and the bulb will soon die.
The nutrient-deprived soil is fertilized several times during the season. The first time in the spring when the leaves appear, the second - when the peduncles are formed. The usual complexes of minerals for flowering perennials are suitable. The soil is loosened from time to time and weeds are removed.
Camassia is resistant to cold. Wintering of this bulbous perennial occurs without problems. Additional shelter for the flower bed is allowed not to be organized. At first, young seedlings are simply mulched with dry foliage or a thin layer of peat.
Diseases and pests of camassia
Camassia is able to resist many pests. Cases of fungal infection leading to the development of putrefactive foci on the scales of the bulbs are rarely observed. As a preventive measure, planting material is thoroughly etched before being sent into the ground. Weakly infected bulbs can be salvaged. They are dug up, the diseased areas are cut off, and the place of the cut is treated with a fungicidal preparation.
One of the most dangerous insects that pose a threat to the root bulb is a tick. Traces of damage appear in the form of deformation of leaf blades, white spotted plaque, mold and rot. The leaves curl, and the bulbs shrink.
Infected nests must be quickly collected and incinerated. The planting site is then sprayed with insecticides or treated with a solution of nettle leaves. To prepare the solution, pour fresh nettle with boiling water and let it brew for 5 days. The concentrate is diluted with water at a ratio of 1:10. For prevention, it will not hurt to disinfect the bulbs in hot water before planting them in the soil.
Slugs that feast on green vegetation will have to be collected by hand or laid out on the site of traps and baits
Types and varieties of camassia with photos
The genus of Camassia, small in number, includes only 6 species. Cultural species include:
Most gardeners are familiar with this type of camassia. In nature, the plant lives in an area dominated by a clay substrate and moderate climatic weather. We are talking mainly about the territory of the United States. The main shoot, bearing peduncles, is strong and powerful, can reach a height of about 1.4 m. The inflorescence consists of many corollas, the diameter of which does not exceed 5 cm. The color of the flower is blue, and purple specimens also predominate. A perennial is able to grow in one place from 4 to 5 years, retaining its decorative effect.
The most famous varieties of Camassia Leuchtlin:
- coerulea with bright blue corollas;
- alba is a variety with white flowers;
- semiplena - creamy terry inflorescences;
- Soft pink - pale pink brushes, like stars, adorn flower stalks;
- Sacajawea is a rare variety with white-bordered leaves and lovely creamy white flowers.
The height of the bushes under usual conditions is no more than 80 cm, however, there are also undersized specimens, in which the longest stem barely reaches 40 cm. The loose, open corollas of this variety are painted in a pale blue color. They are woven into lush inflorescences. The wild perennial prefers to climb the mountain slopes overlooking the sea. It is recommended to divide the mother bulb at least once every several years, because the root nests grow rapidly and pull vital juices and nutrients from the bush.
The variety Zwanenburg, bred by breeders from the Netherlands, deserves attention. The plant is distinguished by massive blue corollas.
Camassia quamash or edible (Camassia quamash syn. Camassia Esculenta)
The flower is of medium height, the inflorescence contains 30-40 corollas. The diameter of each of them is about 4 cm. The variety is presented in blue and pale purple shades, occasionally white.
Of the varieties, mention should be made of:
- Blue Melody - deep blue corollas with golden stamens and leaves, the ends of which are edged in white;
- Orion - variety height 80 cm, inflorescences of a heavenly tone.
Camassia in landscape design
As soon as the plant fades, all the ground parts also end their vital processes. At the beginning of August, the flower bed will be empty, so it is better to take care of what flowers will fill the area later.
Camassia is grown taking into account the height of the shoots and the color of the variety. Flower species belonging to the group of tall perennials look favorably in the center of a flower bed or as a hedge. Plants in the garden look no less attractive if they are planted taking into account the increase. Then the flowers will not close the neighboring plantings. Lower varieties are recommended to be placed in rockeries or planted along the curb. Camassia will be a wonderful decoration for a natural reservoir. The flower is resistant to moisture.
Crazy about spring. Part Three: Late Spring
The last period of spring - late spring, or pre-summer - is a fertile time for lush grasses, blooming gardens and long-awaited warmth. During this period, everything that can bloom blooms: lilies of the valley, pansies, berserk, daisies, forget-me-nots, phlox, lilac, jasmine, bird cherry. This list can be continued for a long time. But we want to draw your attention to the decorative bow, which is distinguished by a great variety and has long won a worthy place in the modern design of the garden. This unpretentious bulbous plant begins to bloom in late spring and freezes for a long time at the peak of beauty. Large and small, purple and white balls-inflorescences are able to favorably emphasize flower beds in both formal and rural gardens. Just a few varieties of ornamental onions will add a bright accent to a landscape that will last from May to August. Let's take a walk through European spring gardens, in which the ornamental bow plays a major role.
Locus Flevum Garden
Several years ago, the Dutch garden owners Locus Flevum set themselves the task of linking the classic elements of gardening art with modern architecture. And such a bold decision of a young couple of entrepreneurs paid off: Locus Flewum is an example of modern gardening. Skillfully and with great imagination, the compositions included hedges, ponds, arches, trellises, perennials and bulbous flowers.
In late spring, the garden radiates the joy that is characteristic of the southern countries. And the white facade of the house and gravel paths only intensify the feeling of the beginning of the pre-leave euphoria, forgotten over the winter. At this time of year, purple, blue and lilac balls of ornamental onion inflorescences brighten up the private garden as well as possible. Pink flowers of hardy peaches and lilac and red inflorescences of the catchment make them cheerful company. Two examples illustrate the shapes of flowers that contrast with each other. Surrounded by graceful plants, the compact balls of ornamental onions look natural and attractive. And, conversely, against the background of racemose inflorescences, the graphic severity of the decorative bow is more pronounced.
Christian Bahl Garden
In May, when most of the spring bulbous flowers have already faded and the perennials are not yet ready to bloom in all their glory, Bal's garden in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, seems to be covered by a floating purple veil. The time has come for the flowering of ornamental onions. The catnip and the giant onion (Allium giganteum), intertwined with the delicate greens of large grasses, set the tone for an entire garden that exudes optimism and vitality.
Bal's garden is the pursuit of excellence. Using one color and several types of plants, the garden architect achieved the effect of visual enlargement and openness of a flower garden made of decorative onions. Like masterfully placed notes that spill out into beautiful chords, the flower balls convey their own irresistible melody, announcing the end of spring and the arrival of summer. Ornamental onion inflorescences formally find their reflection in green boxwood balls scattered throughout the garden.
The spherical shapes in the garden are not accidental. After all, the ball is one of the most significant and ancient symbols of human civilization, a symbol of the Universe and world order. In order for a garden to always remain attractive, its design according to this model requires a certain foresight. When the riot of catnip and decorative bows slowly fades away, floribunda roses begin to play their solo part. Only the seed pods of the ornamental onions, sparkling with jade color, remind of spring.
Svenja Schwedtke Garden
Garden plants, like everything creative, are subject to the trends of the times. Just remember how popular long-stemmed tea roses were in the 50s and English bush roses that are fashionable today. Very often, a change in trend is associated with personalities who, with their unusual ideas, charisma and perseverance, were able to influence our tastes and views. Examples include David Austin's roses or Pete Udolph's prairie gardens. But in the world of bulbous plants, and in particular, ornamental onions, Svenja Schwedtke and Rainer Kumetat opened our eyes to the enormous diversity and beauty of this plant. Two passionate gardeners are pioneers in the modern use of bulbous flowers. For ten years now, the bright caps of ornamental onion inflorescences have adorned themed demonstration gardens of the garden economy, which is located on the edge of Holstein Switzerland (Germany).
A specially created market of bulbous flowers in the fall gathers hundreds of visitors who tirelessly place orders for the varieties they like. For those lost in choice, Svenja Schwedtke gives the following pragmatic but effective advice: Plant generously the inexpensive 'Purple Sensation' bulbs throughout the garden, and use the exclusive 'Globemaster' for accents.
Les déesses vertes garden
Some readers may be surprised that Belgium is a land of amazing private gardens! As the saying goes, "Noblesse oblige" - the position obliges! Such conclusions suggest themselves, one has only to pay attention to the shiny brass door plates, the presence of which indicates that the visitor enters the house to the baron, prince or some kind of countess. It's quite different for Kathleen and Daniel De Sy-De Smet. Here it is not so much the position that obliges, as the prevailing good taste!
Despite the fact that the garden of a married couple of veterinarians is only partially visible from the street, it makes a fascinating first impression: a real prairie front garden! The transition to 21st century landscape design is perfect. Kathleen De Smet perfectly combines graceful grasses with compact globular boxwood bushes. The raging sea of grasses is adorned with sage and ornamental deep purple onions.
And more colors are not needed here, since the sun brings a certain revival with its golden rays. To have a positive effect, such a steppe landscape certainly needs a lot of space. In "Les déesses vertes" prairie plantings cover an area of about 200 m2.The hilly terrain is visually interrupted by a neatly trimmed yew hedge decorated with pyramids and cones. Plants in the garden have a graphically simple structure of leaves and flowers. Thus, nothing distracts attention from the elegance of the ruffled hosta leaves and the white caps-inflorescences of ornamental onions.
Choosing a planting site for bulbous flowers
In spring and autumn, hundreds of species and thousands of varieties of bulbous flowers attract amateur gardeners. To avoid disappointment, there are some conditions to be followed when choosing a landing site. Miriam Munich, Germany shares her experience. Her employer has been selling flower bulbs under the Kiepenkerl brand for 47 years, among which there are many new products.
Do bulbous flowers only need a sunny spot to bloom well?
Mariam Munich, Kiepenkerl:
It depends on the type of plant. In general, tall, late-blooming and large-flowered bulbous flowers and tuberous plants require a lot of sun for profuse flowering. These include classic daffodils and hazel grouses, tulips and decorative bows. All types of plants that bloom in summer, such as lilies, gladioli, dahlias and cannes, are also very fond of the sun. But all the flowers of early spring and spring flowering feel great in the light shade of shrubs. This applies to delicate snowdrops, spring plants, crocuses, forest trees, anemones, chionodox, spring white flowers, kandyks, muscari, hyacinths, forest tulips and wild garlic with its white balls of inflorescences.
Are there bulbous flowers for wet locations?
Mariam Munich, "Kiepenkerl":
Of course, here I would also like to recommend the hazel grouse, which prefers extremely moist soil! The European kandyk and spring belovets feel good in moist soil. Together with late tulips, Camassia begins to bloom, the bulbs of which also prefer moisture. Among the crocuses for a wet meadow, you should choose the crocus Tomasini.
Top dressing of bulbous flowers
As for the fertilization of bulbous flowers, there are different, even contradictory opinions. We asked the expert Sabine Klingelhöfer of Neudorff for solid advice, who prefers the targeted use of organic fertilizers.
Which bulbous flowers need fertilization?
Sabine Klingelhofer, Neudorff:
All bulbous flowers require nutrients for lush flowering, which accumulate in the bulbs. Small harbingers of spring such as forest tulips, spring flowers, snowdrops, bluebirds and chionodox are absolutely undemanding. All they need is to apply compost only 1 cm thick at the beginning of spring. If crocuses and snowdrops grow on the lawn, regular feeding of the lawn completely covers their need for nutrients. Additional fertilization is usually not required. Short-lived varieties of tulips, which bloom for only one season, do not need additional fertilizing, placing interesting accents in the garden or in tubs.
The situation is quite different with large-flowered bulbous flowers, from which we expect an annual lush flowering. These include, for example, daffodils, hazel grouses, ornamental onions, as well as perennial tulips and hyacinths. They need a lot of nutrients, which we provide them by feeding them with special fertilizers for bulbous plants.
When is the best time to fertilize?
Sabine Klingelhofer, Neudorff:
Practice shows that the best time for fertilization is the end of March, when the first greens appear and the bulbs begin to accumulate new nutrients. At this time, you need to carry out targeted feeding with special fertilizers for bulbous flowers.
What does fertilization contribute to?
Sabine Klingelhofer, Neudorff:
On the one hand, nutrients such as nitrogen, potassium and phosphate contribute to lush blooms. This is what we all expect from bulbous flowers: reliable and colorful! On the other hand, certain microorganisms stimulate root activity and the accumulation of nutrients in the bulb. And what do we get as a result? The plant, full of strength and energy, enters a vegetation pause in order to please us again with its magnificent flowering next year. For the formation of baby bulbs, a fed plant uses excess reserves of nutrients.
Spring is the most wonderful time of the year, a time for new plans, ideas and their accomplishments. I would like to believe that the spring gardens that we told you about will inspire you to create your own garden with the enchanting scent of spring. So do not hesitate and doubt. Boldly get down to business!
From the book "Verrückt nach Frühling" by Carmen Szadzik and Melitta Kolberg (Crazy About Spring by Carmen Szadzik and Melitta Kolberg)
Translation: Lesya V.
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author Klimov E.A., photo of the author.
Camassia is still little known to Russian flower growers.
We value most of the flowering plants for their uniqueness and beauty of flowering, without thinking that in their homeland they are valued for a completely different criterion. Such plants include Camassia. The name of this genus is taken from the local tribes of the Indians who eat the Fraser and Leuchtlin Kamassia bulbs. The habitat of these plants is the mountain meadows of the temperate zone of North America. Camassias prefer open, sunny places, clay soil, moisture in the spring and dryness in the summer. Camassias tolerate severe frosts well, they are not damaged by pests. If the plants are not transplanted for several years, then their flowering will only be more magnificent. Camassias are especially good in rocky gardens, rock gardens. Of the seven species of this genus in our collection, the following have been growing beautifully for over twenty years:
- Camassia kvamash (Camassia quamash) is described in 1827. Its habitat is the mountain meadows of western America and Canada. The bulb is spherical, black, 2-3 cm in diameter. Kamassia kvamash blooms in early summer, within two weeks: thirty or more blue-violet flowers with a diameter of 3-4 cm bloom in a flower cluster 40 cm high. "created specifically for rocky gardens and rock gardens: height 20 cm, flowers are dark methyl blue, their lush, even flowering creates a vivid effect in a small garden.
- Camassia Leuchtlin (Camassia leichtlinii) described in 1837 named after a gardener from Germany M. Leichtlin. The homeland of this species is the clay mountain meadows of the west of America from Lake Vancouver to California. Bulbs are ovoid, up to 3 cm in diameter. Kamassia Leitkhlina blooms in June: in a brush 50 cm high up to sixty blue flowers up to 4 cm in diameter. There are blue, dark blue, purple, white forms of this species. Interesting for collections: Camassia Cerulea (Coerulea) with blue-lilac flowers Camassia Alba (Alba) with white flowers having a greenish-yellow shade of Camassia Semiplena (Semiplena) with semi-double cream flowers.
- Camassia Fraser (Camassia fraseri) named after the traveler D. Fraser. Its habitat is mountainous slopes from Pennsylvania to Minnesota. The bulb is spherical, brown in color, up to 3-4 cm in diameter.A rare flower raceme up to 30 cm high bears up to twenty blue-violet flowers with a diameter of 4 cm.Angusta camassia (Camassia fraseri var.anqusta) is known from the forms, lower, with graceful thin leaves.
- Camassia Kuzika (Camassia cusickii) described in 1888 by S. Watson. It grows in the taiga zone, reaching an altitude of 1800 m above sea level, in the western United States. Unusual for this genus are bulbs of this species: they are broad-ovate, up to 8 cm long and up to 4 cm in diameter.Camassia Kuzik inflorescences up to a meter high, with 80 light blue flowers up to 5 cm in diameter.
- Camassia howell (Camassia howellii). Its habitat is the wet meadows of Southern Oregon. The bulb is spherical, brown. The flower cluster of Kamasia Hauel is 50 cm high, bears 30 to 90 violet-blue flowers.
Camassias are propagated by daughter bulbs or seeds. After flowering, Camassia leaves turn yellow and dry out. In late July-early August, we dig out the nests, separate the daughter bulbs, trying not to damage the roots, and you can immediately plant Kamasia in a new place. After digging, you can keep the Camassia bulbs for one month in wooden boxes before planting. To prevent the bulbs from drying out, we place them in slightly damp peat.
Reproduction of Camassia by seeds is longer, but allows you to get a larger amount of planting material. After the plants have flowered, a seed capsule with 5-10 black seeds is formed. We immediately sow Kamasia seeds to a depth of 2 cm of planting, water and mulch. With normal care, Kamassia seedlings bloom for 4-5 years.
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Camassia is propagated by seeds and bulbs, with the latter method being the simplest and most convenient. It hardly differs from the technology used in relation to other bulbous plants - tulips, daffodils and hyacinths. The bulbs should be dug up immediately after flowering and placed for 2-3 weeks in a ventilated, sun-protected place with a temperature of about 20 degrees Celsius. After that, they are stored in a cool dark place. Just before planting, the nests of the bulbs should be divided.
It is better to plant bulbs in late autumn. If the soil is light - sandy and sandy loam, it should be filled with humus, peat or loamy pound - 4-5 kg per 1 m 2. On light soils, the planting depth is 3 bulb diameters, and on heavy soils - 2 diameters.
Seed propagation can also be used. Seeds are also sown in autumn, as they need long-term stratification (about 5 months). Flowering during seed reproduction can be expected in 4-5 years.
Growing camassia in the garden
Camassia prefers fertile, loose soil, but it also thrives on heavy garden soils.
Kamassia Leuchtlin feels great both in a sunny place and in a shady corner of the garden.
The only thing that Camassia bulbs cannot tolerate is stagnant water in the soil. In this case, the bulbs quickly rot and die.
In a dry spring, as well as in extreme heat and drought during the flowering period, this plant will need watering.
When choosing a place in the garden for planting Camassia bulbs, it should be remembered that soon after its flowering, the aerial part of the plant dies off, and an empty space will remain in the flower garden. Therefore, at the end of July, you need to decorate this place with another plant (summer or perennial), which later begins the growing season and grows well in the second half of summer.
Camassia Leuchtlin looks great in group plantings of a variety of flower beds. Kamassia grows well under garden trees. Its long inflorescences look good against the background of the lawn and large conifers.
Weekly Free Digest of Gardenia.ru Site
Every week, for 10 years, for our 100,000 subscribers, an excellent selection of relevant materials about flowers and garden, as well as other useful information.