Going by several common names; ookow, field cluster-lily or northern saitas is a fast-growing, delicate wildflower that adds splashes of blue to well-draining sunny areas. Its sparse foliage fits perfectly in dry perennial beds and meadowscapes, where it goes virtually unnoticed until it’s globe-shaped clusters of bluish-purple flowers seem to suddenly appear, suspended from purple-veined bracts, cheerfully announcing summer.
- Plant type/canopy layer: deciduous, perennial, herbaceous plant
- Size at maturity: 0-24" tall, 0-12" wide
- Light requirements: full sun, part sun/part shade
- Moisture requirements: dry to moist soil, well-drained
- Bloom Time: May - August
- Growth rate/ease: fast growing, easy to grow
- Wildlife support: flowers attract and provide nectar to hummingbirds, adult butterflies, bees, and other insect pollinators
- Native habitat/range: common in meadows, open rocky areas, and open forests, up to 1600m, throughout western Oregon, especially in the Cascades and east Cascades. Portland Plant List - yes.
- Special features & uses: attracts and supports hummingbirds; landscape uses include pollinator gardens and meadowscapes
Gardening with Ookow: This plant is lovely, but diminutive, so we strongly encourage intermixing many individual plants among your dry meadowscapes, pollinator gardens, rock gardens and other perennial beds to add splashes of spring and early summer color.
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.
Photo Credit 1: "Ookow Dichelostemma congestum" by loarie is licensed under CC BY 2.0Photo Credit 2: "Pale Swallowtail on Forktooth Ookow (Dichelostemma congestum) 2014-05-31 (7)" by Don Henise is licensed under CC BY 2.0