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Dodecatheon (meadia)

David J. Horvath
Nursery Manager
Illinois Department of Natural Resources - Mason State Nursery
17855 N. CR 2400E
Topeka, Illinois 61567
309-535-3286 (fax)

Family Scientific Name: Primulaceae
Family Common Name: Primrose family
Scientific Name: Dodecatheon meadia L.
Common Name: Common Shooting Star
Species Code: DODMEA
Ecotype: Central Illinois, 650 feet msl elevation
General Distribution: D. meadia is found from Virginia and west to Wisconsin and south to to Georgia and Texas.
Propagation Goal: plants
Propagation Method: seed
ProductType: Container (plug)
Stock Type: 1+0 container plugs
Time To Grow: 7 Months
Target Specifications: Height: n/a, herbaceous perennial.<br> Caliper: n/a, herbaceous perennial.<br> Root System: firm root plug.
Propagule Collection: Seed is collected by hand from nursery stock. The plant flowers from approx. April 10 to May 10. Seed is harvested June 30.
This is a cool season perennial which germinates and dies early in the season, making its lifecycle different from the other warm season forbs.
After Shooting Star dies back, place the flats in a cooler and store until mid-summer, then place these flats in the shadehouse. This allows for a second season of growth in just one season.
Propagule Processing: After drying, seed is cleaned by running it through the Grinder then over a screen size of 1/25.
Pre-Planting Treatments: 8 ounces of seed is saved to sow one bench in either 64 flats of the Multipot #6, or 24 flats of the Multipot #3 or #4.
Seed is damp stratified by mixing it with equal amounts of vermiculiteand lightly dampening in a plastic bag or container.
Store this seed for 3-4 months in a cold room of 34-36 degrees F.
Growing Area Preparation/
Annual Practices for Perennial Crops:
Propagation Environment: Fully controlled greenhouse.
Propagation Method: Seed sown to produce bulbs. Container Type and Volume: Multipot #3, #4, or #6 are used. Cell volumes are 6 cubic inches, 9 cu. in. and 6 cu. in. respectively.

Growing Media: Sterile, Pro-Mix PGX. Add vermiculite and perlite at a 10:1 ratio. Mix in 5 ounces of Osmocote, slow release fertilizer, 17-6-10, per cubic foot of soil. Ensure flats are tapped down to prevent settling.

Total Time to Harvest: 7 to 11 months depending on weather and root development.

Sowing Date: Three crops are started in the greenhouse with the first in late December and the last no later than the end of March.

Sowing/Planting Technique: Sow the seeds by hand by broadcasting. Try to sprinkle 3 - 5 seeds per cell. Seed purity rates vary from year to year. Thus, it is easier to thin than to transplant. Cover the seeds to one times their depth with the same growing media. Use a dibble board or roller to gently press seed and cover soil in the cell.
Establishment Phase: Set the greenhouse temperatures to be 70-80 degrees during the day, and 65-75 degrees at night.
75% germination is reached in about one week. Plants must be watered by hand during germination. Set the hose on gentle shower to prevent seeds from splashing out.
Active Growth Phase: Once germination is successful, the greenhouse temperature may be turned down gradually depending on outside temperatures. Plants are irrigated in the morning by soaking for 20 to 30 minutes. This allows the foliage to dry out during the day. Once true leaves appear, not cotyledons, the plants may be fertilized. Start with 50 ppm of Rapid Grow or Peter's Liquid Fertilizer once a week. This rate is increased to 200 ppm gradually, and, again, decreased to 50 ppm before moving the plants outside to the shadehouse. It is important to rinse fertilizer residue off the foliage by running the irrigation for 30 seconds. Plants should be thinned to 2 plants per cell. This should be accomplished before the roots are too extensive. Do not prune back. Allow the foliage to die back and replenish the bulbs.
Length of Active Growth Phase: 8 months
Hardening Phase: N/A
Harvesting, Storage and Shipping: Harvest Date: Bulbs may be lifted as soon as the foliage has died down.

Storage Conditions: Bulbs are stored for shipping in the fall at 34-36 degrees F.

Storage Duration: Approximately 4 to 6 months.
Length of Storage: 4 to 6 months


Blessman, Gary; Flood, Roberta Mountz; Horvath, David J.. 2001. Propagation protocol for production of Container (plug) Dodecatheon meadia L. plants 1+0 container plugs; Illinois Department of Natural Resources - Mason State Nursery Topeka, Illinois. In: Native Plant Network. URL: http://NativePlantNetwork.org (accessed 2021/09/19). US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, National Center for Reforestation, Nurseries, and Genetic Resources.

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