Liatris aspera – Rough Blazing Star
Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerant of poor soils, drought, summer heat and humidity. Intolerant of wet soils in winter.
Liatris aspera, commonly called rough blazing star, is an upright, clump-forming, Missouri native perennial which typically grows 2-3′ tall (less frequently to 5′) and which commonly occurs in dryish soils on prairies, open woods, glades, meadows and along roads and railroad tracks. Features rounded, fluffy, deep rose-purple flower heads (each 3/4″ across) which are crowded into long, terminal flower spikes atop erect, rigid, leafy flower stalks. Stalks arise from basal tufts of rough, very narrow, lance-shaped leaves (to 12″ long). Flowers open somewhat at the same time, which makes this species a particularly good fresh cut flower for floral arrangements. Blooms later (late summer to fall) than most other Liatris species. Liatris belongs to the aster family, with each flower head having only fluffy disk flowers (resembling “blazing stars”) and no rays. This species is distinguished from other Liatris species by its rough appearance and rounded, outflaring involucral bracts.
Genus name of unknown origin.
Specific epithet means rough.
No serious insect or disease problems. Taller spires may need staking.
Perennial borders, cutting gardens, native plant gardens or naturalized areas.
Liatris squarrosa –Scaly Blazingstar
Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Somewhat tolerant of poor soils, but prefers moist, fertile ones and generally performs better in moist soils than most other species of Liatris. Intolerant of wet soils in winter. Tolerant of summer heat and humidity. May be grown from seed, but is slow to establish.
Liatris spicata, commonly called blazing star, dense blazing star or marsh blazing star, is a tall, upright, clump-forming perennial which is native to moist low grounds, meadows and marsh margins. It typically grows 2-4′ tall in cultivation, but can reach a height of 6′ in some parts of its native habitat. Features terminal spikes (6-12″ long) of sessile, rounded, fluffy, deep purple flower heads (each to 3/4″ across) appearing atop rigid, erect, leafy flower stalks. One or more stalks arise from a basal tuft of narrow, grass-like, medium green leaves (to 12″ long). Stem leaves gradually decrease in size toward the top. Blooms in summer. Liatris belongs to the aster family, with each flower head having only fluffy disk flowers (resembling “blazing stars”) and no ray flowers. The feathery flower heads of liatris give rise to another common name of gayfeather.
Solidago sphacelata – ‘Golden Fleece’ Dwarf Goldenrod
Another fantastic Mt. Cuba introduction. A stunning show of sprays of golden yellow flowers from mid-August through September. Semievergreen heart-shaped leaves. Truly an excellent groundcover and bee and butterfly charmer! Hairstreaks, sulphurs and skippers are particularly attracted to goldenrod. Monarchs visit it during their autumn migration.
Goldenrod Interesting Notes
Golden Fleece autumn goldenrod was discovered in 1985 as a spontaneous garden seedling in Eden, North Carolina. It was evaluated under diverse conditions at Mt. Cuba Center and determined to be a low-growing, compact form of the species suitable for use as an herbaceous perennial groundcover only reaching 18” tall. Multi-branched stems arise from basal rosettes of broadly rounded foliage and are covered with a profusion of golden-yellow floral spires from mid-September to October. It performs best in full sun with average moisture but is tolerant of a range of conditions from sunny and dry to partial shade. 'Golden Fleece' is hardy in zones 3-8. It won the Internationale Stauden-Union’s Award for an outstanding new plant in Switzerland in 1994. – Mt. Cuba Center
In many of the gardens I design, I use goldenrod to give late summer and fall gardens just the right autumnal color. Luckily for urban dwellers with limited gardening space, goldenrod also can be grown quite successfully in a container. Beautiful in the garden, goldenrod does double-duty as a long-lived cut flower. In Europe, where goldenrod has long been shown the appreciation it deserves, it is sold by the bunch, and gardening catalogs offer more cultivars than are available in the States.
Solidago sphacelata 'Golden Fleece' Growing and Maintenance Tips
Native to calcarous woodlands and rocky pastures from Virginia to Illinois south to Kentucky and Georgia. Prefers somewhat fertile, sandy, well-drained soils in full sun. Propagate by seed or division every 3-4 years. Cut back to encourage rebloom. Used in butterfly and wild gardens or as a groundcover or border perennial.