About Prairie Blazing Star: This striking native wildflower is often cultivated for its amazing ability to attract butterflies and bees. Though the meaning of the Latin genus name Liatris is a mystery, the species name pycnostachya means “crowded” and refers to the close grouping of the leaves and flowers. The first record of this species can be found in the botanical notes of Andre Michaux, a French botanist who explored the American West about a decade before the famous Lewis and Clark expedition.
Prairie Blazing Star Germination: Direct sow seeds in late fall, pressing them into the surface of the soil. For spring planting, mix the seeds with moist sand and store in the refrigerator for 60 days before planting; keep the soil lightly moist until germination, which usually occurs within 3-4 weeks at temperatures of 65-70 degrees F. This seed can also be started indoors 6-8 weeks before planting in the spring.
Growing Prairie Blazing Star Seeds: Young plants will need to be watered as they develop; because of the development of their extensive root systems, blooming usually does not occur until the second year of growth. Mature plants tolerate drought well, though they also flourish in moist soil. After three or four years, the plants may need to be divided for the best growth. This should be done after blooming, when the plant has gone dormant. These plants attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.
Harvesting Prairie Blazing Star: These blooms make excellent cut flowers. Choose stalks with about one third of the flowers open, and place them in water immediately; strip the foliage that will fall below the surface of the water. For dried flowers, hang the spikes upside down in a dry, warm place for about three weeks.
Saving Prairie Blazing Star Seeds: When the flowers fade, they will eventually develop into a fluffy seed head. Since small birds love to eat the seed, harvest promptly to avoid loss. Cut the stems as soon as the fluff darkens slightly and can be removed. Spread the stalks out to dry away from direct sunlight. When they have completely dried, strip the fluff from the stems and clean it as well as possible. Store the seed in a cool, dry place.
Detailed Prairie Blazing Star Info: Origin: US Native Wildflower Other Common Names: Button Snakeroot, Thick-Spike Gayfeather, Blazing Star Duration: Perennial Bloom Time: Summer Height: 36-48 inches Spacing: 15-24 inches Light: Full Sun to Part Shade Soil Moisture: Wet to Medium USDA Zone: 3a-9b Seeds Per Oz: 10,900 Produces a plant with narrow, grass-like leaves and tall spikes of fluffy, rounded 1/2" flowers.