Liatris aspera - ROUGH BLAZING STAR

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Butterfly and native insect magnet!

This long-flowering native perennial gets its name from the short, stiff hairs that cover the stems and narrow leaves, giving them a rough texture. The tall, upright stems have less foliage toward the top and are covered with pink or lavender/purple flowers from mid/late summer through the first half of fall. Each composite flower head is about 1" in diameter and is made up of dozens of tiny individual flowers with protruding stamens and styles that give a fluffy appearance. The flowers bloom from the top of the plant down (longer spires may require some support via other plants or staking). After the blooming period, the dry seeds are carried away by the wind by their small tuft of light brown hair.

Excellent in dry borders and informal, cottage, rock, prairie and meadow gardens. Liatris aspera attracts pollinators, butterflies, and hummingbirds, and provides a source of food for other small birds during the winter. It can be used as a cut flower and is also great in dried arrangements. It suffers virtually no problems with pests and diseases and tolerates poor soil, drought, as well as summer heat and humidity. Does not tolerate wet soils during the winter.

Other common names include Tall Blazing Star, (Rough) Gayfeather, Button Snakeroot or Button Blazing Star.

Blooming Time: August - September; blooms are possible a month before or after this period
Size: usually 3'- 4' tall tall x 1.5' wide
USDA Zones: 3 to 8
Culture: full sun up to partial shade, shallow to average soil, well-drained soils (sandy, rocky)
Moisture Needs: dry to average
Origin: native range stretches from the Central U.S. to the East Coast (not including the northern coastal states) and to Ontario (USDA distribution map); naturally occurs in dry prairies, glades, savannas, open woods, pastures, on ledges and the tops of bluffs, and along railroads and roadsides
Deer/Rabbit Resistant: yes / partially, young shoots may be browsed and will benefit from protection in areas that are densely populated by herbivores
Attracts Butterflies or Pollinators: yes / yes; honeybees, bumblebees, Little Carpenter bees, Miner bees, Leaf-Cutting bees, Monarchs, Painted Ladies, Black Swallowtails, Sulfurs, skippers, etc.
Attracts Hummingbirds: yes
Pot Size: square 3.5" x 4" deep perennial pot
Plant Combinations: goes well with many common, somewhat drought tolerant perennials and wildflowers like Calamintha, Coreopsis, Echinacea (all of them), Iris (bearded Irises), Monarda (most of them), Nepeta, Paeonia, Penstemon, Stokesia and many ornamental or native grasses
Picture copyright: USFWSmidwest, Commons Wikipedia

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  • 4

    Posted by Bill on 14th Aug 2022

    Shipping containers are great and plants look healthy. Planted and they are growing well and looking forward to blooms next year.

  • 5
    Monarchs love this!

    Posted by Eileen Bennett on 23rd Jul 2022

    I have a grouping of these planted in my very dry sandy soil, and this doesn't phase them a bit. They end up about 3-4 feet of lovely pink-purple blooms which start in mid-July and go through August, and are frequented by Monarchs and many other butterflies. The plants were shipped quickly, very carefully packed, and arrived healthy and robust. I am planting another grouping in the garden now and can't wait for the show!