Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: 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

17 vendors have this plant for sale.

112 members have or want this plant for trade.

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18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 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)
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


Bloom Color:
White/Near White

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 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:

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

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There are a total of 55 photos.
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19 positives
3 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative ItsMe123 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 Toots1960 On May 21, 2012, Toots1960 from West Hamlin, WV (Zone 6a) wrote:

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

Neutral Bazuhi 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 mightymanfred 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 Clary 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 braun06 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 tommyr2006 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 mbhoakct76 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 buzzbuzz77 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 Marilynbeth 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 enya_34 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 Gabrielle 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 bigcityal 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 ADKSpirit 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 rweiler 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 julie88 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 seem to mind being moved. Liatris definitely adds character and interest to my flower beds.

Oh...and it grows well from seeds! I planted a handful of seeds using the 'Winter Sowing" method (seeds sown in containers and left to do their 'own thing' through the snowy and cold Wisconsin winter. They germinated well from collected seed and already have the beginnings of bulbous roots. I think I'll try a few of these new plants mixed in with my hostas in a shade bed. (Thanks for the info about them growing in the shade!)

Positive lmelling 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 PLANT_NUT 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 lady_fuchsia 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 KarinaAngelique 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 Ladyfern 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 lmsmith4 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 jody 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.


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
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
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
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

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