Common Names: Shooting Star, American Cowslip, Mad Violets, Mosquito Bills, Indian Chief, Prairie Pointer. Life Cycle: Hardy perennial. Half hardy perennial. Height: 6 to 20 inches (15 to 50 cm). Native: Northern America, North-east Asia.
Growing Region: Zones 4 to 10. Flowers: Spring through to early summer. Flower Details: Green, purple, pink. Star-shaped. Reflexed petals. Umbel. Foliage: Herbaceous. Oblong-ovate. Grey-green.
Sow Outside: Surface. Late autumn and early winter. Seeds should first be sown into flats. Provide a glass/plastic covering. Keep an eye on the flats to ensure that the soil remains moist. Once seedlings are strong transplant them to their final location. Spacing: Small Dodecatheon species 6 inches (15 cm); Larger varieties 20 inches (50cm). Sow Inside: Germination time: three months to one year. Temperature: 60 to 70°F (16 to 21°C). Start in spring. Mix seeds in a moist growing medium, place in a freezer bag, then stratify by refrigeration for three weeks. Transplant outdoors following the last frost or in autumn.
Requirements and care: Full or partial shade. Acidic woodland type soil; pH 5 to 7. Rich soil, moist soil. Spring mulch. Regular watering during growing period to ensure soil moisture. Once established do not disturb. Propagate: by dividing in the autumn. Miscellaneous: Attracts bees; pollinated by the vibrations that bees produce when they buzz their wings when reaching for pollen.
How to Grow Prairie Pointer, Shooting Star and other Dodecatheon
Dodecatheon can be grown outdoors from seeds if grown in flats (covered by glass); sow the seeds on the soil surface in the flat at the end of autumn or the beginning of winter.
Once the seedlings of prairie pointer (Dodecatheon) are established transplant them about 20 cm (small varieties) or 50 cm (large)apart. They prefer to grow in shady areas.
As they are a native woodland plant, they prefer woodland soil that is both moist and rich, with a slightly acidic to neutral pH (5 to 7).
Dodecatheon seedlings can also be started off indoors and planted out in the spring. First seeds should be imbibed by placing the seeds (within soil) in a black bag, then placing in the fridge for three weeks.
Seeds should then be germinated at a temperature of 15 to 18 degrees Centigrade in the light. The germination of Prairie pointer can tale anything from one month to one year.
Caring for Dodecatheon Plants
Once growing in the garden it is important to keep the soil around Dodecatheon plants moist, and mulching is required every spring.