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Liatris microcephala (smallhead blazing star)

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Technical sheet - Liatris
Species Distribution Map: Click to enlarge
Map Color Key © 2013 BONAP

Liatris microcephala

smallhead blazing star

An exceptional, compact native with fine-textured, deep green grassy leaves. Smallhead blazing star sends up numerous spikes with tassel-like rosy purple flowers in August and September. Unique to the genus, the flowers open from top to bottom on the spike in a slow unfurling of brilliant color. Excellent as a cut flower. Tolerant of clay and drought, very low maintenance. Loved by butterflies! Liatris microcephala can be found in sandy, dry prairies and open glades of the Southern Appalachian Mountains.

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18-24 Inches


12-18 Inches


12 Inches

Bloom Color


USDA Hardiness Zone 4-7

smallhead blazing star Interesting Notes

Defying summer extremes of heat, humidity and drought, Liatris microcephala is an easy care herbaceous perennial that thrives in full sun and poor soil. Growing from a woody corm, it produces a tuft of fine textured, grass-like foliage in spring. Then in late summer multiple 2-2½’ erect leafy stems, encircled by numerous ¾”  rose-purple flowers, grace its tufted mound. Plants require lean, well drained soil, especially in winter. Small-headed gayfeather makes a vibrant vertical accent in a sunny border combined with Coreopsis delphiniifolia or Rudbeckia fulgida. Its diminutive size makes it ideal in the rock garden nestled with Silene regiaKrigia montanaBigelowia nuttallii and Ruellia humilis. - Mt. Cuba Center

Proven hardy greenroof plants are the Alpine types and those that can retain a certain amount of moisture within their leaves or bulbs. So, in theory, other plants known to flourish in areas of high heat, drought, wind, direct sun, and temperature extremes should be particularly adaptable to the sometimes harsh conditions of a greenroof. I would speculate that most plants naturally occurring along county roads, expressways, abandoned sites and the like that do not receive irrigation would adapt well to the greenroof environment... Gayfeather is native to the U. S. Granite Outcrops. -

Liatris microcephala Growing and Maintenance Tips

Prefers average to dry, well-drained, slightly acidic soil in full sun. Tolerant of harsh growing conditions such as poor soil, heat, humidity and drought. Best used in rock gardens, perennial and cutting gardens or naturalized areas.

Key Characteristics & Attributes

Full Sun
Full Sun
Part Sun
Part Sun
Deer Resistant
Deer Resistant
Drought Tolerant
Drought Tolerant
Cut Flower
Cut Flower

Additional Information

Soil Moisture Needs
Plug Type
Horticultural Plug
Native to North America
Propagation Type