Shooting Star at the Forefront of Your Garden
In early spring, horticulturists regularly seek ideas to get their green thumb creativity and energy circulating. Early blooming perennials that pop up each year with limited or no effort is an easy answer for getting the gardening juices flowing. Having a few colorful plants that bloom early give a gardener a boost of positive planting energy. Instead of the usual work, then wait until summer gardeners can kick start their season and their attitudes with something to enjoy while they work.
Shooting Star perennial are wildflowers for sale at Native Wildflowers Nursery.
The genus Dodecatheon has well over a dozen species and comes in all types of hues and sizes. Getting a garden started is much more enjoyable when there is already new growth and life to appreciate while waiting for the other plants to show their leafy selves.
One species of the Dodecatheon genus is the Dodecatheon media, commonly known as the shooting star is a beautiful flowering plant that shows off its gorgeously colored flowers well into the summer months. The shooting star has several other nicknames such as prairie pointers, eastern shooting star, rooster heads, and my favorite, American cowslip. It frequently grows in meadows and wooded areas throughout east and central North America. In Missouri, these plants grow wild everywhere and are a favorite of the locals.
A member of the Primulaceae family, shooting stars come in a spectrum of colors from burgundy to violet and white. Providing perfect ground cover as it sprouts leaves up to 6 inches long and about 2 inches wide, ranging in shades of lush emerald greens to greenish greys. The plant grows to roughly 20 inches tall, extending from a central branch multiple short stalks spread out in a parasol fashion showing off as many as 8 to 20 blooms. The blooms appear to hang upside down with yellow tips at the bottom and colorful petals facing up that give them the appearance of stars falling to earth, hence the name shooting star.
Shooting stars grow best in partial shade, but with damp, well-drained soil, they do well in sunnier areas too.
Plus, these ornamental plants are known for not attracting minor bugs, nor do they struggle with diseases. If deer are a dilemma for your horticultural efforts, you won’t need to fret; shooting stars are not on their snack list.
The Dodecatheon meadia species does not require a dry period. The plants die off in midsummer but will come right back the following spring, so don’t disturb their root system. The shooting star will also grow up through some ground covering plants such as Vinca minor. Of particular note is that drought does not bother this sturdy species because of its early growth, bloom, and hibernation cycle.
While constructing your garden, keep in mind that the shooting star pairs nicely with other wildflowers like cutleaf toothwort (Cardamine concatenata), twinleaf (Jeffersonia diphylla}, bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), prairie smoke (Geum triflorum), Woodland phlox (Phlox divaricata) and trillium. When you plan your garden, remember to cultivate the shooting star at the front or near the borders. Also, placing them next to slow-growing plants that will bloom around when the shooting star goes dormant keeps your garden from having empty gaps and looking bare.
The Shooting Star is shipped bare root.