Dense blazing star
Sun/shade: Full sun to part shade
Soil moisture: Medium
Flowering period: July to August
Host plant for 5 caterpillar species
Softly fringed in outline due to a cover of vibrant blossoms, dense blazing star’s tall floral spike has a stunning presence in the summer pollinator garden. From the buds at its base through fully blooming flowers above, the spike is a gradient of lavender color that shifts downward with time, fading near its tip like the darkening tail of a falling star. The flowers serve as a continuous mid-to-late summer nectar source for a wide variety of pollinators, especially butterflies. Dense blazing star is a favorite nectar plant of monarchs, and including it in the garden is recommended to aid monarch conservation.
A native of NE Ohio wet meadows, dense blazing star grows well in conditions of full sun and soil moisture ranging from moderately wet to moderately dry. Tall (3-6’) but by no means imposing, dense blazing star adds variety to both the structure and color of the native plants garden. Its vibrant, linear form punctuates its surroundings and contrasts well with the expansive shape of many prairie plants. If planting dense blazing star in an area frequented by white-tailed deer, gardeners should be aware, however, that the plant will likely be browsed.
Photo by Ashley Keesling.