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Question about Liatris Kobold Original Gayfeather, Blazing Star

Posted by lovefornature 5B IL (My Page) on
Sun, Jul 12, 09 at 21:25

I purchased one of these a few days ago.
I am really confused about this plant. On the tag it states that it reaches a height of 14" and width of 12".
I decided to measure mine a few minutes ago and it is 3 ft. tall.
Can anyone tell me if I maybe have received the wrong plant?

One other question, what would be a good companion for this plant? It is such an odd shape.
I have Monarda Jacob's Cline, Walker's Low, Coneflowers (Razzamatazz, Double Pink Delight, White Swan and Coconut Lime), and a nice beautiful grass called Panicum Shenandoah.

Thanks everyone :)


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Question about Liatris Kobold Original Gayfeather, Blazing St

I don't think you received the wrong plant, it's just the info is incorrect. Those Liatris will get at least 3 feet tall when fully mature. I have some old ones that are pushing at least 5 feet tall. Those plants you mentioned would all be great companion plants for it, as they will all be in bloom at the same time and put on quite a show, not to mention the wildlife they will attract: bees, butterflies, hummingbirds while in bloom. Once they go to seed, the coneflowers and liatris will be swarmed by finches and other seed-eating birds.


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RE: Question about Liatris Kobold Original Gayfeather, Blazing St

Thank you so much drivebytrucker!! It is great to hear that my plants will look good together. I have problems with that.

Are you sure I got the right plant? I just cannot imagine the garden center selling me a fully mature one.

I love love feeding the birds (including hummers) and the butterflies. The bees are OK to some degree, but this year they are all over my Raspberry Wine Monarda and my little male hummer doesn't have a chance to use them. They are the big yellow and black bees. They are not mean. I walk in the garden right by them and they ignore me.


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RE: Question about Liatris Kobold Original Gayfeather, Blazing St

Actually the true, original 'Kobold' will indeed only reach a height of 14". Unfortunately, this plant has been propagated by seed for years now, and what is currently labelled as 'Kobold', as you are experiencing, can easily reach heights of 3'.

Some growers are offering the true form, propagated only be division, as 'Kobold Original'.


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RE: Question about Liatris Kobold Original Gayfeather, Blazing St

I just noticed that your post subject line does include the word "original" in the name. If the plant you purchased was labelled as such, you did indeed receive the wrong plant. To reiterate:

'Kobold' is often propagated by seed, and can vary in height from 18-30".

'Kobold Original' should be propagated by division, and reach 14" in height.

Of course, unscrupulous growers or retailers could be either intentionally or ignorantly mixing either their plants and/or their labels.


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RE: Question about Liatris Kobold Original Gayfeather, Blazing St

coolplantsguy, thank you so much for clearing that up for me.

I may consider returning it to the nursery. I should have realized that the plant was taller than the tag said, partially my fault I guesss.

Can you tell me which one is preferred over the other to have??

Thanks :)


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RE: Question about Liatris Kobold Original Gayfeather, Blazing St

It all depends on what you want. If you want the true dwarf form for a specific spot and/or combination in your garden, and end up with a taller form, you might be disappointed.

Another thing to keep in mind, is that this plant (Liatris spicata) typically self-sows readily, so if you obtain the true 'Kobold Original', you will have to be diligent to eliminate the seed and/or seedlings to keep your future plants true.


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RE: Question about Liatris Kobold Original Gayfeather, Blazing St

Now I am really confused. My tag says Liatris Spicata plus the height and width as shown above. Which one do I really have if it is 3 ft. in height??

Another question, I have read to so much about the Monarch Butterflies loving this plant, but it is blooming now. A little earlier for these creatures.

And of course I have those huge yelloish bees in my yard, the hummers cannot even enjoy my Monarda.


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RE: Liatris Kobold Original

Sorry, Liatris spicata is the botantical name of the plant species. 'Kobold' and 'Kobold Original' are selections or varieties of that species. There are many others.

In any case, as we've already determined, your 3' plants are definitely NOT 'Kobold Original'.

They certainly do attract butterflies, although I'm not 100% sure re. Monarchs. I know in my garden, they preferred Liatris ligulistylis.


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Question about Liatris Kobold Original Gayfeather, Blazing Star

Thank you coolplantsguy, I learn something new every day. :)


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RE: Question about Liatris Kobold Original Gayfeather, Blazing St

My Kobold liatris (not labelled original) are only about 15 inches high right now in my rather cold zone 5 garden. They won't bloom for me for a few weeks yet which I think is a bit late this year. However, they never bloom for me this early. Your plants will probably bloom somewhat later next year also.

The liatris generally get high enough to bloom above the daylily foliage, but not quite as tall as most of my various coneflowers. Their spikes make a nice contrast to more rounded flower shapes at this time of year.

I have had minimal reseeding (but some) on my extremely dense and mulched clay soil. I also have a tendancy earlier in the season to pull off or cut off their foliage thinking it is a weed - so be careful next year.


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RE: Question about Liatris Kobold Original Gayfeather, Blazing St

Thanks Leslie,
What do you have beside and around your Kobold? I was going to use ornamental grass beside. Behind would be the Bee Balm and in front would be the coneflower.


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RE: Question about Liatris Kobold Original Gayfeather, Blazing St

I also think I have the Original in my yard, as it doesn't get very tall. It's been there for a couple years, and it was from seed, as I recall. I'll have to take another look at it, with your post in mind.
Currently, I have it in a tiny area with stella d'oro yellow daylilies. Like the "Cool Combination" that was posted earlier, the yellow/purple is a nice one, and the height of the SD and the strappy down-turned DL foliage is a good compliment. They don't seem to fight for attention.


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RE: Question about Liatris Kobold Original Gayfeather, Blazing St

Lovefornature,

My bed with the liatris is mostly yellows, whites, and purples. The purples are a bit of a hodgepodge of reddish to bluish purples. That is always the problem with purple. This half-circle bed is big enough so that the reddish ones can be placed on the left and the bluer ones are kept to the right side.

I have a variegated miscanthus grass (green and white) and several burning bushes in the background, along with a high pruned and heavily thinned crabapple tree in the center. Underplantings include several clumps of purple coneflower, a large purple daylily which is very similar in color to the Kobold, a white daylily (which means in dl speak slightly yellow), yellow trumpet lilies (quite tall), several Moonshine (yellow) yarrows (also tall), a big clump of balloon flowers (blue purple), two varieties of bellflower (lighter blue purple to darker blue purple), lactiflora and glomerata (milky and clustered), several Purple Dome asters for fall color, a large stand of Becky Shasta daisies, a small clump (3 plants and still small after 3 seasons) of digitalis grandiflora (soft yellow), some Moonshine coreopis, an edging to the right front of sedum mediovariegata (yellow variegated), and sedum Frosty Morn (white & green variegated) to the rear around the miscanthus, and probably a half dozen other plants I forgot.

If it were me planting your area, I would plant the clear bright red Jacob Kline monarda somewhere else in your garden. The rest of your selections would work well together with the liatris. Purples and bright red can work together and be very striking, but you need to get the combo exactly right, usually with a nice quantity of dark, chartreuse, or bronzy foliage. Also the monarda is a fast grower and your bed could quickly become the "red garden". Raspberry Wine monarda, which someone else mentioned, would work well I think with liatris.


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RE: Question about Liatris Kobold Original Gayfeather, Blazing St

Here's a volunteer patch that I know I didn't plant there, but it sure is adding a nice offset to these gloriosa daisies!


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