Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Prairie Blazing Star, Tall Blazing Star, Kansas Gayfeather, Cattail Gayfeather
Liatris pycnostachya

Family: Asteraceae (ass-ter-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Liatris (ly-AT-riss) (Info)
Species: pycnostachya (pik-no-STAK-ee-uh) (Info)

Synonym:Liatris pycnostachya var. pycnostachya

7 vendors have this plant for sale.

21 members have or want this plant for trade.


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

15-18 in. (38-45 cm)

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season
This plant may be considered a protected species; check before digging or gathering seeds

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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3 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Chillybean On Jul 16, 2014, Chillybean from Near Central, IA (Zone 5a) wrote:

If I had to pick a favourite colour, purple is it! And this flower has such a beautiful colour. We bought two cultivars from the nursery two years ago and they are still coming up. An interesting thing is sometimes their first flowering is white, but then is purple every year after.

The area is shaded part of the day and once or twice a year gets flooded from the run-off of the surrounding industrial fields. Oh, I cringe when that happens with all the chemicals they place on those things... I hardly remember to water the plants, so they usually just get what the Creator provides. But so far, our Blazing Star is doing well.

One bad thing about this is if you have it surrounded by lawn and you are yanking up those grasses, the early leaves resemble what you are trying to get rid of. I nearly did one in this spring. They have a different texture and a white stripe along the center of the leaves. I've been very careful of that since then.

I planted four open pollinated Blazing Stars to fill in the area and believe they will do fine.

Positive KSBaptisia On May 3, 2008, KSBaptisia from Beatrice, NE (Zone 5b) wrote:

It is a beautiful plant, but needs competition./ support or it is likely to flop.

Neutral JodyC On Jan 17, 2005, JodyC from Palmyra, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

The flowers are pollinated primarily by long-tongued bees, butterflies, and skippers. Other visitors include Halictine bees, bee flies, and day-flying moths. Among the long-tongued bees, are such visitors as honeybees, bumblebees, Little Carpenter bees, Miner bees, and large Leaf-Cutting bees. Butterfly visitors include Monarchs, Swallowtails, Painted Ladies, Sulfurs, Whites, and others. The caterpillars of the rare Schinia gloriosa (Glorious Flower Moth) feed on the flowers and seed capsules. Various mammalian herbivores readily consume Prairie Blazingstar. Younger plants may be eaten by rabbits and groundhogs, while mature plants are likely targets of deer or livestock. Small rodents, such as the Prairie Vole and Meadow Vole, sometimes eat the corms. An overpopulation of these animals can make establishment of this plant difficult in some areas.

This is a beautiful plant that resembles a fairy wand. Prairie Blazingstar can be readily distinguished from most other blazingstars by the sharply recurved bracts subtending the flowerheads. Other species usually have smooth, straight bracts that vary in their shape or hairiness. The size and showiness of the flowers can depend on the local ecotype. There are some wild populations of plants with white flowers, although they are rare. This plant blooms after Liatris cylindrica (Cylindrical Blazingstar), but before Liatris aspera (Rough Blazingstar).

Positive wildkiwi97 On Jan 13, 2005, wildkiwi97 from Eddyville, KY wrote:

I planted bulbs last spring and didn't expect much the first year, but all of them came up and bloomed beautifully! They didn't need any special attention, just your regular care and maintenance.

Neutral lightningbug On May 16, 2004, lightningbug from Buffalo, MN wrote:

I relocated from the deep south zone 8 to far north zone 3-4. bought a home in Rockford, MN and started with a few perinneals 2 yrs ago and this year am adding liatris. I hope it works, the garden tag said zone 3, please tell me I'm right. I will keep all posted on my success or failure regarding this plant. Wish me luck!!!!.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Morrilton, Arkansas
Aurora, Illinois
Chadwick, Illinois
Springfield, Illinois
Yale, Iowa
Calvert City, Kentucky
Eddyville, Kentucky
Saint Cloud, Minnesota
Beatrice, Nebraska
Hudson, New Hampshire
Jersey City, New Jersey
Buffalo, New York
Croton On Hudson, New York
Ithaca, New York
Watertown, New York
Greensboro, North Carolina
Viola, Tennessee
Austin, Texas
Bulverde, Texas
Irving, Texas
Cascade, Virginia
Palmyra, Virginia
Puyallup, Washington
Seattle, Washington
Appleton, Wisconsin
Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Muscoda, Wisconsin
Westfield, Wisconsin

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