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Plant of the Week: Blazing-star

Blazing Star (Liatris sp.)  photo credit

The Blazing Star, with it’s striking spike of purple flowers, is native to the eastern two thirds of North America (east of the Rocky Mountains).  It is an upright plant that stands 1 1/2 – 3 feet tall on average.   Each flowering stem terminates with a spike of pink, lavender/purple, or white flowers that attract butterflies, bees and other pollinators.  This plant is often chosen to add a splash of mid summer to early fall color to a foundation planting, butterfly or rock garden.  Some species are very very hardy and will tollerate both cold (USDA zone 3a) and drought while others are restricted by temperature and/or moisture.  It would be wise to make note of the individual species you are wanting to plant and it’s moisture and zone preferences before assuming it will be ‘happy’ in your garden.

Plant each Blazing Star about 18 inches apart in a full to mostly sunny location.  Many garden centers carry one or two ornamental varieties of Blazing Star as established plants.  Also, the plant’s large root system can be divided for propagation if you have access to a well established plant.  Divide and transplant early in the spring to allow them to get well established again before the winter cold arrives.  Another propagation option is to collect seeds after the flowers have faded and are dry.  Broadcast seeds in the fall, start them in an unheated greenhouse or cold frame, or cold treat them before starting them indoors.

Please Note:  Respect native prairie plant communities!  Do not dig up wild plants or gather wild seed.  They are a part of a greater community that depends on them.  Thank you!

Happy Wildflower Gardening! 🙂