The Q&A Archives: Liatris

Question: I am wanting to plant liatris but know absolutely nothing about it. I understand it is a bulb? I assume it is a perennial, right? How much space does one bulb mature to and are they easy to grow? How many years do they last? So, how do I plant them, how far apart, full sun or shade? Do they only come in a purple color?

Answer: Liatris is called Blazing Star or Gayfeather and is perennial bulb (technically a corm) that is a native prairie plant. It blooms for an extended period in summer and is available in several heights and in either pink or white. It does best in full sun but will tolerate a half day of shade. It requires a well drained soil, it is considered drought tolerant although it performs better with average moisture levels. It should be planted in spring or fall about five inches deep to the bottom of the bulb and just a few inches apart because they are very upright narrow plants. ( A container grown plant can be planted any time the soil can be worked.) Liatris may need to be lifted and thinned or divided after four or five years when the corms become crowded. The flowers open in succession along the stem over a long time period and make nice dried flowers. Liatris is well suited to the perennial garden and is hardy from zone 9 to 5 without winter mulch, to zone 3 or 4 with a winter mulch.

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