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Liatris and it's Species

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It always surprises me how many people ask ,"What is that!?", when they see Liatris or Blazing Star in bloom in my garden. Liatris is a US native prairie plant that is loved and planted by many gardeners throughout the world. The blooms seems to last forever and the tall spikes of purple stand out so clearly, that it has become popular as a late summer favorite. They make It's long lasting blooms make striking cut flowers, either when dried or cut fresh, and as an added bonus, they attract butterflies to your garden.

To grow Liatris you will need an area with full sun, they are tolerant of very dry conditions but hate soggy feet, so be sure to plant them where there is never standing water, especially in winter or early spring. Blazing star can be propagate easily by both seed and division of their tuber or corm likely in winter. New plants can be produced through seed or by division of the corm like tuberous roots in the spring. They should be divided every 4 to 5 years, or when over crowding is apparent.

The most sought after US native species of Liatris are:

Liatris aspera: (Rough Gayfeather) Zone 3-9.  This species can get as big as 6' tall

Liatris punctata: (Snakeroot) Zone 3-9.  L. punctata is a smaller species only getting to 3' tall but forms a nice mounding clump.

Liatris pycnostachya: (Kansas Gayfeather) Zone 3-9.  Kansas Gayfeather grows to 5' tall and leaves 12" long

Liatris scariosa: (Blazing Star)  Zone 5-9.  4' tall and flowers come in white, purple and pink

Liatris spicata: (Blazong Star or Gayfeather) Zone 4-9.  Although the least drought tolerant of the species, it is the most popular of all of the Liatris. grows up to 5' tall with many cultivars to chose from, including the dwarf 'Kobold'.

Liatris has about 40 species, all very attractive prairie flowers.  They work great in mixed or herbaceous borders, as well as any cottage garden planting.  Loved by gardeners, butterflies and bees.

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