Liatris, also known as blazingstars or gayfeathers, are good garden perennials native to North America. They have linear leaves and very stout stems three to six feet tall, growing in clumps from thick rootstocks. The small fluffy florets are set along tall spikes, flowering from the top down, which is very unusual.
How to grow: Blazingstars need good, well-drained soil in full sun to succeed. Wet winter soil will usually kill the plants. The taller varieties sometimes require staking. They are especially valuable as cut flowers.
Propagation: By division of older plants in spring or from seed.
Uses: Use blazingstars in large clumps in beds and borders. They are popular and long-lasting cut flowers.
Related species: Liatris spicata, with purple or white flowers on spikes three to five feet tall, is the most popular type for gardens. L. pycnostachya, the cattail or Kansas gayfeather, grows up to five feet and bears spikes of purple flowers. L. scariosa, or the button snake-root, bears purple or white fluffy disk flowers on spikes from three to six feet tall.
Scientific name: Liatris species