Liatris spicata (L.) Willd.

Blazing Star, Spike Gayfeather


Family: Compositae

Genus: Liatris

Category: Perennial

Zones: 3 to 9

Size: 3 to 5' tall

Growth Rate: Fast

Exposure: Sun

Description: 

Purple flowers on tall spikes in summer. The inflorescences are up to 15" long and make good cut flowers. May need staking to keep the spikes upright. Plant 4 to 6" deep. Well-drained soil. Likes moisture however. Basal leaves can be 12" long, gradually decreasing in size as they progress up the stem.

Cultivars: 

'Kobold' - dwarf (to 30") purple flowers

History: 

Published in Sp. Pl., ed. 4 3(3): 1636 in 1803.

Native to eastern and central US and Canada.

Basionym is Serratula spicata L.

Relatives: 

My Experience: 

I purchased 20 rhizomes from Lowes in March 2011. I planted 5 in the cutting garden and 2 in the courtyard, 6 in the berm and 3 in the perennial bed, 1 in the One of Everything garden and the rest...

It turns out rabbits love the leaves and if the stems get big enough, deer then cut the flower stalks off. In 2014 I tracked down the remaining plants: 1 in the One Of Everything garden, 1 in the Pool Lawn Border.


Sources of Information

© 2010-12 Lisa J. Miner