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