Liatris spicata is one of my favorite plants.  The fluffy, purple flowers are reminiscent of something from Dr. Seuss.  Come see it for yourself!

It goes by many different common names (one reason I prefer botanical names) including blazing star, dense blazing star, marsh blazing star, and gay-feather.

Blazing star grows best in moist soil, especially sandy loams, in full sun (1).  I have noticed it does have a tendency to wilt when soil loses moisture, so ensure there is plenty of organic material in the soil when planting.  Dry conditions can also cause the flowers to dry-out before their time.

Bombus on Liatris (photo by Irene Sadler)

Liatris spicata grows to about four feet high and a foot and a half wide in optimal conditions and blooms from the end of June until August (2).  It looks great in a mass planting and may flop without staking.

Liatris feeds the bleeding flower moth, primrose moth (shown below) and liatris borer moths as well as bees, butterflies, and skippers.

Blazing star feeds the primrose moth, Schinia florida. (photo credit: David Patriquin)

Stop by the nursery when you can, and whatever you do this summer, have fun and stay cool!

References:

  1. http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/wetland/plants/msh_blazingstar.htm
  2. http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=d780
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