Plant of the Month for April, 2019

Dodecatheon pulchellum header
Dodecatheon pulchellum

 (doh-dek-ATH-ee-on  pul-KEL-um)

General Information:

Dodecatheon pulchellum has unusually shaped flowers that stand out nice in the garden. It is hard to find in nurseries but easy to raise from seed.

Dodecatheon pulchellum by Robert Pavlis

Dodecatheon pulchellum:photo by Robert Pavlis

The information in this post is for D. 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 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.

Dodecatheon pulchellum by Robert Pavlis

Dodecatheon pulchellumphoto by Robert Pavlis

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. 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

SynonymsDodecatheon meadia var. puberulum


Light: sun to part shade

Soil: well drained

Water: moist

USDA Hardiness Zone: 3 - 7

Propagation: seed, division

Seedex availability (ORG&HPS annual Seed Exchange): usually

Sow @ 20°C. Seed germinates within 3 months.
Requires darkness.
leaves die back in July; keep seedlings growing as long as possible
Robert Pavlis