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Liatris spicata (Spike gayfeather)
Species Distribution Map: Click to enlarge
Map Color Key © 2013 BONAP

Liatris spicata

Spike gayfeather

PA provenance

We are pleased to increase the availability of Pennsylvania provenance populations of our native gayfeathers. Tallest of the genus with upright spikes bearing pinkish-purple tassels in July and August. One of the best garden performers! An excellent cut flower and a magnet for butterflies, bees, rare moths and hummingbirds. Deer resistant!

PRICING
Liatris spicata LP50 - 50 per flat $54.00
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Height

3-5 Feet

Spread

2 Feet

Spacing

10 Inches

Bloom Color

Mauve Pink

USDA Hardiness Zone 3-9

Spike gayfeather Interesting Notes

The good news for gardeners is that Liatris is much more than a cut-flower-industry standard. It is, in fact, a group of wonderfully diverse and easy-to-grow perennials that can brighten up the outside of your home just as beautifully as they can the inside. More...

Liatris spicata (dense blazing star) sends up three- to four-foot lavender spikes in midsummer. This is another species that can tolerate moist soils. Numerous cultivars are available, including 'Blue Bird', with blue-purple flower heads, and 'Snow Queen', with white flower heads. It's native to many eastern and southern states. (species info too) Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Blazing star (also commonly called dense blazing star or marsh blazing star) is a tall, upright, clump-forming perennial which is native to moist low grounds, meadows and marsh margins. In Missouri, it has only been found in Oregon County on the Arkansas border (Steyermark). It typically grows 2-4' tall in cultivation, but can reach a height of 6' in some parts of its native habitat. Features terminal spikes (6-12" long) of sessile, rounded, fluffy, deep purple flower heads (each to 3/4" across) appearing atop rigid, erect, leafy flower stalks. One or more stalks arise from a basal tuft of narrow, grass-like, medium green leaves (to 12" long). Stem leaves gradually decrease in size toward the top. Blooms in summer. Liatris belongs to the aster family, with each flower head having only fluffy disk flowers (resembling "blazing stars") and no ray flowers. The feathery flower heads of liatris give rise to another common name of gayfeather. Kemper Center for Home Gardening (Missouri BG)

This densely spiked wetland species is one of the most commonly available in hurseries, with several compact cultivars from European breeders. It is a fine garden plant that will tolerate more moisture than most of the others, but does fine in average soils as well. Bill Cullina, Wildflowers of the US and Canada

Liatris adapts well to container production in the nursery. The slender Liatris spicata bottlebrushes of purple, fuchsia, rose and purple make a striking vertical statement in formal borders, cottage gardens and naturalistic plantings.

Neither poor soils, heat, cold nor drought seem to bother this sturdy native American. And it's mostly unaffected by pests and diseases. But watch for powdery mildew, which may appear in hot, humid weather. In the nursery, provide plenty of air circulation to limit powdery mildew, and irrigate regularly, as stressed plants are more prone to powdery mildew.


L. spicata blooms from midsummer to fall, drawing bees and butterflies. What's interesting about these flowers is that, unlike most spiked flowers, gay-feather blossoms begin opening from the top of the spike downward.

The plant, which dies back to the ground in most climates each fall, starts out in spring as a short tuft of dark-green leaves. Eventually a central spire rises from each grasslike tuft. In June or July, buds at the top of the stalks start opening, covering the stem in fuzzy florets. Flowering can continue through August. More... Greenbeam.com

Liatris spicata Growing and Maintenance Tips

Prefers moist, organically rich soils in full to part sun. Tolerant of harsh growing conditions such as poor soil, heat, humidity and drought, but is the most moisture tolerant of the genus. Propagate by seed or divide tubers in spring or fall. Best used as a border in perennial and cutting gardens or naturalized areas.

Key Characteristics & Attributes

Deer Resistant
Deer Resistant
Butterflies
Butterflies
Full Sun
Full Sun
Part Sun
Part Sun
Summer
Summer
Cut Flower
Cut Flower
Salt Tolerance
Salt Tolerance
Drought Tolerant
Drought Tolerant
Average
Average
Moist
Moist
Dry
Dry

Additional Information

Growth Rate
Medium
Attributes
Dry Sun
Mass Planting
Wildflower Garden
Native to US
Propagation Type
Open pollinated