Shooting stars in the garden? Yes, please!

Shooting Star Plant
Credit: Chris Burrows/Getty Images

It's easy to wish upon a star when your garden is filled with shooting star blooms. Shooting star plant (Dodecatheon meadia) is a pretty flowering plant that belongs to the primrose family, Primulaceae. The calling cards of shooting stars are delicate, nodding blooms in shades of pink, purple, and white. They're beautiful additions to wildflower gardens, and they're good native plant choices for growers in the South.

Shooting stars are native to the eastern region of the U.S., which is why they're also called "Eastern Shooting Star." In other areas, they're also known as "Pride of Ohio," "Roosterheads," and "Prairie Pointers." They can be found across the South, from the Eastern coast to states as far west as Texas and Oklahoma.

According to The Southern Living Garden Book, these plants produce "light green, oblong leaves up to 10 inches long form a basal rosette nearly a foot across. In early to mid-spring, leafless stalks rise to 16 inches high, topped by many-flowered clusters of blossoms in white to occasionally pink or purple with quite prominent, downward-pointing yellow stamens." The blooms appear in late spring.

Shooting stars get their name from their appearance. The Southern Living Garden Book describes their form as having "swept-back petals [that] give blooms the look of small comets or shooting stars" falling to Earth. The blooms vary in hue, depending on the selection. Amethyst shooting star (Dodecatheon amethystinum), also known as jeweled shooting star, has deep purple blooms and a yellow band.

Shooting stars thrive with regular water and partial shade. They grow best in wooded areas with rich, well-draining soil. Bees love shooting star plants and are their main pollinators, so you can plant a few of these pretty plants to encourage bees and enjoy blooms year after year.

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What plants are blooming in your garden this season? Do you have any shooting star plants growing in your yard, and will you plant any this year?