Blazing Star, Gay Feather
Liatris spicata (L.) Willd. is the correct and accepted scientific name for this species. It was named and described as such by Carl Ludwig Willdenow in Species Plantarum, 4th edition, in 1803. It was first described as Serratula spicata by Carl von Linnaeus in Species Plantarum in 1753.
Plants of the World Online is still uploading data, so there wasn’t information about the other accepted Liatris species on their website (as of 2-16-18). The 2013 version of The Plant List names 50 accepted species plus 4 accepted infraspecific names, 224 synonyms, and 46 unresolved names. The Plant List is no longer maintained so it isn’t up to date even though it may still be accurate for some plants.
I bought my Liatris spicata from Wagler’s Greenhouse in the spring of 2017. I had rejuvenated the south bed and extended the corner a little which is where I planted it.
As with all plants, it seems to take forever for their puds to open. This one just kept getting taller and taller! Liatris prefer fertile soil but will be OK in any old soil as long as it is well-draining. They do NOT like wet soil in the winter, however. This plant is considered a herbaceous perennial but spread by corms. You can buy plants, corms, or even seed although seed-grown plants may be somewhat harder to get established.
They are drought tolerant once established but need regular water, especially the first season, to get their roots well established.
Origin: Eastern United States
Zones: USDA Zones 3a-10b (-40 to 35° F)
Size: 24-48” tall
Light: Full sun
Soil: Average, well-drained soil is OK but prefers moist fertile soil. Intolerant of wet soil in the winter.
Water: Average water needs
Once their flowers fade, the show is over. They need companion plants nearby for extended interest in the flower bed. I had transplanted ‘Brocade’ Marigolds in this bed which soon filled in the whole area and completely covered up the Liatris.
Well, that’s it for the photos of the Liatris. Hopefully, it will return this spring. I may buy more of these to make more of a mass planting.
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