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Video:Gayfeather Care Tips

with Yolanda Vanveen

Gayfeathers are a fascinating botanical wonder that will give your garden a unique look. See our tips on caring for gayfeathers to get beautiful blooms from season to season.See Transcript

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Transcript:Gayfeather Care Tips

Hi, this is Yolanda Vanveen for About.com Garden. In this segment we are going to learn all about growing gayfeather.

Gayfeather Characteristics

Now Gayfeather, also know as Liatris or Blazing Star, are basically a stick with a purple flowers. And they are a fascinating botanical wonder because they are one of the few flowers in the world that bloom from the top down. Most flowers bloom from the bottom up. But they actually bloom from the top down, l just love them. They are great as a dried flower and butterflies love them, they’re just gorgeous addiction to your garden.

Separating Gayfeather Bulbs

Now here is how you grow them. So you can see this is all done is the fall and I am going to pull back all of the dead growth and I want to dig up the bulbs and take a look at them. So gayfeather are just a clump of a bunch of little bulbs and when you’re separating them out, it’s easier to twist them apart than to actually try to cut them apart and their just a small little bulb and a small bulb like this will produce a beautiful bloom and you can already see the sprouts set for next year.

Starting Gayfeathers

Now Liatris are native to the Midwest, so they can handle really cold temperatures. So you can plant them anytime you get in the ground with the bulbs. Now if you have the seeds, it’s best to start those in the spring. I like to save the seeds every fall and put them in a paper bag and re-plant them in the spring again. This clump has really multiplied, I started with one two years ago and now I got probably ten bulbs out of the one. So you can separate them out. My rule of thumb is don’t separate the babies from the mamas until the babies are the same size as the mamas. So when you separate them out, if there is this tiny little bulb, leave with the mom. If it’s big enough to be on its own, separate it.

Planting Gayfeathers

When you plant it back in the ground, always plant them in a triangle. You want to do them six inches apart and three inches deep and separate them, so they have room to grow. I still like to leave the main mother plant too, it seems like they produce more flowers in the end.

Gayfeather in Different Seasons

As long as gayfeather has a full hot sunny spot, you want to re-create the Midwest. They like good drainage, lots of heat, really cold winters, they will do really well. If you live in a cold climate, you can leave them in the ground all year long. If you live in a really warm climate, you’ll have to dig them up and throw them in the refrigerator for two months to get them to bloom again next year, it’s as easy as that.

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