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

Liatris spicata

blazing star, gayfeather

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!

SIZE
Liatris spicata LP50 - 50 per flat Availability
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Height

3-5 Feet

Spread

2 Feet

Spacing

12-18 Inches

Bloom Color

Violet

USDA Hardiness Zone 3-9

blazing star, gayfeather Interesting Notes

Growing 3’-4’ in height, this upright and structurally arresting native flower is a must-have addition to the perennial border and wildlife garden. Liatris spicata blooms in July and August with the spikes covered in pink-purple tassels and is part of the Aster family. The foliage is fine and erupts from a basal clump of grass-like leaves growing 1’-2’ wide. Long used in cut flower arrangements, dense blazing star exhibits its Aster heritage by bringing many butterflies, bees, moths, and hummingbirds to your site while in bloom. The foliage adds the fine texture in the garden like a grass but with a pop of color in late summer that is sure to please!

Liatris spicata naturally occurs in moist wood openings, mesic prairies, and marsh edges found east of the Mississippi from Ontario down to Florida. Able to tolerate heavy clay, dense blazing star prefers average to moist rich soils in full to part sun. While it can take poor soils, heat, humidity, and some drought, Liatris spicata will die out if situated in a location that is wet in the winter. This specie is the most moisture tolerant of the genus.

Dense blazing star creates a striking vertical element in the garden and is well-situated in borders, cottage gardens, naturalistic plantings, butterfly gardens, meadows, or planted en masse. Tolerant of deer pressure, dense blazing star has corms that small wildlife finds tempting in the cold months. The stalks provide winter interest when left up and the seeds provide forage for wildlife.

Liatris spicata Growing and Maintenance Tips

Prefers average to 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

Full Sun
Full Sun
Part Sun
Part Sun
Moist
Moist
Deer Resistant
Deer Resistant
Pollinator-friendly
Pollinator-friendly
Songbird-friendly
Songbird-friendly
Salt Tolerance
Salt Tolerance
Drought Tolerant
Drought Tolerant
Cut Flower
Cut Flower
Summer
Summer

Additional Information

Soil Moisture Needs
Average
Green Infrastructure
Erosion Control
Meadow/Prairie
Wetland Indicator Status
Falcutative (FAC)
Plug Type
Landscape Plug™
Attributes
Clay Tolerance
Native to North America
Propagation Type
Open pollinated