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Close-up of the showy white flower of hyacinth brodiaea (Triteleia hyacinthina). One of 100+ species of Pacific Northwest native plants available at Sparrowhawk Native Plants, Native Plant Nursery in Portland, Oregon.
A small population of white hyacinth brodiaea blooms in the garden (Triteleia hyacinthina) One of 100+ species of Pacific Northwest native plants available at Sparrowhawk Native Plants, Native Plant Nursery in Portland, Oregon.

Hyacinth Brodiaea

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Triteleia hyacinthina

Hyacinth brodiaea, known by many other common names (white hyacinth, wild hyacinth, and fool’s onion), is a spring blooming bulb that brings delicate white umbels of flowers to open sunny gardens, rock gardens and meadowscapes. It's an especially attractive addition to pollinator gardens, as it supports a range of bees and butterflies in the early season. 

  • Plant type/canopy layer: deciduous, perennial, herbaceous plant
  • Size at maturity: 12-24" tall, 3-6" wide
  • Light requirements: full sun to light shade
  • Moisture requirements: moist to wet winters, dry summers
  • Bloom time: May - July
  • Growth rate/ease: medium growth rate, easy to grow
  • Wildlife support: flowers attract and provide nectar to adult butterflies, bees and other insect pollinators
  • Native habitat/range: common in wet meadows and slopes from low to mid elevations (generally up to sea level to 2500m), on both side of the Cascades, in southwest British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and much of California, western Nevada and Idaho. Portland Plant List - yes. 
  • Special features & uses: landscape uses include rock gardens, pollinator gardens and meadowscapes

What to Expect + Gardening with Hyacinth Brodiaea: For spring orders, depending on the weather and the date of your order pick-up, bulbs may be just emerging or already dying back for the season. Bulbs can be fragile when they're actively growing in spring. So, either plant with care or keep it in its pot and wait until it dies back before planting. By early summer, the plant will die back completely and the bulb will be easy to transplant. If you go this route, leave the pot in a sheltered place and water sparingly, so that you don't rot the bulb. For fall orders, you can expect what looks like a pot of dirt. The bulb inside may appear slightly shriveled, which is its normal, dormant fall look. Fall is generally considered an excellent time to plant bulbs.

Hyacinth brodiaea great with moist to wet clay soils such as a meadow or rock garden, that are wet in the winter months but become bone dry basking in the summer sun. After blooming, hyacinth brodiaea goes dormant, dying back completely to its corm, until sprouting again the next year in late winter. Intermix this plant in multiples among other perennials, grasses and wildflowers that will take the stage in late summer and fall once it has died back.  

Photo Credit 1: "File:Triteleia hyacinthina 2.jpg" by Stan Shebs is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 

Photo Credit 2: "File:Triteleia hyacinthina 1.jpg" by Stan Shebs is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0