Blazing Star: A Native Perennial With Spiky Purple Flowers

blazing star liatris spicataVirtues: We love Liatris spicata for its wand-like spikes that bloom with clusters of radiant, feathery purple flower heads throughout late summer and early fall, atop rigid, upright stems over clumps of grass-like foliage.

Common name: Blazing star, dense blazing star, marsh blazing star, gayfeather, snakeroot

Botanical name: Liatris spicata

Flowers: During late summer and early fall, bundles of whimsical, tassel-like flower heads bloom atop long spikes in striking hues of reddish-purple, lavender and white. Flower heads consist of disk flowers, with no ray flowers, that appear like beautiful stars, giving rise to its namesake of “blazing stars”.

Foliage: Clumps of linear, fuzzy, light green grass-like leaves appear at the base of the plant. Leaves decrease in size as they rise up the stem, offering an intriguing backdrop for the charming flowers.

Habit: Herbaceous perennial. With an upright habit, blazing stars typically grow 2 to 4 feet tall and can spread 1 to 2 feet.

Season: With their intriguing flowers, these butterfly- and hummingbird-loving perennials look stunning throughout late summer and early fall.

Origin: Eastern North America.

How to grow Liatris spicata: Blazing star thrives in moist, well-drained sandy loam soil, but will grow successfully in most soils. They prosper in full to part sun with regular watering. USDA Zones 3–10.

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