How To Grow Liatris Spicata The Feather Duster Of The Flower World!

Well aren’t these the prettiest Feather dusters you’ve ever seen?! I Love them! Liatris Spicata is a wonderful Perennial Flower, suitable for most planting schemes but particularly suited to cottage gardens, wildflower gardens and the back of Sunny borders. Here’s how I grow mine…

Liatris Spicata

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But First a Little History!

You know me, I love to research! I make it my business to learn as much as I can about everything I grow…there is no such thing as too much knowledge! AND These fabulous vibrant flowers have quite the history!

Native to Eastern North America and long before they were cultivated and sold worldwide, they were once just a wildflower! It was the Native Americans that first recognised not only their beauty but Liatris Spicata’s medicinal benefits too!

The Native Americans of the Great Plains, namely the Cheyenne tribes. Used the leaves and roots of Liatris Spicata for treating sore throats, backaches, headaches, kidney disease and limb pain. The plant contained anti-bacterial properties and proved very useful as a natural healing aid.

****I would not recommend Liatris Spicata for medicinal purposes today. There are studies that have shown the leaves contain coumarins, which have an anti-clotting effect on the blood and can prevent natural clotting after injury.

It wasnt until centuries later, towards the late 20th century, that Liatris Spicata began to gain popularity throughout Europe as an ornamental flower and not a medicine, first with the flower breeders and eventually with the gardeners. As you can imagine the public was sold! Whats not to love about these blazing pokers!

Other names

Theres quite a few! Liatris Spicata is also known as button snakewort, Kansas gay feather, gay feather, blazing star, dense blazing star, marsh blazing star and Bottle Brush

liatris Spicata Characteristics

Depending on the species, Liatris Spicata stems can reach heights of between 90-150cm with a spread of 30-50cm.

The stems are slender with grass like leaves surrounding the bottom portion of the plant. The top third of the stems are covered in small florets.

When in bloom the flowers are wispy and feathery and usually purple or white. Unlike most spike-type flower varieties, Liatris Spicata flowers open from the top down, not the bottom up.

Liatris Spicata

Planting Ideas For Liatris Spicata

  • Perfect for meadow gardens, wildflower gardens, cottage gardens and butterfly gardens or simply plant at the back of sunny flower borders
  • Perfect for container gardening ! Just make sure you have a pot large enough, Liatris Spicata have a spread of 30-50cm
  • Takes up very little space thanks to its vertical growing habit, perfect for tucking into bare patches
  • Plant in drifts for a sea of delightful feather dusters!

Does Liatris Spicata make a good cut flower?

Absolutely! Great as a filler for bouquets and has a wonderful vase life of 7-14 days!

Can You Dry Liatris Spicata Flowers?

Liatris Spicata is suitable for drying, but be sure to pick them when up to two-thirds of the spike’s flowers are open.

To dry simply tie a small bunch together with twine and hang them upside down in a dark dry environment for upto 2 weeks

How to grow Liatris Spicata

The easiest way is to plant Corms., try these….

Buy Liatris Spicata Corms

  • Soak your Liatris spicata corms in water for around 3-5 hours prior to planting. This helps hydrate the corms and gives them a bit of a boost.
  • Plant the corms into temporary pots, 5-10 cm deep, with the small flattened area facing upwards, in a good quality compost in spring. Then grow them on in a sheltered spot outdoors, this allows them to get started before they go in the ground
  • Plant out in a sunny spot, into borders or containers in late spring to early summer once a healthy mass of foliage has grown.

Liatris Spicata Corms
Dry Liatris Spicata Corms

Hydrated Liatris Spicata Corms

Liatris Spicata Shoots
Lots of healthy Shoots, ready to be planted out

Planted in final position

White Liatris Spicata

Should You Cut Back Liatris Spicata after blooming?

Once the flower is spent, dead head by cutting off the stalk just below the flower.

Should You cut back Liatris Spicata fully In Autumn?

Come Autumn you can cut back to the grassy basal leaves

Should You Divide Liatris Spicata?

Liatris Spicata like to multiply! After a time they will produce offset corms and large clumps will develop, making it all a little congested below soil level! To remedy this and to keep your Feather dusters looking fabulous…divide in spring

How Do You divide Liatris Spicata?

  • Dig up the root mass in spring once the shoots begin to appear
  • Using a pruning saw or shovel, split the mass in 2 or 3 depending on the size of your clump
  • Replant the clumps and water in

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