Liatris or blazing star care

(Question)

I have moved this summer into a new home in St. Catharines with fine gardens. I know nothing about gardens. In front is liatris or blazing star, and by the time I got the other gardens and lawns in order it was brown. The place had not been attended since late February.

The fuzzy bits on top are not only brown, but now looking as if they are drying up and off, despite watering.

Do I take the tops off for the winter and hope they will rebirth into pretty colours in the spring, or strip the stalks of the ugly brown tufts, or dig the whole thing up?

Help please. I have just taken a photo, but can’t attach as yet.

(Answer)

Welcome to the world of gardening! The liatris that you have is a lovely perennial that will come up from the ground every year and produce a new plant with new flowers. Your description of the plant is simply how it looks in the fall. To maintain perennials you generally just need to cut them down in the early spring or in the fall. The advantage to leaving it until the spring is that the birds will enjoy the seeds. You will find some information you might find useful in our Gardening Guides. A couple that I think you might find particularly useful are entitled Putting the Garden to Bed and Spring Clean-up.