If you are looking to attract some attention in your garden, try adding eye-catching Blazing Stars or Liatris spicata to your garden.  These easy to grow perennial plants will certainly attract attention with their deep purple blooms on top of tall stalks which have grass-like foliage and reach a height of 3-4 feet. While the plant is recognized for its purple flowers, they also bloom in white. The flower heads are fluffy and feathery and the plant also is known as gayfeather.  The plant distinguishes itself from other similar plants, as their flowers bloom from the top of the spike instead of the other bottom.

There are many species of this plant but they all share these characteristics:

  • They have long tapering foliage with the largest leaves on the plant at the bottom
  • Tall stems protrude upward from the plant, along with several flowers which open from top to bottom.

Blazing Stars is a popular Native American Wildflower and are found in many parts of the US and is a member of the Sunflower family.  It blooms July – September. After the blooming stops, seeds are released until the winter begins.  It was selected as the 1998 North Carolina Wildflower of the Year by the North Carolina Botanical Gardens. Pollinators love this plant especially bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. In the autumn, birds will feed on the seeds.  

Plant Blazing Stars in well-drained moist soil, in a sunny location. The plant does well in a variety of soil including clay. It also tolerates heat, humidity, and drought. If the plant is in extended hot weather the lower leaves might wilt. During this time, you could supplement the soil with organic material to preserve the moisture in the soil. This plant is prone to nibbling by rabbits, deer, and other livestock. The corms (bulbs) of plant are food for meadow and prairie voles. A large number of these rodents can decimate this wildflower. It is hardy for zones 3 – 9.

This plant is a fantastic choice if you are looking to add some height or a strong vertical emphasis in your garden.  It is also a great selection if you are looking to create a wildflower garden or perennial border.  Other wonderful uses in the garden for Blazing Stars flowers are long-lasting cut flower gardens, butterfly gardens, cottage gardens, low-maintenance plantings, and meadow gardens. If water is a problem and you are looking for water-wise plants, consider this plant.

If you are looking for some companion plants for Blazing Stars try the following plants:

  • Bee Balm
  • Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia Hirta)
  • Coneflowers (Echinacea)
  • Helenium autumnale (Common Sneezeweed)
  • False Sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides)
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