Liatris punctata Rewards the Patient

The USDA Plants Profile describes Liatris punctata as a slow growing perennial with a conspicuous purple flower.

Conspicuous – I agree! There’s little wonder the common name Blazing Star was applied to Liatris punctata, although I’m not so sure how Dotted Gayfeather came about.

Close up Liatris punctataGiven the harsh locations in which I have seen this plant, its striking flowers are more than a gentle surprise. The database lists Liatris punctata’s precipitation requirements as 18-26 inches, but I have seen it thriving in the 10-14 precip zone. However, in the garden setting I probably irrigated closer to the 20 inch zone, and I was rewarded with very large, robust flower stems.

If you are willing to be patient and give this Wyoming native plant the conditions it needs, it will thrill you for years to come. This isn’t a plant for beginners. It is not fond of transplanting and it spends its first growing season developing a large tap root, which in later years, gives it an amazing amount of hardiness through heat and drought.

I have successfully grown this plant from wild seed in a less than wonderful, homemade green house. Getting it to germinate isn’t the problem. It must be transplanted before it gets too large and the first year can be an exercise in patience.

In a nutshell, it just sits there. It hardly grows. It looks like a clump of grass.Liatris punctata in natural habitat

But just wait, just wait. In two or three years you will have a very showy plant with magenta to purple spikes in late summer to fall with the other late summer yellows and golds.

It is a perfect complement.

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