Highlighting Liatris – Blazing Star

Fri. Nov. 8, 2019

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Among the native plants I purchased from my local Soil and Water Conservation District for my butterfly garden was the Liatris. This marvelous pollinator plant is also called Blazing Star or Gayfeather. 

Liatris – Blazing Star 2019 by Teri Knight

It’s tough, it’s dependable and, among it’s species, is a monarch magnet! Yes, the monarch butterfly which favors milkweed, also adores Meadow Blazing Star. The links explain the Latin names of the plants.

Rough (or Button) Blazing Star is hardy to zone 3 and grows to 3 feet tall in medium to dry soil.  It’s great for a cut flower bouquet but it’s so loaded with pollinators that I hate to disturb them! 

Rough blazing star with asters 2019 – my butterfly garden Teri Knight

While I bought small plants, Liatris can be grown from seed, corms or bareroot too. If growing a prairie, seed is your cheapest option but it will take at least a year to see flowers.  Corms are like flat bulbs and are planted in the Spring.

Bareroot can be planted in Spring or Fall. Check out your local nurseries. There are a number of native plant growers in the Upper Midwest. Check my favorite links. 

If you’re into xeriscaping, which is landscaping with plants that need little water, then the Dotted Blazing star is for you, due to it’s deep root system.

dotted blazing star

That also means it probably isn’t one to be moved. “Dotted” grows to just 2 feet tall.  By the way, all liatris are shades of purple and the small flowers bloom profusely on spires. The Dense Blazing Star Liatris Spicata is the tallest of the species, growing to 5 feet.

It prefers wet to medium soil.   There’s also a white version called ‘Floristan White’.

Liatris spicata ‘Floristan White’