Gayfeather (Liatris spicata) produces tall spikes of beautiful purple or white flowers that bloom throughout the year. Liatris spicata thrives in clusters and prefers moist, marshy terrain. It is also known as blazing star or prairie star. Between 1 and 5 feet (0.3 and 1.5 meters) tall, blazing star flower spikes bloom. The plant is suitable for individual or mass planting in full sun because of its beautiful gayfeather blooms.
As easy-care, low-maintenance summer plants, Gayfeather plants have tremendous decorative potential. The flowers of Gayfeather (Liatris spicata) bloom from summer to fall and may last throughout the summer. On the ends of pokers, the purple flower spikes resemble wispy feathers.
Some people think that the blossoms on a blazing star plant resemble bottle brushes. Growing gayfeather plants is explained in detail in this article. You’ll discover some attractive blazing star (Liatris spicata) cultivars to cultivate in your yard at the conclusion of the article.
How to Care for Gayfeather (Liatris spicata)
Plant the blazing star plant in the brightest section of your garden to look after gayfeather. In well-draining, fertile soil, plant the gayfeather bulbs. To keep the ground moist during dry spells, water is used. To prolong blooming, it’s best to deadhead spent flowers. There is no need to fertilize Gayfeather.
Gayfeather (Blazing Star) Facts
When planted in large groups, Liatris spicata (gayfeather or blazing star) flowers are especially stunning. Gayfeather plants thrive in meadows and plains in eastern North America. The plant is a lovely garden flower to grow in your yard since it has such ornamental value. USDA zones 3 through 9 are ideal for growing gayfeather outside. Despite its preference for moist soil, the plant thrives in arid places and is drought tolerant. In heat and humid environments, gayfeather thrives as well.
Other names for gayfeather include “blazing star,” “dense blazing star,” “button snakewort,” “spike gayfeather,” and “Kansas gayfeather.” It is sometimes referred to as Liatris by gardeners. The cultivar determines the length of gayfeather’s flowering stems.
Gayfeather plants, for instance, may reach a height of 1–2 feet (30–60 cm) if they have pink blooms. The white flowering spikes of the gayfeather ‘Alba’ grow to 3 feet (1 meter) tall. The rough blazing star, on the other hand, has bright pink blooms and towering flower spikes that grow up to 5 feet (1.5 meters) tall.
When they bloom from July until September, gayfeather flower spikes may be purple, pink, or white. Florets made up of wispy petals make up the poker-like flower heads. The vibrant purple, pink, or white blooms resemble blazing stars when viewed up close.
The blooming heads are 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 cm) long. Gayfeather blooms attract pollinators, which is a benefit when growing them in your garden. When the gayfeather plants are in bloom, butterflies, native bees, and hummingbirds come to visit them.
Freshly cut or dried floral arrangements featuring ornamental gayfeather flowers are stunning. In a vase of water, fresh cut gayfeather blooms can last up to two weeks. To make the flowers last even longer, you can dry them. To dry the flowers, hang them upside down in a dark, dry place for three weeks. It’s preferable to make sure that at least two-thirds of the flowering spike is in bloom before cutting flowers from gayfeather plants.
Gayfeather (Liatris spicata) Growing Guide
Let’s take a closer look at how to grow gayfeather-clumping perennial flowers in your sunny garden.
Where to Plant Gayfeather
Gayfeather bulbs (also known as corms) should be planted in a sunny spot in your garden. Good drainage is required for the planting site. Root rot can be caused by damp conditions in the winter. In mixed flower beds, flowering borders, cottage gardens, and informal flower gardens, you can plant gayfeather.
Other tall blooming plants, such as black-eyed Susan and echinacea, are great companion plants for gayfeather. Gayfeather thrives alongside aster family plants, including ornamental grasses, daylilies, and others.
Light Requirements for Growing Gayfeather Flowers
Gayfeather blooms flourish in full sun and can tolerate some partial shade. They grow best in full sun. Partial shade is ideal for gayfeather if your summer environment is hot and dry. From mid-summer to late fall, getting at least six to eight hours of sunlight every day encourages rich blooming.
In pots in your garden, you may cultivate spike gayfeather as long as they get enough sunlight. Perennial blooms are easy to care for and thrive in pots. For tiny, bright gardens to embellish a patio or deck area, growing gayfeather plants in pots is ideal.
The Best Soil for Growing Gayfeather
Gayfeather thrives on rich, well-drained soil. By working in plenty of aged compost and peat moss to supply nutrients and retain moisture, you can achieve the ground circumstances that you want. You may also enhance drainage by adding grit or perlite to the soil. Spike gayfeather is a versatile garden perennial that thrives in virtually any environment. The hardy plant thrives and blooms all summer even in poor, dry soil.
When the soil conditions are ideal, however, the plant grows fastest. The roots of growing gayfeather must be kept out of waterlogged soil to ensure that the plant receives enough care. Tuberous corms store moisture and Gayfeather plants emerge from them. Root decay will set in as a result of the overly soggy ground, killing the plant.
How to Water Gayfeather
Gayfeather clumping plants only need to be watered occasionally once they’ve been established. To avoid the ground from entirely drying out, it’s best to watered it as often as needed. While watering the plant normally, you should wait until the top 2″ (5 cm) of soil is dry. weekly during the summer months, give the spike gayfeather 1″ (2.5 cm) of water Leaf scorch and sluggish flower development are both prevented by regular irrigation.
It’s recommended to water the ground rather than splashing water on gayfeather foliage while watering. To avoid plant diseases like powdery mildew, the watering method helps. Gayfeather is a drought-tolerant perennial when it first becomes established. Despite its preference for moist soil, Liatris spicata will continue to flourish in arid conditions.
Top care tip for gayfeather plants: Wet, cold soil can cause Liatris spicata root rot, so wait until the weather gets warmer to water.
Temperature and Humidity for Growing Gayfeather
Gayfeather plants are cold-hardy perennials that thrive year after year. USDA zone 3 -40°F (-40°C) is the lowest temperature tolerated by Gayfeather tuberous roots. Gayfeather thrives in the heat and full sun during hot summers provided it gets enough water.
For gayfeather plants, humidity is seldom a problem. It’s critical, however, for the plant to have enough space to spread. The spread of Gayfeather is up to 15″ (38 cm). The plant is kept healthy and fungus problems on the leaves are avoided by ensuring good air circulation.
If the soil is healthy, Gayfeather blazing stars are not heavy feeders. As a result, the plant does not seem to need any fertilizer to thrive. Nonetheless, to encourage plenty of blooming throughout the season, apply a high phosphorus water-soluble fertilizer in spring.
Fertilize with a NPK number of 5-10-5 if you decide to apply it. You can also improve the soil’s nutrient content in the spring by working some compost into the ground.
After blooming, the conical flowers on gayfeather plants should be removed. Liatris plants benefit from being killed by theheading process. Gayfeather blooms may sometimes be retained until late autumn when this method of pruning is used. For pruning gayfeather plants, here are a few useful care tips:
- In order to stimulate blooming, snip off faded flowers in the summer.
- After blooming has finished, you may cut the entire stalk at the plant’s base.
- During the growing season, you can trim the plant to remove dead leaves.
- During the fall, don’t trim gayfeather stalks. This encourages new growth, which is prone to winter damage.
- Chop back the foliage and dead flower stalks of the gayfeather plant after it has returned to the ground. Leave a gap of around 4 inches (10 cm) above the ground.
- You can also trim the plant to the ground in early spring, leaving the flowering grass throughout winter.
The best ways to grow gayfeather plants are via root division and seedling. Liatris spicata corms are simple to split and then replant in loose, well-draining soil. In the autumn, you can also gather homosexualfeather seeds and place them in the earth after freezing.
It’s simple to divide the tuberous roots of gayfeather plants in the spring. First, you’ll need to carefully dig up the bulbs’ mass from the ground. Cut the roots into pieces or break off little corms with a sharp, sterile knife. A few leaves should be present on each corm.
Plant the bulbs 12 to 15 inches (30 to 38 cm) apart to grow new gayfeather plants. Bulbs should be placed 3 inches (7.5 cm) deep. Gayfeather may be grown from seed as well. The seeds, on the other hand, need to be exposed to cold and take a long time to grow.
Top care tip to propagate gayfeather plants: To avoid overcrowding, divide and replant gayfeather plants every few years.
Replanting Gayfeather in Your Garden
Work 2 inches (5 cm) of organic matter into the planting location to seed gayfeather in your yard. Amend the soil if drainage is poor. Make a 2×2 hole that is somewhat bigger than the rootball and twice as broad. Fertilize and water thoroughly after planting the corm.
Gayfeather bulbs should be spaced 12 to 15 inches (30 to 38 cm) apart when planted in your garden. Air circulation is freely allowed to flow through the grassy plants, and various leaf fungal diseases are prevented. Until they are established, Gayfeather plants need to be watered regularly. Gayfeather, on the other hand, is a fast-growing plant that blooms in the first season after being planted.
Managing Pests that Affect Gayfeather Growth
The majority of pests are resistant to the plants in the Liatris genus. Caterpillars, on the other hand, pose the greatest danger to gayfeather plants. The flowers and stems are eaten by larvae of the Liatris flower moth (Schinia sanguinea), rare glorious flower moth (Schinia gloriosa), and Liatris borer moth (Carmenta anthracipennis).
Hand picking caterpillars from gayfeather plants is the most effective method to eliminate them. Or, you can use a watering hose to wash away hungry, insect-eating caterpillars from the plants.
Diseases Affecting Gayfeather Growth
Powdery mildew, leaf spot, and root rot are common diseases that affect gayfeather plants. It is vital to ensure good air circulation and appropriate watering in order to avoid plant diseases. Tuberous corms decay due to excessively damp, waterlogged soil.
Fungal infections may eventually lead to the roots rotting in time. Try to prevent water from splashing onto the leaves while watering gayfeather plants. Fungal diseases may spread on the surface of leaves due to dampness. Powdery mildew or browner patches on the leaves (leaf patch) may be outcomes of this process.
Making sure there is adequate air circulation is another strategy to prevent fungal infection. Gayfeather plant bulbs should be placed at least 12 inches (30 cm) apart in arow. The plant spreads out over time as it develops. As a result, to limit the plant’s expansion, it must be split every few years.
Top care tip for gayfeather plants: Always wait until the ground’s surface is dry before watering if you have fungal concerns.
Types of Gayfeather (Liatris spicata)
Purple hues are the most common colors in Gayfeather flowers. Yet, many Liatris species and cultivars feature bright pink or white blooms. There are several Liatris species, including aspera, pycnostachya, cylindracea, and ligulistylis. Apart from Liatris spicata, there are others.
Gayfeather comes in a variety of sizes, as well. Some short gayfeather plants are suited for container growing, whereas other tall plants are suited for background flowers. Here are some gorgeous gayfeather plant varieties:
Gayfeather ‘Alba’ (Liatris spicata ‘Alba’)—In full sun, this white-flowered gayfeather plant grows to be 3 feet (1 metre) tall. Feathery white flower tufts give the gayfeather ‘Alba’ blossom spike a fuzzy appearance, giving it a feathery appearance.
Gayfeather ‘Kobold’ (Liatris spicata ‘Kobold’)—The flowering heads of this clump-forming perennial are fluffy, conical, and bright purple. The Gayfeather ‘Kobold’ is a tiny plant that thrives in pots or small gardens.
Gayfeather ‘Floristan Weiss’ (Liatris spicata ‘Floristan Weiss’)—The tall flowering white spikes of this decorative gayfeather plant. The beautiful, fluffy blooms bloom from top to bottom, and they grow in a slender conical form like all Liatris species.
Rough blazing star (Liatris aspera)—The Rough blazing star blooms are big pink tufts of feathery blooms that are among the tallest Liatris flowers. The towering flame pink flower spikes may reach 5 feet (1.5 meters) tall.
Dotted gayfeather (Liatris punctata)—This small gayfeather plant just grows to be 2 feet (0.6 meters) tall. Large tufts of wispy flowers make up the pink gayfeather flower heads. Rock gardens, perennial borders, and growing in pots are all good uses for the dotted gayfeather plant.
Prairie blazing star (Liatris pycnostachya)—Another tall perennial blooming plant is the prairie blazing star. The flower spikes of this Liatris species are pink or purple and consist of blossom that resemble blazing stars. The prairie blazing star can grow to be 2–5 feet (0.6–1.5 meters) tall.
Prairie blazing star (Liatris pycnostachya)