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How to Care for a Star of Jerusalem Plant

By Julie Richards

The star of Jerusalem plant goes by many names, such as salsify, goat's beard and go-to-bed-early. The scientific genus is Tragopogon, with over 10 species available worldwide. The flowers may be yellow, purple or white and form on long stalks among the grass-like foliage. The star of Jerusalem is a biennial plant and reseeds its self. Hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture planting zones 4 through 8, some areas classify the plant as an invasive weed. The tap root is edible, and the entire plant has been used medicinally.

Prepare the soil of the garden by working the soil to a depth of 8 to 10 inches. Add compost to the soil while tilling to add nutrients and provide aeration. Remove any large rocks from the growing area.

Plant a star of Jerusalem in a sunny location. A member of the sunflower family, star of Jerusalem prefers full sun. The plant does not grow well in the shade.

Water the star of Jerusalem once a week. This plant prefers moist soil. Dry soil results in stringy roots.

Fertilize the star of Jerusalem only if the soil is overworked or deficient in nutrients. Apply an all-purpose fertilizer during the middle of the growing season and water in well. Too much fertilizer causes the roots to split.

Thin the star of Jerusalem as it grows to prevent over-crowding. If you are growing the plant for the blooms, scatter collected seeds around the mother plant so they come up the following year.


Things You Will Need

  • Spade
  • Compost
  • Fertilizer (optional)
  • Pruning shears (optional)

About the Author


Julie Richards is a freelance writer from Ohio. She has been writing poetry and short stories for over 30 years, and published a variety of e-books and articles on gardening, small business and farming. She is currently enrolled at Kent State University completing her bachelor's degree in English.