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Blazing Star

Liatris

These native prairie plants add beautiful spikes of color to any dry and sunny garden space. Blazing star also has an interesting blooming habit, as it blooms from the top down on the flower stalk rather than from the bottom up. This makes it a great choice for cut flowers, and it is much loved by florists. In the garden, blazing star is a favorite nectar crop for monarchs and many other butterflies and hummingbirds. Once the blooms are done, it makes a great snack for finches, too. Unfortunately, blazing star is also a favorite snack for bunnies and deer, so plan accordingly.

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Light:

Sun

Type:

Height:

From 1 to 8 feet

Width:

1 to 2 feet wide

Flower Color:

Foliage Color:

Seasonal Features:

Problem Solvers:

Zones:

3-9

Propagation

Colorful Combinations

Thanks to their glowing orchid purple/pink blooms, blazing stars make wonderful garden plants that mingle well with other plants. Their fairly unassuming foliage of fine green leaves looks almost grass-like and blends into the landscape well. Once blooming begins, tall spires of color sway in the garden and are constantly abuzz with pollinators. At peak bloom, blazing stars are a favorite for butterflies. Because of the many different species available, you can also get a long bloom time from the flowers.

Blazing Star Care Must-Knows

Blazing stars are true prairie plants. To thrive, they need similar conditions. Plant blazing stars in tough soil conditions with good drainage. One of the main causes of death in blazing stars is winter wet, so make sure they never sit in water in cold weather. These plants grow by way of small corms, a modified storage root like a bulb, which are susceptible to rot. Avoid overly rich, fertile soils, as they can encourage lush, soft growth prone to flopping. These plants are already quite tall, and grow best on fairly lean soils.

Like many other prairie plants, blazing stars need full sun. They are also extremely tolerant of heat and drought, and can make it through some of the toughest summers. Planting blazing stars in full sun will ensure that the plants put on a good show of flowers, and will keep them as compact as possible. Taller species will need competition and neighbors to lean on to prevent flopping.

New Innovations

Many species of blazing star have seen an increase in popularity over the years because of the pollinator movement, which encourages gardeners to plant natives and other plants that act as a nectar source for pollinators. A few varieties offer dwarf habits for smaller spaces and reduce the risk of flopping.

More Varieties of Blazing Star

'Floristan White' blazing star

Liatris spicata 'Floristan White' may reach 3 feet tall. Its leafy stems carry long spikes of creamy white flower heads at their tips. Zones 4-9

'Kobold' blazing star

Liatris spicata 'Kobold' is one of the best varieties for cutting. Its robust spikes of bright purple flowers appear in early summer. It grows about 2 feet tall. Zones 4-9

Plant Blazing Star With:

Shasta daisy
Easy, always fresh, and always eye-catching, Shasta daisy is a longtime favorite. All cultivars produce white daisy flowers in various degrees of doubleness and size. The sturdy stems and long vase life make the flowers unbeatable for cutting. Shasta daisy thrives in well-drained, not overly rich soil. Taller varieties may need staking.
Helenium
Long-blooming helenium lights up the late-season garden with showy daisy flowers in brilliant yellows, browns, and mahogany, centered with prominent yellow or brown discs. Many of the best cultivars are hybrids. All are excellent for cutting. Deadhead to extend bloom time, and divide the clumps every couple of years to ensure vigor.
Artemisia
Grow artemisias for the magnificent silver foliage that complements nearly all other perennials and ties together diverse colors within the garden. They're nothing short of stunning next to white or blue flowers. They thrive in hot, dry, sunny conditions, such as a south-facing slope. A number spread rapidly to the point of being aggressive, so consider limiting to varieties that are well-behaved.
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