Ddecatheon pulchellum, the shooting star, has unusually shaped flowers that stand out in the garden. It is not common in nurseries but it is easy to grow from seed.
The information in this post is for Dodecatheon pulchellum, but I can’t be certain the pictures are of that species. The seed was obtained from the ORG&HP society seed exchange, labeled as D. jeffreyi, but I think that name is incorrect. Dodecantheon species are all very similar, and even D. pulchellum is quite variable. The pictures may also be a garden hybrid. In any event, all Dodecatheons are great plants.
Common names for this plant include pretty shooting star, few-flowered shooting star, dark throat shooting star, western shooting star and the prairie shooting star. Its normal habitat is wet alpine and sub-alpine regions, but it can also be found in very dry desert locations. It is an easy to grow plant in a normal garden setting.
I have always grown it on the wet side, but maybe I’ll try a dry scree garden. If they get too dry they will go dormant in late summer. Divide as they go dormant or in early spring. It is in the Primulaceae family and the leaves are very similar to other primulas. The most common color forms are light to deep pink, but white and red forms are available.
Life Cycle: perennial
Height: 45cm (18in)
Bloom Time: early summer
Natural Range: western North America
Habitat: wet alpine and sub-alpine medeows
Synonyms: Dodecatheon meadia var. puberulum
Cultivation of Dodecatheon pulchellum:
Light: sun to part shade
Soil: well drained
USDA Hardiness Zone: 3 – 7
Propagation: seed, division