How to Save Liatris Seeds – An Illustrated Guide with Pictures
August 22, 2019
Saving Liatris Seeds is one the cheapest way to increase the number and propagate more Liatris plants in your yard, flower beds, or garden. One of the most frugal gardening methods you can employ is to grow your own flowers from seed, as you just need a bit of patience. You can basically think of each free plant you grow as an additional $5-$15 that stays in your wallet, as it is just money you don’t need to spend at a nursery.
I’m a big advocate of the Do-It-Yourself methods when it comes to gardening, as then you don’t need to worry that the plants you just bought may have been treated with Neonicotinoid pesticides that will kill the very bees the flowers attract. (Side note, although many national stores have announced that they are phasing out the use of neonicotinoids, I am still wary of buying anything from a store unless I truly know they are pesticide free).
If you already have a Liatris plant, know where some grow wild, or have a friend/neighbor with plants then it is quite easy to save Liatris seeds. You just need to keep an eye on the plants and wait until they finish blooming to harvest them. In this illustrated guide on how to save Liatris seed I will show you the simple steps needed to identify the plant, save the seed, and store the seed.
Liatris Genus Information
Liatris is a genus of flower that contains over 50 species, and is a member of the Asteraceae Family. All of these are native to North America, and are very beneficial to pollinators and the environment. In this article I will focus on Liatris Spicata, as I have a large number of these growing in my front flower beds and backyard micro prairie. Liatris plants tend to bloom for a long time providing pink/purple color that is very attractive to bees and butterflies alike.
Information on Liatris Spicata
Liatris Spicata is a native perennial with fibrous roots that grows 3-4’ (1 – 1.3 m) tall and generally requires spacing of at least 18” (60 cm). They are very showy flowers that bloom a long time, typically 6 weeks to two months. They can be grown in manicured flower beds, wildflower gardens (or micro-prairies), and are hardy from USDA garden zones 3-8. In their native range they can be found in medium to wet prairies meadows. They are drought tolerant and generally grow quite vigorously, but are not aggressive/invasive in my experience in Pennsylvania.
Step 1 – Locate some Liatris plants
Locate some flowers! If you already have this plant growing in your garden, then ok you are done. But since this is a common landscaping plant that is growing in popularity, perhaps you know of a friend or neighbor who would let you collect some seed! Each stalk generally produces an abundance of seed, so there should be plenty to go around. I’ve even ‘borrowed’ seed from plants that were planted near commercial shopping centers, as they generally just compost all the stalks after they have bloomed.
Step 2 – Remove the stalks
You can remove the stalks with clippers after the flowers have wilted an turned brown. But, if timing is an issue, you can cut the stalk off when it is still green. But you will need to hang it upside down to finish drying in a cool, dry location. Basements or garages can work for drying out stalks (as long as the humidity is low).
Step 3 – Remove the seed
It is sooooo easy to get seed from Liatris! Just run your hand along the stalk. The seed (and some chaff) will fall right off. I do this over a plate or bucket lid, as then I can easily move the seed into what I will store it in.
Step 4 – Store the seed
Now you can store the seed in a container for at least 1 year. With each passing year the seeds will lose viability, so don’t plan on long term storage. But they can be stored in Tupperware, paper bags, or envelopes all make good choices. Make sure you label your container with the species and year of harvest.
That’s it! See how easy that was? Saving Liatris Seed is such an easy thing to do. Got any other tips? Tell us in the comments!
Video on how to save Blazing Star seeds – Check out this video that shows the process really well – hope you enjoy!
I hope you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out some of our other Native Plant profiles to learn about more species and tips. We tend to write more detailed, thorough articles than what you can find online. This grew out of my frustration with having to visit several different sites to get all the nitty-gritty details on a plant I was researching. Click below to go to our Native Plant Page