Floppy Prairie Blazing Star

bmj202

My blazing stars always seem to get so tall they flop over when they flower. I don't feed them or give them water. I just let them get what they need naturally. I prefer not to stake them. I was thinking about maybe pruning them back a bit half way through the growing season. Does anyone know if cutting them back a bit would prevent them from flowering?

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dbarron(z7_Arkansas)

In some species, I believe it would. Others may branch, like L. aspera.

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wisconsitom(Zone 4/5)

Worth a try.

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WoodsTea 6a MO(6a)

How much sunlight do they get? There's some discussion about Liatris and floppiness in the first half of this thread:

http://forums.gardenweb.com/discussions/2028606/liatris-yes-or-no?n=94

L, pycnostachya wants as much sun as possible. The more shade it gets, the faster (and thinner) it grows, and it bends around trying to reach sunlight. There's a big difference among the ones I have in my backyard (which came from the same nursery source). Some that are just a few feet from the others, but out of the midday shade of a big oak next door, are shorter and don't flop (though they lean a little).

I agree with Tom about giving it a try -- maybe prune one or two and leave the others as a control group. If there's much shade, though, I think a better solution would be to move (or propagate) them to a full sun location.

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bmj202

They receive full sun. Maybe leaning would be a better description than flopping. Last year I had some about 5 feet tall, and they were the ones having a problem staying upright. I think I'll give your advice a try, WoodsTea. I'll prune a few and leave a few alone to see which perform to my liking.

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WoodsTea 6a MO(6a)

The other thing besides sunlight when it comes to floppiness is competition. In a native prairie you have a much higher density of plants, perhaps a couple of hundred in a square meter. An individual Liatris plant is more limited in that situation and can't grow as fast.

http://www.prairiemoon.com/images/D/Liatris-pycnostachya-Prairie-Blazing-Star-field.jpg

In a garden each plant might have a square foot or more all to itself, and often in amended soil.

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