Liatris punctata

 
Latin Name: Liatris punctata
Common Name: Gayfeather, Dotted Blazing Star
Mature Height (ft): 18"
Mature Width: 12-18"

Mature Shape

Upright.
Mulch: Inorganic or organic.

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Remarks

Gayfeather is one of the High Plains jewels of autumn, sending up grasslike leaves or stalks that bloom gloriously in September and October to fuzzy purple spikes. At maturity, one plant can grow a dozen or more, size and number depending on rainfall amounts. Drier years, the stalks are few and short, but with monthly or twice a month watering, the plant displays much more vitality. The purple flowers contrast nicely with the many yellow flowers that bloom on the plains. Liatris punctata is the most drought tolerant of the genus. After blooming, a white fluffy spike remains for the winter garden.

Use in Garden

Gayfeather brings a splendid seasonal pop of color in the fall garden after many of the plants are on their last hurrah. It pairs well with Engelman's daisy and prairie zinnia which continue to bloom, and the fall blooming broom snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae). Suitable for native and xeric gardens, xeristrips and cactus gardens in well drained soil. A must for shortgrass prairie reconstructions or plains gardens. Gayfeather makes an excellent cut flower when cut early, dries well.

Maintenance

Gayfeather takes a year or two to mature. Mark it well when it is planted so as not to mistake the grasslike leaves that emerge in late spring for something else, removing it by mistake.