How to Plant and Grow Blazing Star

The blazing star is a prairie plant that will attract butterflies and other pollinators to your garden.

Blazing Star Overview

Genus Name Liatris
Common Name Blazing Star
Plant Type Perennial
Light Sun
Height 1 to 3 feet
Width 1 to 2 feet
Flower Color Pink, Purple, White
Foliage Color Blue/Green
Season Features Fall Bloom, Summer Bloom
Special Features Attracts Birds, Cut Flowers, Low Maintenance
Zones 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Propagation Division, Seed
Problem Solvers Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant

Thanks to their tall wands of purplish-pink blooms, perennial blazing stars make eye-catching additions to sunny gardens. Their foliage of delicate green leaves looks almost grass-like and blends into the landscape well. Blazing star is hardy in Zones 3-9, and once blooming begins, the tall, colorful spires sway in the breeze and are constantly abuzz with pollinators. Several species and varieties are available, and some have exceptionally long-lasting blooms.

Blazing star is a favorite nectar plant for butterflies like monarchs and many other pollinators. Once the blooms are done, the seeds make a nutritious snack for finches. Unfortunately, blazing star is also a favorite meal for rabbits and deer, so plan accordingly.

Where to Plant Blazing Star

Like many other prairie plants, blazing stars need full sun. They also can take heat and drought, sailing through some of the toughest summers without missing a beat. Taller species will need neighbors to lean on to prevent flopping.

How and When to Plant Blazing Star

It's easier to grow blazing stars from nursery plants than from seeds because it takes two years to produce flowering plants. Plant them in spring after the last frost.

Many species of blazing star have increased in popularity over the years because of the pollinator movement, which encourages gardeners to plant natives and other nectar sources for essential beneficial insects like bees. In addition, a few varieties offer dwarf habits for smaller spaces and reduced flopping.

Blazing Star Care Tips

Blazing stars are true prairie plants that grow in most kinds of soil.


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.

Soil and Water

Blazing stars thrive in poor soil conditions as long as there's good drainage because they'll rot in soggy soil. One of the main causes of death in blazing stars is too much winter wetness, so make sure they never sit in water in cold weather. Avoid overly rich, fertile soils, as they can encourage lush, soft growth prone to flopping.

Temperature and Humidity

Blazing star can take the summer heat and humidity. If the soil stays relatively dry, blazing stars can also live through cold winters.


As long as the soil is good, blazing star doesn't need fertilizing. For poor soil, apply fertilizer once a year in the spring before the plants start flowering. For the amount to use, follow product label instructions.


Cut blazing star back to the base of the plant to where small leaves grow (the basal leaves) when flowers begin to fade. This allows them to prepare for the next growing season.

Potting and Repotting Blazing Star

Blazing star is a native perennial so it's not usually grown in containers, but if you choose to grow them that way, the planting and care are similar to growing in the ground. However, potted blazing star will need more water than in-ground plants.

Pests and Problems

Blazing star can become infected with leaf spot, powdery mildew, and verticillium wilt if the plants don't get enough air circulation. Avoid fungicides, which can kill these plants.

How to Propagate Blazing Star

Propagate blazing star via its corms. Dig up the corms and separate them for replanting. This helps the plants stay healthy and continue to grow. Replant corms about 2 to 3 inches deep in soil with the root side down. If the type of blazing star you're growing has rhizomes, dig up an overgrown plant, cut the rhizomes into big pieces and replant at the same depth as the original plant.

To grow from seed, collect some dried seeds from the plants in the fall. Seeds need four to six weeks of cold stratification for germination. Either direct sow the seeds in the garden (plant about a quarter inch into the soil) in the fall or refrigerate them for six to eight weeks before planting to grow seedlings indoors.

Types of Blazing Star

'Floristan White' Blazing Star

blazing star liatris spicata 'Floristan White'
Marty Baldwin

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

'Kobold' blazing star with purple flowers

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

Blazing Star Companion Plants

Shasta Daisy

detail of shasta daisies leucanthemum x superbum
Peter Krumhardt

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. Taller varieties may need staking. Zones 5-8


orange Helenium annual herbaceous perennial
Peter Krumhardt

Long-blooming helenium lights up the late-season garden with showy daisy flowers in yellows, browns, and mahogany, centered with prominent yellow or brown discs. Many of the best cultivars are hybrids. All are excellent for cutting. Zones 3-9


detail of Artemisia mugwort asteraceae with silver foliage

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 like a south-facing slope. A number spread rapidly to the point of being aggressive, so consider limiting to well-behaved varieties. Zones 3-9

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How did blazing star get its name?

    Blazing star gets its name from its flowers. They appear on tall stalks, blooming from the top down rather than from the bottom up, similar to sparklers.

  • Why aren't my blazing stars blooming?

    If your plants are new, they won't bloom right away. If they're established, make sure the soil is fertilized enough for them to get the nutrients they need to grow each spring. Also, make sure there's plenty of sunlight for them.

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