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How to plant Liatris spicata

Updated August 01, 2018

Liatris spicata -- also known as Button snakewort -- is a herbaceous perennial shrub with dramatically long, dense, purple blooms atop tall slim green stems. A wild flower in many regions it is also grown as a cut flower in the floral industry. Liatris thrives in full sun conditions and can grow to 1.2 metres (48 inches) in height. It is extremely low-maintenance, hardy in the UK's climate and blooms in midsummer until early autumn. Liatris bulbs should be planted in the autumn, well before any threat of frost, or as a plant in the spring after the last frost. Whether planted in the garden as a specimen plant, en masse as foundation plantings or in a cutting garden, Liatris spicata is a consistent and colourful performer.

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Select a planting location or place your container in a full sun or partial shade exposure. Liatris tends to bloom more profusely the more sun it gets.

Turn over the garden soil to loosen and encourage new root penetration. Prepare a planting hole for a bulb that is 12.5 cm (5 inches) wide and 15 cm (6 inches) deep. Dig a hole for the plant that is twice the diameter of the current container and at least as deep. Liatris thrives in a range of soils from slightly acidic to slightly alkaline, so soil amendments are rarely needed.

Place the bulb in the bottom of the hole with the flat root plate facing down into the soil and the eyes, or crown, facing upwards. If you're placing a plant, place it into the hole and maintain the existing soil level on the main stem of the plant. Back fill the holes with soil and press down with your palm to collapse any air pockets and ensure good soil-to-root contact.

Fertilise twice a year with a good quality, water-soluble fertiliser around the circumference of the root ball in spring and again in summer.

Prune with clean sharp secateurs to harvest cut flowers, remove dead or damaged stems as needed to control the shape and size of the plant. Pruning for bloom is not required.

Tip

Liatris attracts bees and butterflies.

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Things You'll Need

  • Hand trowel
  • Fertiliser
  • Secateurs or pruning shears

About the Author

A graduate of Leeds University, Jenny Green completed Master of Arts in English literature in 1998 and has been writing about travel, gardening, science and pets since 2007. Green's work appears in Diva, Whole Life Times, Listverse, Earthtimes, Lamplight, Stupefying Stories and other websites and magazines.

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