How to Grow Liatris Spicata 'Kobold'

Attract pollinators to your garden with this native perennial

Bright purple, feathery-looking flower spikes of the Liatris spicata 'Kobold' are shown with other wildflowers in a garden.

 magicflute002 / Getty Images

Looking to add some dramatic color to your garden this year? Look no further than Liatris spicata ‘Kobold’ - a gorgeous perennial that is characterized by large, feathery-looking, bright purple flower plumes. Native to the prairies of North America, Liatris spicata and all of its varieties are popular as garden flowers, cut flowers, and in dried arrangements.

There are several varieties of Liatris spicata. ‘Kobold’ is a compact variety, which has made it one of the most popular choices. Each flower stalk grows up to 36 inches tall, adding vertical interest to any flower bed. Due to its small size, Kobold requires less staking as its compact stems can properly handle the weight of their large flowers.

Liatris spicata 'Kobold' is an easy to grow, low-maintenance, plant that readily attracts pollinators. Learn how to grow Liatris spicata ‘Kobold’ in your garden this year.

Botanical Name Liatris spicata 'Kobold'
Common Name Dense blazing star, blazing star, gayfeather
Plant Type Perennial
Mature Size 18-36 inches tall
Sun Exposure Full sun
Soil Type Well-draining
Soil pH 5.6-7.5
Flower Color Purple
Hardiness Zones 3-9
Native Area North America
Two monarch butterflies are perched on the flower spike of a Liatris spicata 'Kobold'
 Ed Reschke / Getty Images

How to Grow Liatris Spicata ‘Kobold’

Liatris spicata ‘Kobold’ is a herbaceous perennial in the Asteraceae family (which also includes daisies and sunflowers) that is hardy in zones 3 to 9. It is a resilient plant - easy tolerating heat, cold, drought, and poor soils. Liatris spicata is also deer-resistant and is not prone to any serious pests or diseases. Overall, Liatris spicata ‘Kobold’ has many of the same characteristics and growth requirements of Liatris spicata.

Liatris spicata ‘Kobold’ is a late summer bloomer, blooming from late July to August or into September. Prior to flowering, ‘Kobold’ is characterized by short, delicate, grassy foliage. Once in bloom, its flowers are highly attractive to pollinators - making it a great flower for butterfly gardens. As a more compact variety, Liatris spicata ‘Kobold’ is an especially popular choice for perennial borders and small flower beds.

Light

Liatris spicata ‘Kobold’ does best in full sun, especially during the first growing season. Choose a location that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight every day. Once established, ‘Kobold’ can tolerate shade for small periods of time although growth may not be as vigorous. 

Soil

Moist, well-drained soil is ideal for Liatris spicata ‘Kobold’. While ‘Kobold’ is somewhat tolerant of poor soils, it thrives in fertile, acidic to alkaline soils. It is also intolerant of wet soils so adequate drainage is important. Choose sandy and clay soils rather than loam soils.

Water

Drought tolerance is one of Liatris spicata ‘Kobold’s most desirable traits. The tuberous roots store water to sustain the plant during periods of drought. However, during the first growing season Liatris spicata ‘Kobold’ should be watered regularly to help it become established. 

Temperature and Humidity

‘Kobold’ is hardy in USDA zones 3 to 9, withstanding extreme minimum temperatures as low as -30 to -40 degrees Fahrenheit (or -34.4 to -40 degrees Celsius). However, as a herbaceous perennial, Liatris spicata ‘Kobold’ does require warm spring temperatures and hot summers to grow. Not just cold-hardy, ‘Kobold’ also tolerates heat and humidity well. 

Fertilizer

Fertilizing Liatris spicata ‘Kobold’ is not necessary, especially if it's grown in healthy soil. If desired, fertilize lightly with an all-purpose fertilizer in the spring prior to new growth to give it a boost. Mixing compost into the soil each spring can also help to give the corms a good start.

Propagating Liatris Spicata

Liatris spicata ‘Kobold’ is easy to propagate through division and through seed (see ‘Growing from Seed’ below). If propagating by division, the best time to divide established plants is in the spring during the active growing season. A healthy plant should not be divided more than once every three to four years to help it re-establish between propagations.

Varieties of Liatris Spicata

Liatris spicata ‘Kobold’ is one of the most popular varieties of L. spicata due to its compact size. However, there are several other varieties that have become popular thanks to their unique characteristics. These varieties include:

  • Liatris spicata ‘Floristan White’ is a cultivator that is characterized by its striking white flower spikes.
  • Liatris spicata ‘Callilepsis’ has long stems that are particularly popular as cut flowers.
  • Liatris spicata ‘Floristan Violett’ has strong stems and thick, violet flower spikes and is preferred by florists.
Liatris spicata 'Floristan White'.
 magicflute002 / Getty Images

Growing from Seed

Liatris spicata ‘Kobold’ can be easily grown from seed. Seeds can be started indoors in the early spring or sowed directly into the garden once the weather has warmed to about 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Germination rates improve greatly when seeds are cold stratified before they are planted. Seeds normally take between 20-45 days to germinate.