9 Varieties of Blazing Star for Your Native Garden

Looking for a stunning, vertical addition to your native garden? Blazing Star adds color and personality to flower beds and attracts tons of wildlife. Join gardening expert Melissa Strauss as she shares her favorite varieties of this US native flower.

Numerous tall purple and white blazing star flowers stand tall, their delicate petals catching sunlight amidst lush green foliage. The vivid hues create a striking contrast against the backdrop of deep green trees.

Contents

Native gardening is a great way to maintain the ecosystem at home, supporting your native pollinators as well as other animals and insects. The first step in building a native garden, of course, is to discover what beautiful plants are native to your region and will thrive in your particular space.

If you are gardening in North America, there is a strong chance that there is a species of blazing star native to your region. Let’s check out these pretty purple spiked plants.

What are Blazing Star plants?

Vibrant purple flowers stand tall amidst lush green foliage, their slender petals reaching skyward. The background, a soft blur of assorted flowers, provides a complementary backdrop, accentuating the distinct beauty of the purple-flowers.
Liatris, known as blazing star, is a drought-tolerant native plant with tall flower spikes.

Blazing star, which goes by the botanical name Liatris, is a drought-tolerant plant with tall, eye-grabbing flower spikes. For adding a vertical element to the flower garden, there are few rivals for this pollinator magnet. This native plant has attractive foliage and supplies a great deal of color in the garden during its rather long bloom time

The fuzzy flower heads are most commonly a rosy purple color, although some types have fluffy white flowers, and are very popular with bees and butterflies for their abundance of nectar and closely clustered blooms. 

The fine, grass-like foliage makes this plant blend well with its neighboring plants, adding delicate, linear texture to your beds. Native plants are the most low-maintenance members of the garden, and this plant fits into that category with excellent drought tolerance and low nutrient needs. 

Benefits and Range

Purple blazing stars, their delicate petals catching sunlight, create a stunning display in a radiant garden. The feathery texture of the petals adds an ethereal quality, a captivating contrast against the blurred backdrop of slender, green leaves.
Liatris is a diverse genus with 32 species across North America.

There are blazing star varieties native to all parts of the United States and most of Canada and Mexico, as well. There are 32 species of  liatris, which provide food for a wide array of wildlife

Pollinators flock to this plant during its long blooming period. Deer, rabbits, and other mammals are attracted to liatris for its tasty stems, and rodents like to munch on the fleshy, underground corms. Monarch butterflies are especially attracted to this member of the Asteraceae family, and birds enjoy the dried seed heads if they are left on the plant after blooming. 

Blazing Star is very easy to care for and adds a lot of charm and personality to the garden. Drought tolerant and easygoing about soil type, this is a plant that you can enjoy without bending over backward to maintain. Let’s take a look at some of the more common species you can add to your native garden. 

Alba

Clusters of white Alba flowers, with delicate petals, bloom vibrantly. The soft white hue stands out against a blurred backdrop of lush green foliage, creating a serene and elegant contrast in the garden.
Creamy white flowers of Alba, a variety of L. spicata, thrive in moist meadows.
botanical-name botanical name Liatris spicata Alba
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 2’-4’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-8

‘Alba’ is a naturally occurring variety of L. spicata with creamy white flowers that are usually found growing in prairies and meadows where moisture is abundant in the soil. It takes its time to establish itself in the garden but is well worth the wait when those tall spires of fluffy white confection begin to bloom. 

This variety of blazing star typically grows between two and four feet tall, creating a very nice vertical element in flower beds. In the wild, this type grows up to six feet tall. Well-fertilized ‘Alba’ will be quite top-heavy while in bloom, so be prepared to stake your plants should they decide to lean. 

Floristan Violet

A close-up of Floristan Violet flowers, bathed in warm sunlight. A delicate brown butterfly gracefully clings to the blossoms, delicately sipping nectar from the sweet floral bounty. The background is a soft blur of additional flowers and leaves.
This boasts bright purple spikes attracting pollinators with its long blooming season.
botanical-name botanical name Liatris spicata ‘Floristan Violet’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 3’-4’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

‘Floristan Violet’ is another wonderful variety of blazing star. Bright purple flower spikes arise from a low mound of grassy foliage, enticing bees and butterflies to visit your garden. The long, strong stems make this variety an excellent choice for the cutting garden, and an abundance of nectar makes this a must for the native pollinator gardener. 

The fluffy flower heads bloom from top to bottom over four weeks atop three to four-foot stems. The grassy foliage changes to a golden bronze color in fall, adding beauty even as their season draws to a close. Seedheads left on the plant provide food for overwintering birds. This variety has very good heat tolerance.

Kobold

In a sunlit garden, Kobold flowers soak in warm rays, their purple blooms creating a stunning contrast against lush, blurred foliage. Below, the buds boast a deep, inviting hue, promising future bursts of radiant color.
A compact magenta variety with lasting blooms, ‘Kobold’ attracts native pollinators.
botanical-name botanical name Liatris spicata ‘Kobold’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 18”-30”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

‘Kobold’ is very similar to ‘Floristan Violet’, but the flowers have more of a magenta color and are slightly less purple. This is a compact variety with blooms that last for about three weeks and attract a host of native pollinators. It has similar bronze fall foliage. 

This slightly shorter variety makes a great cut flower and dries nicely, as well. Planting these in your native garden feeds the bees and birds and creates a meadow vibe. All liatris are a wonderful addition to the cottage garden as they create vertical lines among shrubbier flowering plants and herbs.

Rocky Mountain

A close-up unveils purple Rocky Mountain blazing star flowers, their delicate petals forming an exquisite dance against a blurred background. The feathery texture of the flowers adds a touch of elegance, creating a captivating visual symphony of nature's artistry.
This beautiful plant native to central North America is known for stunning rosy-purple spikes.
botanical-name botanical name Liatris ligulistylis
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 1’-3’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-8

Slightly less heat tolerant but no less beautiful, the Rocky Mountain Blazing Star variety is found in central North America, beginning in the Rocky Mountain range and continuing north into Canada. It is a very popular nectar source for the Monarch butterfly population and makes a stunning addition to the pollinator garden. 

The large rosy-purple flower spikes bloom from the top down over an extended six-week period. The foliage is fine and grass-like and changes to a deep bronze shade in fall. A lot of moisture during the blooming period can cause these flower spikes to flop over, so they may need staking if they bloom during an especially rainy season.

Texas

Texas Blazing Star flowers, with purple hues, stand tall against a softly blurred background. The manicured grass serves as a gentle backdrop, enhancing the striking elegance of these flowers.
A lavender-hued species, Texas blazing star tolerates high pH levels.
botanical-name botanical name Liatris punctata var. mucronata
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 1’-3’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 6-9

Texas Blazing Star is a pretty lavender-hued species that is less cold-tolerant and more drought-tolerant than most other species. The tall flower spikes are coated with fine grassy leaves, creating a lot of garden texture. This type prefers gravely soil that drains very well and is well suited to the rock garden. It tolerates soil that has a higher pH than other species

Overwatering this species could result in root rot, particularly in winter, while the plant is dormant and uses less water and nutrients. It requires very little care and is tolerant of hot, dry climates. It is also a great nectar source and provides food for migrating birds. 

Prairie

A close-up reveals the intricate beauty of Prairie blazing star flowers, showcasing their vibrant petals with a feathery texture. Beneath these striking blooms, deep green leaves provide a rich backdrop.
Tall prairie blazing star grows up to 5 feet, with rosy-purple blooms that attract pollinators.
botanical-name botanical name Liatris pycnostachya
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 2’-5’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

Prairie Blazing Star is native to the Central United States and is one of the tallest species of Liatris, growing up to five feet tall. The densely flowered, fuzzy flower spikes bloom in a lovely shade of rosy purple and provide nectar for butterflies and other pollinating insects. The foliage is fine and grassy, creating a nice textural contrast with the bold flower spikes. 

This species prefers moist soil and is tolerant of low nutrient content. Heavy soil types can contribute to root rot over the winter months while the plant is dormant. Prairie blazing star is both very cold and heat tolerant and doesn’t mind humid climates. 

Rough

A close-up short and purple Rough blazing star flowers bloom atop green stems. The blurred background beautifully showcases a sea of lush leaves, providing a harmonious backdrop for the vibrant floral display.
A late-blooming plant, rough blazing star is loved by beneficial insects.
botanical-name botanical name Liatris aspera
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 2’-3’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-8

Rough Blazing Star is a late bloomer predominantly found throughout the central United States and along the eastern coast. The rose pink, fuzzy flower heads bloom in succession over a three to four-week period in late summer. Long, lanceolate leaves are blue-green in spring and summer and turn bronze in fall. 

This species prefers average and moderately dry soil types. It is drought and heat-tolerant but won’t thrive with wet soil in cold seasons. Loved by beneficial insects and resistant to pests, this is an easy plant to care for. The flower spikes can be quite tall and may need staking in rainy weather. 

Dotted

Dotted flowers in close-up, displaying their purple hues in fine, feathery clusters. Each petal delicately unfolds, forming a mesmerizing pattern. In the background, blurred green leaves provide a serene contrast to the vivid blossoms.
This variety prefers well-drained soil for dense pink blooms.
botanical-name botanical name Liatris punctata
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 2’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9

Dotted Blazing Star is a smaller species with better cold tolerance than its Southern cousin from Texas. Not only is it drought tolerant, it truly prefers a drier climate. Too much water causes the stem to grow too long and flop over when the flower blooms. 

Those long stems make this a great cut flower. The flower heads are dense and rose pink, blooming from top to bottom. Plant the dotted variety in full sun and well-drained soil. Soil type is not especially pertinent, but drainage is of utmost importance as this plant is more sensitive to overwatering

Dwarf

A delicate butterfly, wings fully spread, rests on a slender branch adorned with purple flowers. Its elegant, creamy-white wings showcase intricate black patterns. A blurred background with lush greenery adds a serene touch
A compact, drought-tolerant plant, the dwarf blazing star boasts shorter foliage.
botanical-name botanical name Liatris microcephala
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 1’-2’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 6-9

Also known as Appalachian Blazing Star, this compact variety grows naturally in the Southeastern United States. Tufts of soft, grass-like foliage form low mounds with multiple flower spikes. It is drought tolerant and prefers poor soil types that are dry or well-draining. These do well in a rock garden

This variety is smaller than other types. The foliage remains close to one foot, and the flower spikes reach up to two feet tall. The flower heads are less dense, with small clusters of pinking-purple flowers interspersed at the top of each stem. The flowers bloom in August for about two to four weeks

Final Thoughts

Blazing Star is a great plant to add to the native garden. With very little attention, you can enjoy this plant as a stunning vertical element in the flower bed. Added to the prairie garden or wildflower bed, liatris is a hit with pollinators and other valuable members of the local ecosystem. Useful and low-maintenance, this flower is also nice to look at.

SHARE THIS POST
Close-up of blooming Iceland Poppies in a sunny garden. These perennial poppies showcase elegant, cup-shaped flowers with translucent petals that come in a range of colors, including yellow, orange, and red. The blossoms have a satiny texture, and they stand atop slender, wiry stems.

Flowers

How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Iceland Poppies

If you’re looking for a romantic addition to your garden that’s low-maintenance, has very little pest and disease pressure, and readily self-seeds, then look no further than Iceland poppies. Join organic farmer Jenna Rich as she discusses them in depth and tells us why we should all add them to our garden lineup.

A close-up of Purple Culver's Root. The vibrant purple blooms stand out, some still in the youthful green stage below. In the blurred background, lush greenery complements the blossoms, creating a visually captivating scene.

Flowers

How to Plant, Grow, and Care For Culver’s Root

Are you curious about growing Culver’s root? This native wildflower has grown in popularity in recent years, and for good reason. It is easy to grow, low maintenance, and virtually trouble-free. In this article, gardening enthusiast Liessa Bowen will discuss the proper care and maintenance of these beautiful and versatile native plants.

A solitary green oak tree stands tall and proud amidst a vast expanse of golden fields. The tree's verdant leaves contrast vividly with the sun-drenched hues of the surrounding landscape, creating a striking image of resilience and solitude.

Trees

21 Oak Tree Varieties for Your Landscape

Are you looking for the ideal oak for your landscape? Luckily, there are oak tree species that are well adapted to just about any growing conditions, so no matter where you live, there’s an oak tree for you! In this article, gardening enthusiast Liessa Bowen will introduce 25 beautiful oak trees to liven up your landscape.

Top view of a woman's palm full of seeds over large cell trays filled with soil mixture. Cell trays for starting seeds are rectangular plastic containers with multiple individual cells, each serving as a small compartment for germinating and growing individual seeds. On top of the cell tray is a small garden tool - a spatula.

Seeds

How to Sow Seeds in Cell Trays

Master Naturalist Sarah Jay is getting ready for seed-starting at her home in Texas. In this piece, she considers seed cells, their use, and the types out there on the market.