Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Nebraska Wildflowers Day 4 -- Liatris Ligulistylis

This is Nebraska wildflower week. Each day I'll feature a native wildflower that grows well for me in my fickle clay AND brings in butterflies. Hopefully, you'll find something you've never seen before.

To end the week, on Saturday, June 9 at 10am, I'll be giving a presentation on Nebraska wildflowers at Finke Gardens and Nursery. And don't forget, I do run a native prairie garden coaching business. Ahem.

Also, check out Bob Henrickson's (NE Statewide Arboretum) fantastic advice on planting a mini prairie in your landscape.


If you plant swamp milkweed anywhere near Liatris ligulistylis, I promise you all the BMWs and beach houses in the world that you'll have tons of monarchs. This liatris is by far their favorite nectar plant. I mean insanely so. One time I counted 14 butterflies on one stalk--but maybe that was just a good migration day. Since it blooms in August into September, the last brood of monarchs is emerging and flying through (peak migration south to Mexico is in mid September). Still, sometimes it blooms in early August, so to have it planted by milkweed means you should get a female to lay some eggs on that milkweed--this liatris is a siren song. And it comes up easily from seed.

Liatris grows 3-4' tall but only 1' wide. I have it in full and part sun, from dry to moist clay, and it seems to not prefer one over the other, though I'd avoid soggy soil. Charge the camera battery.

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