Dodecatheon is a member of the primula family and a relative of the Cyclamen. It enjoys sun or partial shade and lend themselves to woodland environments, softening the under story with its delicately perfect blooms. They are also good for alpine houses. Propagation by seed is surprisingly easy. It is a reliable bloomer and an easy keeper.
Aptly named “Shooting Star” - each of the petals is reflexed - bent backwards. The flowers can range from purplish, through pinks to white with cone-shaped, purple stamens and pistils. The flowers are borne in an umbel on erect stalks above the basal clump of leaves.The flower stems emanate from a basal plant that dies back soon after flowering, you then get secondary interest from the stems that bear the seed pods. These stems persist all summer and autumn as the seeds ripen
The perfect beauty of this species cannot be described in words: it is something that truly has to be seen to be appreciated. Each individual flower has a perfect point and reflexed petals, as if designed by a master architect.
- Awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit
In 1993 Dodecatheon meadia was awarded the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit (AGM).
A key indicator that this variety is worth growing in your garden.
Sowing: Seeds can be left to go through the seasons naturally or germination hastened by 'Stratifying' (imitating the seasons).
The “Natural” Method”.
Sow in cells or small pots in Autumn using John Innes seed compost, or something similar. Surface sow the seed and press lightly into the compost, cover with grit. Place the containers outside in a cold frame or plunge them up to the rims in a shady part of the garden border and cover with glass or clear plastic.
Some of the seeds may germinate during the spring and summer and these should be transplanted when large enough to handle. The remainder of the seeds may lay dormant until next spring.
Sow at any time of year apart from the hottest months. Soak and sow seeds as above and leave for 6 weeks. Transplant any seedlings that have germinated. After 6 weeks chill the remaining seeds: put the tray into the refrigerator (or somewhere with a similar temperature ) at -4°C to +4°C (24-39°F), or for 6 to 8 weeks. Then remove to around 10°C (50°F)
Prick out each seedling as it becomes large enough to handle, transplant into 7.5cm (3in) pots. Grow on in a cold greenhouse for a season, in the following year, gradually acclimatise to outdoor conditions before planting out, space 45cm (18”) apart.
Don’t worry when the young seedlings appear to die off; this is normal and they will come up again the following year.
It requires some shade and some moisture, it occurs naturally in mesic soils - average or moderate moisture. (as “xeric” describes dry and “hydric” describes wet). It isn’t fussy about soil fertility although growth will be more vigorous in rich soils.
Seed: Copious amounts of seed are produced. If you don't collect the seed and leave the plant to its own devices, it will soon produce a populous colony.
Because this species also has a fibrous root system, it is easily divided from the rosette after flowering. Any flower heads should be removed prior to division to prevent seeding, thus strengthening the plant and increasing its chances for success in its new environment. Divide plants in March to May.
Take a mature plant, bareroot it and wash the rootstock clean. Where the long white roots connect to the basal plate of the plant, you will notice a small brownish-black "dot". That "dot" is a dormant bud. This "bud in waiting" is ready to take over should some peril strike the main plant. Only remove every other one of these roots. Pull them straight up and then down in a snapping motion. You must get the bud on each tip. Lay them flat in a pot or a tray and cover with 2mm (1/4”) of soil. New plants will soon emerge. Pot your new plants up and nurse them along for a season. They can then be planted out.
Shade/Woodland Garden. Grown en masse as under story plantings. The blooms are also excellent cut flowers, but most people prefer to leave them outside.
Many US states it is listed as a rare or endangered species. Please ensure that plants and seeds purchased are propagated by a nursery and not collected in the wild.
- Awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit
- Additional Information
Packet Size 25 Seeds Family Primulaceae Genus Dodecatheon Species meadia Common Name American Cowslip, Other Common Names Mosquito Bills, Indian-chief, Pride-of-Ohio Hardiness Hardy Perennial Flowers Mid April to End June Height 25-40cm (10-16") Spread 20 -30cm (8-12”) Position Full Sun to Partial Shade Germination 90-365 days.