I planted blazing stars (liatris) in my perennial bed last year. I had never grown them before and wasn't sure what to expect. Last year they produced a few small blooms. This year they really put on a show.
I love the splash of purple in the flowerbed, but the real delight is that blazing stars are magnets for bees and butterflies.
This monarch has been hanging in the flowerbed fluttering from one blazing star to another.
Bees of all shapes and sizes have also taken up residence on my blazing stars.
If you are looking for perennials that attract bees and butterflies, blazing stars, also known as gayfeather, are a great choice. These perennial bulbs (corms) don't take a lot of care and can be planted in the spring. The first year's blooms aren't spectacular (although they are attractive) but you will be amazed by what they will do in coming years.
About Blazing Stars
Blazing stars prefer full sun and thrive in poor soil as long as it drains well. They are drought tolerant and deer resistant. Plant blazing stars in clusters of 5 or 7 to create a showy splash in your perennial bed.
Avoid planting blazing stars in areas where the soil remains wet in the winter as cold, soggy soil leads to rotting of the corms.
Do not overfeed blazing stars, or plant them in soil that is too rich. This will encourage lush foliage with fewer and less showy blooms.
Do blazing stars grow from bulbs?
Technically, blazing stars grow from corms, not bulbs, but many gardeners refer to them as bulbs. Corms are thicked roots that look a lot like a bulb. Corms lack the scaley or fleshy leaves or sections on the outside. The roots and stems grow from the bottom (and top) of the corm, whereas a bulb contains the stem and leaves inside the bulb.
When do you plant blazing stars?
Blazing stars can be planted in the spring while the weather is still cool. This gives them time to develop strong roots before they send up shoots.
If you have existing blazing stars in your garden and you want to move them, do so in late fall once the foliage has died back or in the early spring.
When do blazing stars bloom?
Newly planted blazing stars will bloom in 70 to 90 days. The first year's blooms may be small, but they will increase in size with the coming years. It typically takes 3 years for blazing stars to reach their full glory.
Established blazing stars bloom in midsummer.