Plant Now for Your Late Summer- Blooming Perennial Garden
Liatris spicata ‘Kobold’, also known as Kobold Blazing Star or gayflower, is a fine choice to brighten up sunny, summer perennial borders. It is a prairie flower which can bring some seasonal drama to meadow gardens. Liatris also brings vertical, architectural interest with its bold, fuchsia-colored flower spikes. It combines well with other summer-blooming perennials with complementary flower shapes, such as Echinacea purpurea and Asclepias tuberosa (Milkweed), as shown in the picture above.
The species Liatris spicata from which the ‘Kobold’ cultivar is developed is much bigger, with flower stalks reaching up to 4 feet tall. Their foliage is feather-like and fine textured, contributing to the interest of the plant.
Liatris is grown from corms, which are underground storage organs with swollen stems. Other examples of corms are Gladiolus and Crocus. Liatris’ leaves appear in the spring, and the inflorescent stalks shoot up in summer. The flowers consist of dense tufts of many flowers clustered together, without the larger ray petals that make up many other flowers (such as the outer petals of Echinacea).
The flowers of Liatris are determinate, which means that they grow to their full height and flower sequentially starting at the top and moving down the stalk, with a determined number of flowers that will eventually open. Contrast this with a foxglove or Delphinium, which is indeterminate – it flowers from the bottom of the flower stalk upwards, until it reaches the top where new flowers continue to form as long as the stalk can support the weight!
Liatris spicata ‘Kobold’ is a compact cultivar with flower spikes reaching up to 3′ tall. Its smaller size makes it perfect for lining pathways and borders, as well as creating drama in patio planters! Liatris also attracts butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds, so be sure to consider it for your wildlife and pollinator gardens. Also add gayflower to your cutting garden, as it makes great arrangements, whether fresh or dried. ‘Kobold’ can take some summer heat, so plant it in a sunny spot to ensure a profusion of blooms from July through to September. USDA Zones: 3-8.
Planting and Care for Liatris Species
- Plant in full sun to part shade for best results.
- Plant in soil with good drainage.
- Water regularly.
- Mix in compost to enrich the soil.
- Mulch around around plants to conserve water and suppress weeds.
- Fertilize when planting with a slow release fertilizer such as Osmocote. In general, they do not need much feeding.