Great Camas (Camassia leichtlinii) blooms in a field. One of 100+ species of Pacific Northwest native plants available at Sparrowhawk Native Plants, Native Plant Nursery in Portland, Oregon.

Great Camas

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Camassia leichtlinii

Great Camas is one of Oregon’s icon blue-purple Camas varieties.  With blooms up to 4 feet tall, the Great Camas is larger and later blooming than the 1-2’ Common Camas. Seed this beauty in a sunny meadow to showcase it’s striking tall blooms and to support a wide range of pollinators from butterflies to bees to hummingbirds.

  • Plant type/canopy layer: deciduous, perennial, herbaceous plant
  • Size at maturity: 18”-48”  tall, 6” wide
  • Light requirements: full sun to part shade
  • Moisture requirements: moist to wet winters, dry summers
  • Growth rate/ease: moderate growth rate, easy to grow, will often self-sow creating new grassy foliage around existing plants.
  • Bloom time: May - July
  • Wildlife support: nectar source for adult butterflies, bees and other insect pollinators, supports beneficial insects/pest eating insects, attracts and supports hummingbirds
  • Native range: Western North America in British Columbia, Canada and California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, Portland Plant List – yes. 
  • Special features & uses: edible, supports hummingbirds

Gardening with Great Camas: Camas is the crown jewel of the sunny raingarden or meadowscape. It does great with winter flooding, and even some shade, provided it can dry out and bask in the summer sun. Seeds will emerge looking like tender grass foliage and continue to grow into bulbs, flowering at 3-5 years. Allow seed pods to form after blooming for the Camas to self-seed in undisturbed soils.  

Seed Packet Contains: approximately 100 seeds

Seeding Instructions

Direct sowing: Sow in fall. Seeds are dormant and need 60-90 days of cold moist chilling (40 degrees or less) before seeds will germinate. Seeds germinate in late winter/early spring.

Growing transplants: Seeds can be sown in containers in fall and left outside over winter. Bulbs grow slowly, putting on one or two leaves each year. Bulbs usually flower at 3-5 years old. 

Photo credit: Steele Acres Native Seed