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Liatris (lye-ay-triss), gayfeather, blazing star; Asteraceae Family. Liatris is a tall, North American perennial, up to 6 feet tall, with handsome purple or white bloom sprays in August and September. Among the hardiest of the available choices for the perennial border, Gayfeather grows in average, medium, well-drained soils. A light but fairly rich soil is desirable for best blooms, but these plants survive poor soils and extremes of heat, humidity, cold and drought. However, Liatris is intolerant of wet soils in winter. Generally, L. ’spicata’ (spye-kay-tuh) prefers more moisture than other members of the Liatris family.
Propagate by seeds or division in early spring. The roots of this genus are tuberous, and they may be lifted every few years and divided. When dividing use a sharp knife and keep at least one eye per division; dust newly cut ends with a fungicidal powder before replanting. Plant bare root corms with the top right at the soil surface, just barely covered with soil.
It is a apt choice for southern gardens since it is very tolerant of hot summers.
Attributes: border plant, cut flower, dried flower and mass plantings. Attracts butterflies and deer resistant.
Native species are on the preservation lists of some states.