Gayfeather, Blazing Star, Button Snakeroot
Liatris spicata

Family: Asteraceae (ass-ter-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Liatris (ly-AT-riss) (Info)
Species: spicata (spi-KAH-tuh) (Info)
Synonym:Liatris callilepis
Synonym:Serratula spicata
Synonym:Liatris Kobold Blue
View this plant in a garden

Category:

Perennials

Height:

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

Spacing:

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

Hardiness:

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)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade

Danger:

N/A

Bloom Color:

Violet/Lavender

Purple

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Foliage:

Herbaceous

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 is resistant to deer

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Non-patented

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

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

Regional

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

, (3 reports)

Birmingham, Alabama

Dothan, Alabama

Guntersville, Alabama

Mobile, Alabama (2 reports)

Juneau, Alaska

Ketchikan, Alaska

Palmer, Alaska

Phoenix, Arizona

Malvern, Arkansas

Marion, Arkansas

El Sobrante, California

Fremont, California

Inyokern, California

Merced, California

Redwood City, California

San Marcos, California

Aurora, Colorado

Littleton, Colorado

Archer, Florida

Brandon, Florida

Cocoa, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Keystone Heights, Florida

Largo, Florida

Lawtey, Florida

Miami, Florida (2 reports)

Oldsmar, Florida

Panama City, Florida

Sorrento, Florida

Tallahassee, Florida

Trenton, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

Clarkesville, Georgia

Clarkston, Georgia

Cordele, Georgia

Decatur, Georgia

Roopville, Georgia

Rathdrum, Idaho

Aurora, Illinois

Cherry Valley, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois

Des Plaines, Illinois

Downers Grove, Illinois

Mackinaw, Illinois

Mount Prospect, Illinois

Plainfield, Illinois

Savoy, Illinois

Springfield, Illinois

Washington, Illinois

Waukegan, Illinois

Wilmington, Illinois

Anderson, Indiana

Danville, Indiana

Fishers, Indiana

Greenville, Indiana

Hobart, Indiana

Indianapolis, Indiana

Kokomo, Indiana

Nabb, Indiana

Nashville, Indiana

Tipton, Indiana

Cedar Falls, Iowa (2 reports)

Indianola, Iowa

Knoxville, Iowa

Pacific Junction, Iowa

Barbourville, Kentucky

Ewing, Kentucky

Hebron, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky

Mount Sterling, Kentucky

Taylorsville, Kentucky

Elm Grove, Louisiana

Kenner, Louisiana

North New Portland, Maine

Baltimore, Maryland

Crofton, Maryland

Edgewater, Maryland

Ijamsville, Maryland

Foxboro, Massachusetts

Halifax, Massachusetts

Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts (2 reports)

Wellfleet, Massachusetts

Woburn, Massachusetts

Dearborn Heights, Michigan

Greenville, Michigan

Lake Orion, Michigan

Niles, Michigan

Novi, Michigan

Saint Clair Shores, Michigan

Tecumseh, Michigan

Ely, Minnesota

Kasota, Minnesota

Moorhead, Minnesota

Saint Cloud, Minnesota

Saint Paul, Minnesota (2 reports)

Canton, Mississippi

Cleveland, Mississippi

Florence, Mississippi

Marietta, Mississippi

Mathiston, Mississippi

Piedmont, Missouri

Saint Louis, Missouri

Saint Robert, Missouri

Springfield, Missouri (2 reports)

Hudson, New Hampshire

Frenchtown, New Jersey

Jamesburg, New Jersey

Neptune, New Jersey

Piscataway, New Jersey

Scotch Plains, New Jersey

Trenton, New Jersey

Whitehouse Station, New Jersey

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Blossvale, New York

Buffalo, New York

Deposit, New York

Elba, New York

Ithaca, New York

Jefferson, New York

Lake Placid, New York

Poughkeepsie, New York

Taberg, New York

Utica, New York

Wallkill, New York

Westbury, New York

Charlotte, North Carolina

Concord, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina

Belfield, North Dakota

Cincinnati, Ohio (2 reports)

Cleveland, Ohio

Columbus, Ohio

Toledo, Ohio

Harrah, Oklahoma

Altamont, Oregon

Bend, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

Salem, Oregon

Springfield, Oregon

Wilsonville, Oregon

Allentown, Pennsylvania

Kintnersville, Pennsylvania

Lewisburg, Pennsylvania

Marshalls Creek, Pennsylvania

Mercer, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Quakertown, Pennsylvania

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Wyoming, Rhode Island

Conway, South Carolina

Winnsboro, South Carolina

Aberdeen, South Dakota

Rapid City, South Dakota

Johnson City, Tennessee

Lawrenceburg, Tennessee

Lebanon, Tennessee

Memphis, Tennessee

Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Nashville, Tennessee

Rockwood, Tennessee

Aransas Pass, Texas

Arlington, Texas

Austin, Texas (3 reports)

Dallas, Texas

Desoto, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas

Garland, Texas (2 reports)

Gilmer, Texas

Houston, Texas

Plano, Texas

Blacksburg, Virginia

Chantilly, Virginia

Clarksville, Virginia

Clifton, Virginia

Mc Lean, Virginia

Petersburg, Virginia

Arlington, Washington

Camas, Washington

Pasco, Washington

Port Angeles, Washington

Port Townsend, Washington

Puyallup, Washington

Seattle, Washington (2 reports)

Spokane, Washington

Stanwood, Washington

Vancouver, Washington

West Hamlin, West Virginia

Madison, Wisconsin

Menasha, Wisconsin

Muscoda, Wisconsin

Pardeeville, Wisconsin

Port Edwards, Wisconsin

Porterfield, Wisconsin

Sheboygan, Wisconsin

South Milwaukee, Wisconsin

West Bend, Wisconsin

Kinnear, Wyoming

Riverton, Wyoming

show all

Gardeners' Notes:

21
positives
3
neutrals
1
negative
RatingContent
Positive

On Apr 5, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This is a durable perennial, attractive during its brief summer flowering, and makes an excellent cut flower. It does look bedraggled after it flowers, as its foliage deteriorates. If this disturbs you, cut it to the ground.

In the wild, this species is a wet-soil plant. It adapts well to garden conditions, but it is less drought tolerant than the other species in this genus.

I prefer L. scariosa, because it blooms later and its foliage senescence is more in character with the season.

"Button snakeroot" is the common name for Eryngium yuccifolium. 'Kobold' is a dwarf cultivar of L. spicata and different from the species.

Positive

On Apr 5, 2015, reeve1 from Plano, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I planted some in semi-shade (lathe shade under a pergola), some on the east side of my house getting about 6 hours of direct morning to early afternoon sun and a 3rd group in direct sun (8 hours afternoon to evening sun. The middle group in the east morning to afternoon direct sun grew the largest and did the best. The first group in lathe shade were small and spindly and not as full while the last group in full sun were hard to keep looking nice and would get slightly burned. This is in Plano, TX, just north of Dallas. It appears that placement is particularly important to get the best results. This goes with Liatris spicata "alba" (the white variant) as well. I sometimes grow bulbs I'm not familiar with in a pot the first season so that I can move them around, if necessary, to find the... read more

Negative

On May 15, 2013, ItsMe123 from (Zone 6b) wrote:

After long-awaited, short period of bloom this plant goes into its ugly autumn look. The leaves turn black and dirty-looking. Especially ugly in the rainy weather. Never plant en masse.

Positive

On May 21, 2012, Toots1960 from West Hamlin, WV (Zone 6a) wrote:

These grow very pretty in my area. West Hamlin, West Virginia.

Neutral

On May 29, 2011, Bazuhi from Downers Grove, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

Mine were ordered back in 2002 from Van Dycks and they do not seem to get as big as all the photos and discriptions claim.. but maybe back when I ordered them they said part-shade to sun. Maybe they really do not do well in the part-shade since that is where mine have been growing since they have been planted. If I locate mine coming up this year maybe I will take a chance and dig them up before they get too big and move them to a sunnier location.. Or maybe I should just order new ones..what do you think... but so far not all that impressed... I do have a photo of what they looked like in 2008, I had both the purple and white....

Positive

On Oct 20, 2010, mightymanfred from Sorrento, FL wrote:

Two years ago I planted a couple of these in my garden. The next year I got nothing. This spring a strange plant sprouted up in a different area that I did not recognize, but I was loath to pull it up. I left it alone and it turned out to be the liatris. I guess it came up from seed. It is now at least 6 feet tall! I'm 5'7" and it is taller than I am. Are they supposed to grow this tall? It is in full bloom at the moment and very pretty. Should I expect more next year?

Positive

On Jul 30, 2010, Clary from Lewisburg, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

Small bulb clusters put down deep roots the same season and have since divided readily. I have 2 patches, one in damp shade and one in dry sun; both are growing well. This plant provides a nice structure and texture for the perennial garden.

Regarding the comment that the plant is ugly in autumn, the seed heads are popular with goldfinches and maintain their upright form even in winter. I happen to like the wild, overblown look of autumn flowers, they are natural and beautiful.

Positive

On May 20, 2009, braun06 from Peoria Heights, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

This is a very tough and easy to grow plant. It is a beautiful native. It does appear very suseptible to certain strains of verticillium wilt though. I planted 50 bulbs one year and they did great that year. The following spring they all grew and got to the point of flowering and half started curling back towards the ground. Nearly all of the original planting has died but seedlings have taken thier place in scattered areas.

Positive

On Jul 12, 2008, tommyr2006 from Poughkeepsie, NY (Zone 6a) wrote:

Liatris has become one of my favorites! Multiplies like crazy, not invasive though. I planted 3 plants 3 years ago and now have MANY more! I divides several last year to put elsewhere in the yard. Neat, clean habit. A MUST have IMHO! Bumble bees and butterflies LOVE it too!

Positive

On Mar 21, 2008, mbhoakct76 from Winsted, CT wrote:

The first couple years after plating this i had wished i planted them closer together because the flowers were so thin and shabby looking , it took a couple growing seasons for the plants to fill out - but they did and the flowers improved quite a bit to. I definately wasn't happy with them at first - but given time i would say its worth it. I am actually awaiting their return this year rather than dreading it !!

Positive

On Jun 25, 2007, buzzbuzz77 from Urbana, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

Liatris is the tank of the plant world -- it's almost indestructible! It produces beautiful purple flower spikes that attract all sorts of butterflies and birds year after year with little to no help from the gardener. It tolerates very dry conditions without supplemental water and grows large clumps that divide rather easily for propogation. It does self seed rather vigorously, but they are easily pulled up if unwanted. On the other hand, if you want more of this beautiful plant, the seedlings are easily transplanted - just stick them in some dirt and off they go!

Positive

On Nov 20, 2006, Marilynbeth from Hebron, KY wrote:

I've grown the White and the purple versions and love them all. The rabbits love them too. I had white Liatris plants in the backyard garden and they ate the stalks down to the grown every year and the plants quit coming up.

More importantly, the BF's love them and so do the Goldfinches! The Goldfinches love eating the seeds from them, so I leave the stems up so they can feed from them.

Beautiful flowers.

Positive

On May 5, 2006, enya_34 from Madison, WI wrote:

Does very well plated in the terrace between the road and the sidewalk, which has poor soil and gets pretty dry. Shades out weeds and is a great butterfly attractor!

Positive

On Jan 27, 2006, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

Liatris is a very pretty, easy to grow plant. Light aids germination of seeds. Blooms July-August in my garden.

Positive

On Dec 8, 2005, bigcityal from Menasha, WI (Zone 5a) wrote:

A nice accent plant, native type plant. Does need a little more water than prairie plants - not to live, but to look good.

Positive

On Aug 10, 2005, ADKSpirit from Lake Placid, NY (Zone 4a) wrote:

I have had very good success with this plant. Mine is only a little over a year old, and has tripled in size in that time. I have mine planted in a raised bed with my iris and a blue balloon flower, and the show was spectatular this year.

Positive

On Jun 14, 2005, rweiler from Albuquerque, NM wrote:

This needs moderate+ water in New Mexico , Zone 6a-8 otherwise it gets quite droopy, at least at 1-2 years old. I have just purchased Punctata from a reputable native plant nursury. It is supposedly much more suited and xeric for this climate. Don't get me wrong, with a bit of attention these are doing well in my garden in full sun (both bought in the gallon and by bulb).

Positive

On Apr 22, 2005, julie88 from Muscoda, WI (Zone 4b) wrote:

I received about a dozen liatris bulbs as a 'freebie' in one of my plant orders in the spring of 2004. I didn't hold much hope that they would survive, much less thrive in my sandy "soil"...but I planted them anyway. Much to my surprise not only did they survive, they *multiplied*!

Early this spring (2005) I had to move the bulbs. I thought for sure they'd croak. Once again, these little 'troopers' surprised me. They broke the surface of the ground in their new location within a couple of weeks! And it looks as though there will be many more than the original dozen.

This is one plant that will be in my garden for a very long time. It has a wonderful lavender-blue color, it has a neat and predictable habit, it's easy to grow (obviously!) and it doesn't s... read more

Positive

On Jan 14, 2005, lmelling from Ithaca, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:

I have grown liatris (both Kobold and Floristan white) over the last few years - both from bulb and by potted seedlings. We have a fairly wet yard, being on the side of a hill with many springs running through our property - it's not always easy to grow certain types of perennials here due to the moisture content of the soil.

In most cases the liatris - although it prefers a drier soil - will live over and do well here in my garden; just as long as I remember to plant them so that they are well drained and in a rich garden soil (rather than directly in the heavy clay soil that we're plagued with). In drier, sunnier years they do better, but last year - even though we had an overabundance of rain and cloudy days - did grow and bloom fairly well.

Positive

On Jul 4, 2004, PLANT_NUT from Charlotte, NC wrote:

Very low maintenance plant. Have had mine for three years in full sun and never had any volunteer seedlings. The same plants seem to just keep to themselves in tight little grassy clumps. Wonderful addition to any garden!

Positive

On Jun 11, 2004, lady_fuchsia from Clarkesville, GA (Zone 7a) wrote:

I have this plant in the colors mentioned as well as pink. This is the third year since I've planted it and I am starting to find little plants popping up all over the place. I love it. It adds nice color and texture to my garden.

Positive

On May 19, 2004, KarinaAngelique from Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I love this Liatris! They are spectacular... love the shape of the plant. Very easy to grow. They've been flowering nonstop since March (now it's May). I have them in pots & beds but it seems like they're happier in the sun rather than in shade.

Positive

On Aug 7, 2003, Ladyfern from Jeffersonville, IN (Zone 6a) wrote:

The flowers do not last long enough in my opinion, but I like their fuzzy spikes so much, I have lots of them. The birds like the seeds, so I leave the seedheads. If you want to let it self-sow, watch for grassy-looking seedlings in the spring. They'll bloom the second year. It is wonderful combined with black-eyed susans and daisies.

Neutral

On Jul 18, 2003, lmsmith4 from Niles, MI wrote:

Zone 5 - Excellent plant to add texture to garden. Tall, spiky, and hardy. Allowed to seed, spreads profusely-with little care. I find liatris in the most unexpected places and it is now growing well in both my sun and shade gardens.

Neutral

On Jan 12, 2001, jody from MD &, VA (Zone 7b) wrote:

There are 40 species in the genus Liatris. L. spicata is low growing and desirable for cut flowers and for attracting butterflies and/or bees. The flowers are fluffy spikes, like a feather duster, are purple/lilac or white and blossom in late summer from the top down. Grows to a height of 2' with corm like rootstocks and tufts of foliage.

Best cultivated in low humidity areas, do well under most conditions sun, shade, moist. Thrive on neglect, minimum care and attention. Hardy zones 3-10. Propoagate by seed or division of clumps.