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Dodecatheon meadia (Shooting Star)

Shooting Star, Eastern Shooting Star, Pride Of Ohio, Roosterheads, Prairie Pointers, Prairie Cyclamen, Primula meadia

AGM Award
Alchemilla Mollis, Lady's mantle, AGM perennial, deer tolerant plants, rabbits tolerant plants, award winning perennial

Dodecatheon meadia, commonly known as Shooting Star, is one of the most beautiful spring wildflowers in the prairie. A colony of these plants in bloom is a sight to behold.

Dodecatheon meadia or Shooting Star: An In-depth Look

Shooting Star’s unique flower shape and native status make it a valuable addition to gardens promoting native biodiversity. Its ability to attract pollinators and resistance to common garden pests further add to its appeal. When in bloom, its striking flowers are a conversation starter and a focal point in any garden setting. Additionally, its low maintenance requirements and adaptability to a range of soil types make it a suitable choice for both novice and experienced gardeners.

Native: It is native to eastern and central North America, predominantly found in prairies, open woods, and meadows.

Plant Type and Habit: This perennial plant is known for its clumping habit. It emerges from a basal rosette and produces upright flowering stems.

Size: The plant generally grows to about 9-18 inches tall (22-45 cm) and can spread up to 9-12 inches wide (22-30 cm).

Flowers: The flowers are the most distinctive feature. Shooting Star boasts large umbels of 8-20 nodding, white, light pink, or rosy pink flowers, 1 inch long (2 cm), resembling cyclamen blooms. Each flower has five swept-back petals and a cluster of prominent yellow stamens that appear like wind-blown umbrellas. Once fertilized, the flowers turn skyward, hence their common name. The charming blossoms are borne on upright, leafless flower scapes.

Bloom Time: It typically blooms for about a month in late spring to early summer.

Foliage: The foliage consists of basal, lance-shaped, pale green that are smooth and sometimes have a slightly toothed margin.

Uses: Ideal for wildflower gardens, woodland gardens, rock gardens, native plant gardens, and along stream banks.
The Shooting Star’s growth cycle is noteworthy. In the wild, it often goes dormant in summer after flowering, with its foliage disappearing until the next spring. This characteristic should be considered when planning a garden, as it may leave a gap during summer. Companion planting with other shade-loving perennials, such as ferns, trillium, and wild violets, can ensure continued visual interest throughout the growing season. This plant is often used in restoration projects as well due to its native status and the role it plays in supporting local ecosystems.

Hardiness: It is hardy in USDA zones 4-8.

Award: Recipient of the prestigious Award of Garden Merit of the Royal Horticultural Society.

Toxicity: Generally not considered toxic to humans or pets.

Wildlife: Attracts pollinators like bees and bumblebees.

Deer and Rabbit: It is not favored by deer.

Invasiveness: Not invasive. It naturalizes well without becoming aggressive.

Shooting Star Growing Tips

Light: Prefers partial shade but can tolerate full sun in cooler climates if the soil remains evenly moist. Ideal in dappled sunlight mimicking its natural woodland habitat.

Soil: Thrives in rich, well-drained soil. Incorporate organic matter to improve soil structure and fertility.

Watering: Requires consistently moist soil, especially during the growing season, and dry conditions when dormant. Avoid poorly-drained, wet soils, particularly in winter, to prevent root rot.

Fertilizing: Benefits from a light application of a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in early spring. Avoid over-fertilizing.

Pruning: No significant pruning required. Remove spent flower stems after blooming to maintain a tidy appearance.

Propagation: Can be propagated by seed or by dividing clumps in early spring or fall. Seeds require a period of cold stratification to germinate.

Pests and Diseases: Generally pest-resistant. Watch for slugs and snails. Susceptible to root rot in poorly drained soils.

Requirements

Hardiness 4 - 8
Heat Zones 1 - 8
Climate Zones 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Primulaceae
Genus Dodecatheon
Common names Shooting Star
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun, Shade
Season of Interest Spring (Late)
Height 9" - 2'
(23cm - 60cm)
Spread 9" - 1'
(23cm - 30cm)
Spacing 10" - 12"
(25cm - 30cm)
Maintenance Average
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Plant of Merit, Showy
Native Plants United States, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Southeast, Southwest, Midwest, Northeast, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Ohio, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Tennessee, South Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia, Arkansas, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky, Texas, Oklahoma
Tolerance Clay Soil
Attracts Bees
Garden Uses Beds And Borders, Underplanting Roses And Shrubs
Garden Styles Prairie and Meadow, Gravel and Rock Garden, Informal and Cottage
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Dodecatheon clevelandii (Padre’s Shooting Star)
Dodecatheon jeffreyi (Sierra Shooting Star)
Dodecatheon hendersonii (Californian Cyclamen)
Dodecatheon pulchellum (Dark Throat Shooting Star)

Recommended Companion Plants

Helleborus (Hellebore)
Hosta (Plantain Lily)
Trillium

Find In One of Our Guides or Gardens

20 Spring Wildflowers to Create a Dazzling Garden
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 4 - 8
Heat Zones 1 - 8
Climate Zones 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Primulaceae
Genus Dodecatheon
Common names Shooting Star
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun, Shade
Season of Interest Spring (Late)
Height 9" - 2'
(23cm - 60cm)
Spread 9" - 1'
(23cm - 30cm)
Spacing 10" - 12"
(25cm - 30cm)
Maintenance Average
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Plant of Merit, Showy
Native Plants United States, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Southeast, Southwest, Midwest, Northeast, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Ohio, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Tennessee, South Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia, Arkansas, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky, Texas, Oklahoma
Tolerance Clay Soil
Attracts Bees
Garden Uses Beds And Borders, Underplanting Roses And Shrubs
Garden Styles Prairie and Meadow, Gravel and Rock Garden, Informal and Cottage
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
Not sure which Dodecatheon (Shooting Star) to pick?
Compare Now

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