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Mr. Smarty Plants - Correct cultural conditions for liatris

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Tuesday - April 15, 2008

From: Tomball, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Watering, Shade Tolerant, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Correct cultural conditions for liatris
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I recently bought some gayfeather (liatris pycnostachya) and planted in my yard in a nice full sun spot. Gets sun for roughly 10 hours a day. However, it's also the single driest spot in my yard (just northwest of Houston, in Tomball, TX) and right off the bat it has been pretty wilty. Is this just because it is recently planted and it will need some watering to get through the first year and next year it will be better, or is this a sign of things to come? I've read that it -tolerates- drought, but it seems to prefer at least semi-moist soil, which will probably be a problem in this spot during the summer. The alternative spot to move it to shouldn't be a problem water-wise, but I'm afraid it won't get enough sun. This spot only gets about half a day's sun, maybe 6 hours. I remember reading somewhere that if they don't get proper sun, the stalk won't stay upright? Is 6 hours enough? Basically, is it going to be worse off with less sun or less water? Thanks, Bryan

ANSWER:

You've probably hit the nail on the head of your problem already. Ten hours a day in a dry spot is a bit much for Liatris pycnostachya (prairie blazing star). Generally, six or more hours of sun a day is considered "full sun." Liatris is classified as a moist prairie flower. Putting it in the driest, sunniest part of your yard was likely a strain for the plant, especially newly placed in your garden. If you don't want to transplant now, try giving it more water, and then plan to move it to your moister spot with less sun in the Fall.


Liatris pycnostachya

Liatris pycnostachya

Liatris pycnostachya

Liatris pycnostachya

 

 

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