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Liatris spicata

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Plant types and subtypes: Perennials

Light Requirements: sun, part-sun

Water Use: low, medium

Soil Moisture: moist, wet

Soil Description: acid, average, loam, clay, sand, gravel/rock

Height: 3'-4'

Bloom Time: July, August, September

Bloom Color: purple, pink

Leaf Color: green

Hardiness Zone: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Additional Tags: attracts bees, attracts birds, attracts butterflies, attracts hummingbirds, cottage garden plant, cut flowers, drought tolerant, naturalizing, ornamental foliage, pond margin plant, rock garden plant

Liatris spicata (dense blazing star)
  • Liatris spicata (dense blazing star)
  • Liatris spicata (dense blazing star)
  • Liatris spicata (dense blazing star)
  • Liatris spicata (dense blazing star)

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Description

Liatris spicata

Also known as:

dense blazing star

,

marsh blazing star

,

dense gayfeather

,

spike gayfeather

,

gay feather

Scientific Synonyms:

Description

Liatris spicata is unusual among other species of Liatris insomuch as its flowering spike blooms from the top downard. It is a clump-forming plant with a basal tuft of delicate, grass-like foliage, from which will grow one or more, erect unbranched flowering stalk. The leaves become sparse as they move up these rigid stems, that will grow to a height of 4', sometimes taller in cultivation and under ideal conditions. The terminal flowering spikes are up to 18" long, and densely clustered with purplish-pink feathery flowers, hence the common names Dense blazing star and Dense gayfeather. Bloom period begins in mid to late summer, and lasts about 3 weeks.

Cultivation

Found naturalized in the prairies and marsh edges of the eastern US, Liatris spicata is remarkably adaptable and easy to grow. It prefers full sun and moist, rich soil, but will tolerate part-sun and poor, sandy, heavy clay, and even rocky soil. It is better adapted to moist or wet environments, than other species of Liatris, yet shares some of the drought tolerance that is characteristic of the genus. The plant forms dense clumps via corms. It may also naturalize by seed, though seedlings can take years to establish. Recommended uses include cottage gardens, butterfly gardens, rock gardens, water feature margins, rain gardens, and naturalized prairies. Zones 5-10

Propagation

It is best to propagate by digging up established clumps in spring, and separating the corms.

Propagate from seed outside. Cold stratification (2-3 months refrigeration) and scarification (knicking of the seed cover) is recommended if sowing collected seeds. Plants propagated from seed are slow to establish.

Additional Notes

Flowers are attractive to bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Birds will feed on the seeds in fall. A good candidate for cut flower arrangements.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:
AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, MI, MO, MS, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA, SC, TN, VA, WI, WV

Classification

Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons
Subclass Asteridae
Order Asterales
Family Asteraceae Aster family
Genus Liatris blazing star
Species Liatris spicata dense blazing star