Brodiaea

Brodiaea

Brodiaea is a monocotgenusof flowering plants, also known by the common namecluster-lilies. Brodiaea species occur in the West Coast of the United States, especially northern California.

Brodiaea goes by the name cluster-lilies by many growers. The plant is common to areas along the West Coast of the United States and Canada. Eleven species of the plant are restricted to the state of California and blooming is dependent on the amount of rainfall the state receives. Depending on the species, blooming generally begins around April and continues through the summer. Most species have narrow leaves and long stems

Family: Alliaceae

This genus of 15 species of hardy corms grows in a range of habitats in western North America. Slender stemmed, with grass-like leaves, they produce pretty clusters of bell-shaped blooms during spring and summer. The flowers are mainly in shades of violet and blue, but may also be pink. Many species of this genus have been reclassified under Dichelostemma and Tritelcia.

Species

B. californica grows to 45 cm (18 in), with blue to purple flowers to about 4 cm (1½ in) long.

B. coronaria grows to around the same height and has violet or purple flowers.

B. elegans has deep mauve blooms and its flower stems grow to 50 cm (20 in). B. minor is smaller, to 30 cm (12 in), with pink or violet flowers.

B. stellaris is a miniature variety, to 15 cm (6 in), with tiny purple blooms.

Cultivation

Brodiaea can be grown in containers, as a border plant, or in a rock garden. They will tolerate very light shade. The soil should be well drained, but contain enough organic matter to retain some moisture. Bulbs should be planted 5-7 cm (2-3 in) deep in early to mid-autumn. These plants need ample moisture during spring and early summer, but should be kept fairly dry in late summer and autumn. In areas with cold winters protect corms from frost with a mulch. Propagate from seed sown in early spring or from offsets of bulbs in autumn.

Growing instruction

Obtain brodiaea corms from a local source, if possible. Purchasing brodiaea in your area can help to ensure that you have a genetic variety that will best adapt to your area's growing conditions. If you opt to order your brodiaea corms through a catalog or over the Internet, look for ones that are labeled for your location.

Plan to plant your brodiaea corms in the fall in an area that receives full sun.

Dig holes that are four inches apart and four inches deep. Keep in mind that the less crowded the corms are when placed, the more they will offset.

Place the corms into the holes and cover with soil.

Water the newly planted area.

Watch for the plants to break through the ground in the spring.

Water the area regularly to keep the ground a bit damp if your area is going through a drought. However, do not over water. Too much water will cause the corms to rot.

Stop watering the plant when the leaves turn yellow. Allow the plant to bake in the summer and die-back naturally as this will help the plant to become stronger and more established for the next growing season.

Thin out your brodiaea every three years by digging up the corms when the plants go dormant in the fall. Simply pick off the extra corms and plant them elsewhere on your property


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