How to Grow Small Camas


Small camas are perennial bulbs that grow in large numbers in wild meadows in the Pacific Northwest. They grow from 1 to 4 feet high, depending on the variety. They bloom in early summer and their flowers can be white, lilac, purple or blue-violet.

Step 1

Pick a place to grow your camas that is in full sun with rich, sandy soil full of organic matter. The area should dry out in the summertime. They can tolerate being wet during winter as long as the site dries out in summer.

Step 2

Improve the soil. Add 2 to 4 inches of well-rotted compost and 2 inches of sand to the surface of the soil. Dig the compost and sand into the surface of the soil with a spade. Rake the planting bed smooth.

Step 3

Plant cama bulbs in early fall. Dig 3-inch deep individual holes about 8 to 10 inches apart. Put a teaspoon of bone meal in the bottom of the hole and mix it in with a stick or old dinner fork. Place the bulbs in the holes with the pointed end up. Firm the soil over the bulbs gently but firmly. Water cama bulbs individually immediately after planting with a hand watering can. To plant seeds, scatter them in the garden in late summer. Cover with a fine layer of soil. The seeds will germinate the following spring.

Step 4

Mulch the planting bed with a 2-inch layer of fallen autumn leaves. Remove the mulch in early spring.

Step 5

Feed cama in midspring by applying all-purpose fertilizer to the soil around the plants. Pull back the mulch, spread the fertilizer following the manufacturer's recommended application rates and replace mulch.

Step 6

Thin the small plants grown from seed in early summer so they stand about 3 to 4 inches apart. Transplant the following summer to a final spacing of 8 to 10 inches apart.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost
  • Sand
  • Spade
  • Rake
  • Trowel
  • Bone meal
  • Hand watering can
  • Mulch
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About this Author

Sharon Sweeny has a college degree in general studies and worked as an administrative and legal assistant for 20 years before becoming a professional writer in 2008. She specializes in writing about home improvement, self-sufficient lifestyles and gardening.