What is this plant called?

Asked October 15, 2019, 11:39 PM EDT

I have a bunch of these plants lining my walkway. When fresh, the brown seed pods are pretty little purple flowers. I like that they attract butterflies. What is it called? And are those seeds in the brown pods plantable?

New Castle County Delaware

4 Responses

This is Liatris spicata (Blazing Star or Gayfeather). Seeds can be started inside in sterile potting mix. Press seeds into the soil surface and cover them lightly. Keep the seeds moist until germination and transplant outdoors after danger of frost has passed. To sow seeds outdoors after frost season has passed, prepare soil and spread flower seeds. Rake seeds into soil and cover no more than 1/16 of an inch with loose, fine soil. Keep seeds moist until germination.

Thank you so much for your follow up!! So the seeds can be sown? Great! These come up annually. They look like they have bulbs for roots. Do the seeds grow into bulb shape? And can existing Gayfeathers be dug up in the fall and transplanted in the spring? I'm looking to move them back from the edge of the walkway. Thank you again SO MUCH!

You can divide and replant them now as the corms need cold soil for about 10 weeks to ensure good blooms. Or you can lift, dry and store them with a little damp peat moss in a cold location for replanting in the spring. You could also divide them in the spring if necessary. Seeds propagated indoors will usually produce blooms the second year. Seeds planted outside now may germinate less, but those that do will likely bloom next year. Try both ways and see what happens. And, yes, plants grown from seed will begin to develop corms by the end of their first growing season. For best corm development let the plants senesce completely before cutting them down for the season.

Thank you so very much!