Meadow Blazingstar for Monarch Butterflies
Liatris ligulistylis: Meadow blazing star, Rocky Mountain blazing star, Showy blazing-star, Round-headed blazingstar
- Perennial: USDA hardiness zones 3-8 (lows -40 °C or -40 °F)
- Check out meadow blazing star’s native region
- Full sun to part shade
- Average water needs; do not over water
- Height: 4 to 6 feet
- Spacing: 1 to 2 ft
- Flowers: purplish rose hue
- Blooms late summer
- Sow seeds directly outside in fall- November is a good option for most regions
- Start seeds indoors before final frost
- Sow seeds directly after final frost
- Divide large clumps in spring with a sharp knife or shovel
- Winter sowing is a good option for controlling plant placement
- Arguably the #1 favorite nectar plant for monarch butterflies
- Long lasting liatris – bursting blooms for up to 6 weeks
- Height makes it easy to view butterflies feeding
- Flowers are showier than other liatris species
- Compels monarchs to stay in your garden for hours: mating, frolicking, synchronized group flights…you really have to see it!
- Pest and disease resistant
- Doesn’t bloom until late summer, but worth the wait
- Tall stalks can require staking
- Spring planted seeds and small plants won’t flower first year
- Not commonly sold in nurseries. Don’t settle for other liatris species…the monarchs sure won’t!
Ligulistylis Growing Tips:
- Plant at least 10 together for max monarch attraction- we have about 50 plants now which don’t start blooming at exactly the same time. This gives us about a 6 week bloom period with our patch.
- You can also extend the liatris effect by adding Liatris aspera (rough or button blazing star). This is a shorter liatris variety that blooms a few weeks earlier. It’s also popular with monarchs, and is a good appeteaser to the meadow main event.
- Once your liatris ligulistylis eclipses 4 feet, use stakes and plant support clips to keep the stalks from flopping over, allowing you to better see the feeding frenzy.
- Meadow blazingstar can be planted/divided in spring or fall– we divided in fall with great results.
- Once established, you can add plants through division and seeding. The seedlings resemble grass, but they have a distinct line running through the middle of the ‘blade’.
- Cut- if the stalks start to lean after flowers bloom, you can cut back your plants to avoid staking…just cut below the lowest spent bloom
Besides monarchs, meadow blazing star is popular with bumble bees and an occasional hummingbird. Goldfinches love the seeds.
Please comment below if you’ve seen other butterflies sipping nectar from Liatris ligulistylis. This type of info is rarely listed so your input can help others make the best decisions for their precious garden space.
To say the effect of this plant is ‘magical’ is not an exaggeration. If you have monarchs in your area or just traveling through, this plant will make your garden a hotspot destination.
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Liatris ligulistylis in your butterfly garden: