My Favourite Star-Shaped Garden Flowers

This list was compiled by Elizabeth Smith. Reviewed by gardener Hannah Miller. Published to Ideas on the 17th March 2023.

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If you’re thinking of growing star-shaped flowers in your garden, explore my list of suggestions below. My name is Elizabeth Smith and I’m a qualified horticulturist and these plants are personal favorites of mine.

Here is a list of star-shaped flowers that I have experience with and recommend for your garden:

1) Star of Bethlehem

I adore the elegant charm of the Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum), a star-shaped perennial that brightens up my garden in spring. Their delicate, white, star-shaped flowers create a beautiful display when they burst into bloom and I’ve found them perfect for rockeries, along paths and the front of beds.

Key points:

  • These plants can reach up to 12″ (30cm) in height, with flower clusters spreading about 6″ (15cm) wide.
  • In my garden, they’ve always preferred well-drained soil and partial to full sun exposure.
  • Star of Bethlehem bulbs are best planted in the autumn, around 4 (10cm) inches deep and the same distance apart.
  • I’ve grown them primarily as ground cover in rock gardens, but I feel they would make a lovely addition to the front of borders.
  • I’ve never found them difficult to grow and they require little care and attention.

My tips:

I’ve grown Star of Bethlehem in a sunny area of my garden and also in a rockery, where they flourished alongside other spring flowering bulbs. I’ve found that they return year after year with little intervention, and they are a low-maintenance delight. One tip I need to share is to be cautious with their spread, as they can become invasive. I’ve had to thin them out a few times to prevent them from overtaking other plants, so I think they should be planted where you can contain them.

Read more about Star of Bethlehem on Gardener’s World

White Star of Bethlehem flowers
Star of Bethlehem with upright flowers

2) Borage

Borage (Borago officinalis) is an annual herb that has always delighted me with its beautiful blue, star-shaped flowers. This versatile plant attracts pollinators and adds a touch of elegance to any garden but it has several practical uses too – it’s delicious and I’ve used it as a garnish many times.

Key points:

  • Borage can grow up to 2-3 feet (75cm) tall and 1-2 (45cm) feet wide but in my garden, they usually reach about 60cm high, with flowers measuring about 1″(2.5cm) across.
  • I’ve found that they prefer well-drained soil and a sunny location, though they tolerate partial shade but will produce fewer blooms.
  • In my experience, Borage is very easy to grow from seeds, which I’ve sown directly in the garden soil.
  • It makes an excellent companion plant for various vegetables as it attracts beneficial insects including bees.
  • Borage is one of the last annuals to flower in my garden, often up to the first frosts.

My experience:

I’ve grown Borage next to my vegetable garden, and I was surprised how it attracted so many pollinators like bees and butterflies. The flowers are not only visually appealing but also edible, adding a subtle cucumber-ish flavour to salads and as a garnish. Borage self-seeds readily, and I’ve found new plants popping up in my garden each year.

Read more:

GrowVeg has published a handy guide to growing Borage.

Two Borage star-shaped flowers
Single blus Borage star-shaped flower

3) Petunias

The enchanting Petunia (Petunia spp.) is a lovely annual that showcases beautiful star-shaped flowers in a wide range of colours. I’ve found petunias to be a versatile choice for my garden and I’ve grown them in borders, hanging baskets, and containers.

Key points:

  • Petunias can grow up to 6-24″ (15-60 cm) tall, with a spread of 12-48″ (30-120 cm) depending on the variety.
  • I’ve noticed that they prefer well-drained soil and thrive in full sun but will tolerate a bit of shade at the expense of blooms.
  • I’ve grown petunia plants from seeds but plugs are usually cheap and always available in garden centres.
  • They need lots of water and feed, especially if grown in baskets which dry out in the sun.

I recommend:

I’ve grown Petunias for years in borders, baskets and containers, and they have always provided a long-lasting display of colour throughout the summer months and often up to the first frosts. I’ve found that regular deadheading helps to encourage continuous blooms, and I’ve used a a balanced liquid fertiliser every few weeks to keep them healthy. With their wide range of colours and patterns, Petunias have become a staple in my garden. Most have a star-shaped inner colour but there are Petunias in the shape of stars too.

Petunias of several colours in a hanging basket
Trailing petunias from hanging basket

4) Egyptian Star Cluster

The striking Egyptian Star Cluster (Pentas lanceolata) is a tropical perennial that has captivated me with its vibrant, star-shaped flowers. This lovely plant is an excellent choice for adding a burst of colour to any garden, and I’ve had good results in containers on my hot patio.

Key points:

  • Star Clusters can reach heights of 24-36″ (60-90 cm) and have a spread of 18-24″ (45-60 cm).
  • I’ve found growing Star Clusters from seeds can be challenging, so I usually opt for purchasing young plants.
  • I’ve grown them in large containers on my patio, where they’ve provided a stunning display of colour throughout the summer and attracted a variety of pollinators, such as butterflies and bees.
  • Blooms from May into September but won’t survive frost.
  • Often brought inside a conservatory for winter.

Explore more:

Read more on Shoot Gardening

Egyptian Star Cluster
Egyptian starcluster

5) Globe Thistles

Globe thistles, also known as echinops, are a popular plant among gardeners for their striking and unique ball-shaped appearance that contains hundreds of star-shaped blooms. These hardy perennials are native to Europe and Asia, but I’ve seen them growing in gardens around the world. I’ve found them easy to care for, and they add unique texture, bright colour, and structure to gardens.

Key points:

  • Globe thistles are incredibly tough and adaptable plants. They can withstand drought, heat, and cold, and I feel they would be perfect for gardeners looking for low-maintenance plants.
  • I feel that one of the most striking features of globe thistles is their unique, star-shaped spiky flowers which can be blue, purple, or white.
  • Finally, globe thistles are very easy to care for. In my garden I’ve found that they require full sun or partial shade and well-draining soil, but they can tolerate a range of soil types. They don’t require much fertilizer or water, and they don’t need to be pruned or deadheaded regularly.

Read more:

Discover how to grow Globe Thistles at All About Gardening.

Collection of globe thistles

6) Passion Flower

The captivating Passion flower (Passiflora spp.) is a perennial vine that never fails to amaze me with its intricate, star-shaped flowers; I’ve previously grown one in my conservatory and another against a warm wall in my garden and they are a personal favourite of mine. Personally, I think they add a touch of the tropics to my garden, and I enjoyed growing them for years at my previous property.

Key points:

  • Passion flower vines can grow up to 15-20 ft (4.5-6 m) long, depending on the variety but I never had issues keeping them in check.
  • They are only a true hardy in warm sheltered spots such as city gardens in the south of the UK.
  • In my experience, I think they make excellent companions for other climbing plants, such as clematis and honeysuckle.
  • Passion flowers require regular watering, occasional fertilising, and yearly pruning to keep them looking their best.
  • Mine flowered from early summer to autumn.

My experience:

I’ve grown Passion flowers along a garden trellis in a warm spot next to my patio, where they’ve provided a stunning backdrop each summer. I’ve found that providing them with a sturdy support structure is crucial, as they can become quite heavy when in full bloom.


More growing tips from Gardener’s World

Passion flower closeup
Passion flower bloom

7) Starflowers

Starflowers (also Spring Starflowers) can grow up to 4-6″ (10-15 cm) tall and have a spread of 2-3″ (5-7.5 cm), but where they impress the most is their aptly named star-shaped blooms. I’ve grown them amongst other spring flowering bulbs in my rockery and at the front of my borders and they are one of my favourite spring bloomers.

Key points:

  • Low maintenance and generally pest and disease free, although slugs take an interest in young plants.
  • Low growing, making them perfect for rockeries and next to paths.
  • They naturalise easily and come back year after year.
  • Grow in full sun or partial shade.
  • Available in pinks, whites and light purples and blues.
  • They die down from mid-summer but reappear the following spring.

My pro tip:

They can become invasive if left unattended, so I feel they are best grown where they can be contained, such as in a rockery.

How to get started:

Gardenia has published a quick guide here.
starflower with a tinge of purple
Spring starflowers in a bunch

8) Anemones

Anemones are another spring flowering plant I’ve grown several times, and they delight with star-shaped flowers in many different colours.

Key points:

Consider “blanda” for groundcover as it grows to 15cm (6″), “nemorosa” for plants up to 25cm (10″) and “coronaria” for slightly taller plants up to 50cm (20″).

  • One of my favourite spring plants.
  • Choose coronaria for cut flowers.
  • Choose nemorosa and blanda for groundcover and underplanting taller shrubs
  • Bee and pollinator friendly.
  • I’ve found them easy to grow.

Discover more:

Explore our guide to growing anemones.

Anemone blanda as a ground cover UK plant
Anemone blanda flowers

9) Asters

Asters have always been a favourite of mine due to their delightful, star-shaped flowers that come in a range of colours from blue, white, and pink to red. These charming perennials create a stunning display in the garden from late summer to autumn.

Key points:

  • Asters can grow up to 8-48″ (20-120 cm) tall, depending on the variety, with a spread of 12-36″ (30-90 cm).
  • In my experience, they make excellent companions for other late-season perennials, such as goldenrod and sedum.
  • I’ve grown them for years and found that they prefer well-drained soil and thrive in full sun but will tolerate some partial shade.
  • Asters require regular watering, occasional fertilising, and pruning to keep them looking their best.
  • They flower from summer into autumn.

My experience with asters:

I’ve grown Asters in my mixed borders, where they’ve provided a burst of colour just as many of my other plants finished blooming and started to fade. Their star-shaped flowers attract a variety of pollinators, such as butterflies and bees which is always a good thing. I’ve found that providing them with a consistent care routine, such as deadheading spent blooms and pruning to maintain their shape, has kept my Asters healthy so they peform well year after year.

Purple asters
Cluster of asters

10) Balloon Flowers

The captivating Balloon Flower (Platycodon grandiflorus) is another personal favourite due to its unique, star-shaped flowers that burst open from balloon-shaped buds.

Key points:

  • Balloon Flowers can grow up to 12-24″ (30-60 cm) tall and have a spread of 12-18″ (30-45 cm).
  • In my experience, they make excellent companions for other perennials, such as hostas and daylilies.
  • They prefer full sun to light shade.
  • I’ve grown them in pots and at the front of borders.
  • Flowers from early summer to early autumn.

Discover more:

Masterclass has published a guide to growing Balloon Flowers.

Balloon flowers

11) Greater Stitchwort

The elegant Greater Stitchwort (Stellaria holostea) has long been a favourite of mine for its delicate, dainty, star-shaped white flowers. This charming woodland perennial would be perfect in a wildlife or wildflower garden. I’ve also seen it grown under hedgerows and locations with semi-shade.

Key points:

  • Greater Stitchwort can grow up to 12-20″ (30-50 cm) tall and has a spread of 12″ (30 cm).
  • Five notched star-shaped petals on each flower.
  • Grass-like leaves.
  • Unaffected by pests or diseases.
  • Prefers dappled shade.

Discover more:

The RHS has published a guide to growing Greater Stitchwort.

Greater stitchwort flowers

12) Gooseneck Loosestrife

This is the most unusual plant on my list, and I don’t just mean the name. Gooseneck Loosestrife (Lysimachia clethroides) is a striking perennial plant that I feel would make an eye-catching addition to any garden. This plant is known for its tall, arching flower spikes that bear numerous small, star-shaped white flowers; these arches resemble the curved neck of a goose, hence the name Gooseneck. The word Loosestrife comes from the fact that this plant can become invasive if left unattended.

Key points:

  • This plant can grow up to 24-36″ (60-90 cm) tall and has a spread of 18-24″ (45-60 cm).
  • It has attractive, lance-shaped green leaves that provide a lush backdrop for the flowers.
  • Flowers from mid to late summer.
  • It likes moist soil, so grow with other moisture-loving plants such as irises, astilbes, and hostas.
  • It can be invasive.

My experience

I’ve never grown this plant, but my neighbour had a specimen near his pond. It was a most unusual sight, and there are only a few other plants that look remotely similar.

Discover more:

The RHS has published a growing guide.
Gooseneck loosestrife
Gooseneck loosestrife

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A collection of star-shaped flowers

Meet The Author: Elizabeth Smith

Elizabeth Smith has several internationally recognised qualifications in horticulture and specialises in:

  • Plant care.
  • Garden planning and design.
  • Green space and landscape management.
  • Disease identification and control.

Elizabeth started her career at a local garden centre before studying for her qualifications at the prestigious Merrist Wood College in Guildford, Surrey.

She holds a diploma in horticulture and previously worked at the renowned RHS Gardens Wisley.

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Elizabeth Smith

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Elizabeth Smith is a fully qualified horticulturist and has been a gardening enthusiast for many years; she’s constantly growing new plants and frequently writes for us and reviews our content. This guide to the best star-shaped flowers is based on her experience with plants she’s grown in her garden or she has seen grown by others she knows.

As accuracy is important, we asked Hannah Miller to review and fact-check this guide.

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