How To Grow Liatris

Last year when I first started my project of transforming our yard with garden beds, I was really interested in growing perennials of all types.  To gets started with some perennial bulbs, I purchase some Liatris corms.  I did not know much about them but I love spiky flowers and though they would look nice in my front cottage garden bed.

How to grow Liatris "Blazing Star". This bloom is amazing when it is full grown. I had some 4 feet tall!

LIatris is often called a bulb but is actually a corm. See my article to help understand the differences between bulbs, corms, rhizomes and tubers.

Easy To Grow Liatris – Blazing Star

They have not disappointed me. I got a few flowers from them last year, but this year they have multiplied and are just lovely. Some clumps have 6 or 7 large stalks and the flowers are very long lasting.

Liatria clumpI have several of these clumps. Last year, each had just one spike!  This year they started out like this:

Liatris will multiply year after year.

Liatris could not be easier to grow.  I planted mine, amended the soil with compost and watered evenly last year. This year, I have pretty much neglected it, other than adding a bit more compost and dead heading the spent flower spikes.

Liatris flower spike.The bees just LOVE these flower spikes.  Liatris is commonly known as a Blazing Star.  One can easily see why from the flowers.  It is also called a gayfeather.

How to grow Liatris:

  • Zones: Perennial in zone 3-9.
  • Size:  Size depends on the variety from 1-6 feet. Mine grew to about 3o inches last year and are closer to 4 feet tall this year.
  • Sunlight: Liatris loves full sun.  Mine get 8-10 hours a day.  This perennial is a tough summer bloomer that does not mind the heat and lack of water.
  • Flowering Season:  Bloom time is mid summer right through the fall.   Even the spent flower spikes are interesting.
  • Corms:  Liatris are grown from corms – swollen dormant parts of the stem.  They send up long shoots first which have a flower spike which just seems to keep growing and growing.  Choose large corms and you will get better flowers.
  • Soil conditions:  They will grown in pretty much any but mine have done well in well draining soil amended with organic matter.
  • Soil PH:  They like it slightly acid.  My pine tree seems to help this!
  • Watering:  Thankfully, liatris are quite drought tolerant.  Water evenly the year you plant them and then forget them!
  • Propagation:  Split the corms in the far. Dig them up after the first freeze and pink off any small corms that are clinging to the mother corm.  Store them in a cool area and replant in spring.
  • Planting:  Space corms 4-6″ apart and clumps 14-16″ apart (or even more. They get to be quite large clumps.)

Close up of a liatris flower spike:

close up of a liatris flower spike

You can easily see why the bees love these flowers!

Follow the few tips above, and your liatris will give you years of pleasure. They can be grown with any planting companions, and liatris is always a standout—truly a blazing star in any mid-summer garden.

Have you grown liatris?  What do you think of it?

  9 comments for “How To Grow Liatris

  1. ebby
    09/07/2013 at 12:13 am

    Thank U personal experience is always gud .

  2. Jen
    04/12/2014 at 6:54 pm

    I bought a bag full of corms a few years ago and planted them all over my property.
    I was sad to discover that they need full sun. Some of the locations I wanted them are somewhat shady, so they either don’t grow at all or just barely poke up and never bloom.

    A couple of locations get more sun and have bloomed.

    Thanks for your growing instructions and all the nice photos.

    • admin
      04/15/2014 at 9:17 am

      My pleasure Jen. Mine get full sun for most of the day. Carol

  3. 04/13/2014 at 5:39 pm

    I had my first experience with this plant when someone gave me some & I wish I had dug them up & brought them with me when I moved. They were over 6 ft tall & had the thickest stalks…not to mention that they were growing in mostly shade! I ended up buying more since, & those have done very well in full sun & they reseed like crazy, but they don’t produce the same quality of plants like the first ones I had, but they still get everyone’s attention.

    • admin
      04/15/2014 at 9:17 am

      It’s amazing how thick the stem gets on them when they like their conditions isn’t it? Carol

    • Dorota
      04/14/2017 at 12:45 pm

      It is actually illegal to take your plants from the garden after you have sold your house unless you state in your agreement that you will do it. The people who owned our house before us took a whole truck of plants with them. It made us very mad, especially that all they needed to do is ask. We ended with a 25×30 bald patch with nothing growing on it.

      • Carol
        04/14/2017 at 2:56 pm

        I had the same thing happen in my yard. The whole back yard had all the azalea bushes removed.

  4. Lisa
    10/22/2017 at 1:17 pm

    So basically you don’t have to dig up the Blazing Star in the fall unless you want to divide them? They are “winter sturdy”?

    • Carol
      10/22/2017 at 6:03 pm

      Hi Lisa. Yes that is correct. Blazing star is cold hardy in zone 3 to 9. Carol

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