LIATRIS Gayfeather

In late summer or early autumn the erect spikes appear, densely clothed with small fluffy flowers coloured pink or pale purple Look at the spike closely to spot the unusual feature – the blooms open from the top downwards The foliage is grass-like and the plants will live for many years provided the soil is not waterlogged in winter. Add peat or well-rotted compost before planting and mulch in the spring. Water when the weather is dry and remove the spikes when the flowers have faded. Mark the position of the plant with a small stick as all traces of the clump will disappear in winter and new growtn can be damaged when hoeing in spring before the new leaves appear

VARIETIES: L. spicata is the species you are most likely to find – height 1.5 ft. Spacing 1.5 ft.

Flowering period: August-September. The popular variety is ‘Kobold’ (mauve; broader spikes than the species) ‘Silver Tips’ (3 ft) is taller and the flowers are lavender L. callilepis is also a tall-growing plant, producing 2-3 ft spikes of carmine flowers

SITE AND SOIL: L. spicata nourishes in moist soil but good drainage in winter is essential – thrives in sun or light shade.

PROPAGATION: Divide clumps in autumn or spring

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