Camassia question

luvtosharedivsJuly 20, 2009

I have about three dozen Camassia bulbs that I just dug up because I'm replacing them with something else. It would be a shame to throw them away, since they have been so hardy for several years now. I would rather plant them in a new location where I don't mind letting the foliage die down in an out-of-the-way spot.

My question is, should I replant the bulbs now, or should I "cure" them in an airy shady location, and store them until Fall, then replant them?



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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

Oh Wow Julie...are those the native Camassia quamash by any chance? If so, you should just send them to me....Just kidding, but I would love to have a few of them, and don't know the correct answer to your question.

If you don't get an answer here, and they are Quamash, you might also try asking at The Native Plant Forum.

In all seriousness, I would love to have a few...maybe 3-6 and think curing them and sending them with the daffs later would be me.


Here is a link that might be useful: Camassia quamash

    Bookmark   July 20, 2009 at 5:39PM
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Well, Hi Sue!

I don't know if they are Quamash. My records only say Camassia, blue, 36" high.
The bulbs remind me of tulip bulbs, but a little smaller.
The research I've done says to plant the bulbs in the Fall, so I guess I will store them in a cool, dark place until I can find a new site for them.

I know you're not supposed to let true Lily bulbs dry out, but they have a different make up, with scales that can dry out quiclky unless planted soon after digging.
Oh, and yes, indeed you can have some!
I'll send you an e-mail about that.

Thanks for your response,


    Bookmark   July 20, 2009 at 10:18PM
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vetivert8(NI-NZ zone 9a)

Might not be relevant - when I see Camassia bulbs for sale in autumn they all look 'recently dug'.

If you have that out of the way place ready for the few left after giving Sue her heart's desire ;-) it might be worth putting at least some of them in the ground now and letting the others do the air drying thing.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2009 at 11:39PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

I don't see any advantage to storing the bulbs out of the ground if their new location is ready. Al

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 8:52AM
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Vetivert & Calistoga,

Thanks for your responses.
My main concern was that I wasn't sure how to treat the bulbs out of ground. Like I mentioned above, I know you can't let Lily bulbs dry out, also some kinds of Irises - Louisiana & Japanese.

So I was concerned about leaving Camassia bulbs out of ground for a couple of months before I can either give them away or plant them.

Since Camassia bulbs look similar to tulip bulbs I would think it wouldn't hurt them to be out of ground for a couple of months. But, as Calistoga mentioned, if a new planting site is ready, plant them now.

I did find a site that gave general instructions for bulbs, (although not specifically Camassia.)
From a Cornell University article, "Introduction to Bulbs":
After several years, daffodils and some other species form clumps of multiple bulbs. The size of their flowers and length of their stems decreases as the bulbs become overcrowded. Wait until after the foliage dies, then dig up the bulbs, separate them, and replant them with wider spacings. You can replant them immediately after you dig them in June or July, or you can wash off excess soil, dry them, and store them in shallow boxes in a cool, dry, airy place until fall planting time. Replant only the largest bulbs in your flower beds. Plant the smaller bulbs in a nursery bed for a season or two until they reach flowering size

I have a couple new sites in mind, so I'd better get to digging!

Thanks again,


    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 3:26PM
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