Liatris spicata is an herbaceous perennial that is commonly referred to as Dense Blazing Star or Button Snakewort. Plants are native to the prairies, marsh regions, and meadows of North America.
Liatris spicata by Drew Avery.
The Liatris genus contains 37 members, other well known species include Liatris aspera (Rough blazing star) and Liatris pycnostachya (Prairie Blazing Star).
Bee visiting Dense Blazing Star blooms, photograph by yewchan; CC.
As a member of the 23,000 strong Asteraceae (Compositae) / Composita family it is closely related to species belonging to genera such as Ammobium, Crepis, Helichrysum, Tanacetum, and Ursinia.
Liatris spicata is a medium-tall plant, with showy spikes of purple flowers, that looks great as part of a border.
Dense Blazing Star by Patrick Standish.
It is often grown for its deer-resistant properties, and to attract butterflies and hummingbirds to the garden.
In addition to borders, it also looks great as part of a Prairie / Meadow wild-life landscape, and makes a great fresh or dried cut flower. Cultivars are available with pink and white flowers.
Blazing Star is a fairly tall plant, reaching about 36 to 48 inches (90–120 cm) in height. It has a spread of 10 to 20 inches (25–50 cm).
It is upright and clump-forming. One or more stalks may arise from the tufted base.
Smaller cultivars are available that reach heights of 18 to 24 inches (45–60 cm).
Leaves are linear and grass-like, and can reach lengths of 12 inches (30 cm) at the base, getting smaller further up the stalk. The leaves are green from spring to autumn.
Liatris spicata has long-lasting blooms from summer to the start of fall / autumn. Purple flowers appear on terminal spikes and open from the top downwards.
White Blazing Star plant cultivar 'Floristan Weiss' by Gail Frederick.
The flower-heads are tightly set, and have a tufted, feather-like appearance: this give the plant one of its common names – Prairie gay feather.
The following Liatris spicata Blazing Star Plant Genus video provides fantastic advice on growing and caring for these beautiful garden plants.
Close up of white Liatris spicata flowers, photograph by Manu; CC.
I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Liatris spicata plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing guides: How to grow Ageratum houstonianum and Gazania plants.