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Liatris spicata


Gay Feather

Long flowering

A striking perennial forming a clump of narrow, grass-like leaves. Strong straight stems grow to 60cm (2ft) or so in summer. These develop into bottle-brush spikes of vivid, purple-pink flowers which open from the top of the spike downwards through summer and into early autumn. A compact perennial that is easy to grow. A useful injection of vibrant colour in the summer border.


Plant in full sun in beds and borders. Good alongside water with moisture loving perennials as long as ground is not waterlogged.


Any reasonably fertile soil that is not too dry. Cut back in winter as foliage and flower stems die down. No support required. 

This plant is very unusual in that it flowers 'back to front'. The flower spikes open from the top downwards whereas most plants open their lower flowers first and work their way up the stem

Plant details

In depth plant information

Property Value
Plant type Perennial herbaceous
Flower colour
Foliage colour
Typically available May - September
Season of interest Summer
Flowering June - August
Evergreen No
Plant height 50 cm - 100 cm
Plant width 10 cm - 50 cm
Fragrant flowers No
Hazardous No
Attracts bees Yes
Attracts butterflies Yes
Plant height in 5 years 100 cm
Medicinal No
Hardiness zone (?) H4

Will perform best in these conditions

Property Value
Soil type Chalk, Clay, Sand, Loam
Light exposure Full sun
Soil drainage Well drained
Planting instructions

Water the plant in its pot thoroughly before planting – give it a good soaking. Prepare the area by digging a hole twice the size of the pot. Dig compost into the base of the hole. Remove the pot and position the plant in the hole, with the top of the rootball about level with the surrounding soil. Refill the planting hole with a mixture of garden soil and compost, firming as you go. Water in well and keep well watered during the plant's first year.

Planting site Wildlife garden, Cottage garden, Informal garden, Flower border and beds, City garden, Courtyard garden, Flower border and beds

Typically available

From May to September