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Producing Blazing Star (Liatris)
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/IR00001667/00001
 Material Information
Title: Producing Blazing Star (Liatris)
Physical Description: Fact Sheet
Creator: Evans, M.R.
Publisher: University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences, EDIS
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 1993
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Acquisition: Collected for University of Florida's Institutional Repository by the UFIR Self-Submittal tool. Submitted by Melanie Mercer.
Publication Status: Published
General Note: "Publication date: June 1993."
General Note: "ENH-111"
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Source Institution: University of Florida Institutional Repository
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the submitter.
System ID: IR00001667:00001

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CircularENH-111 June1993ProducingBlazingStar( Liatris)forCutFlowers1 M.R.Evans2ORIGINANDTYPESLiatris, commonlyknownasBlazing-Star,Button Snakeroot,Gay-Featherandliatris(Figure1),isa genuscontainingapproximately40speciesofplants thatbelongtotheAsteraceaefamily.Thisfamilyhas contributedmanyimportantfloriculturalspecies, includingchrysanthemums,gerberadaisies,asters,and dahlias. Liatris speciesarenativetoNorthAmerica, anddifferentspeciesrangefromCanadasouthto FloridaandwesttoColorado. Althoughseveralspecies,including L. pycnostachya and L.squarrosa,areavailable commercially,themostcommonspeciesproducedfor cutflowersis L.spicata.Thisspeciesisan herbaceousperennialthatformsundergroundstorage structuresknownascorms(oftencommercially referredtoastubers). Liatris havelinearor lanceolateleavesandflowerspikes(racemose inflorescences)thatrangefrom12to36inchesin length.Usually,thelowertwo-thirdsofthenodesof theflowerspikeformleaves,whiletheupperthird formflowerbuds. Liatris areuniqueinthatthe upperflowersontheinflorescenceopenfirstandthe lowerflowersopenlast(Figure1).Whileboth purple-andwhite-floweredtypesareavailable,the purple-floweredformismostcommonlyproducedfor cutflowers.Figure1. InflorescenceofL.spicatawithopeneduppermost flowers.Openingofflowerswillprogressdownthe inflorescence. 1.ThisdocumentisCircularENH-111,FloridaCooperativeExtensionService,InstituteofFoodandAgriculturalSciences,UniversityofFlorida. Publicationdate:June1993. 2.M.R.Evans,AssistantProfessorandExtensionFloricultureSpecialist,GulfCoastResearchandEducationCenter,CooperativeExtension Service,InstituteofFoodandAgriculturalSciences,UniversityofFlorida,GainesvilleFL32611. Theuseoftradenamesinthispublicationissolelyforthepurposeofprovidingspecificinformation.Itisnotaguaranteeorwarrantyofthe productsnamed,anddoesnotsignifythattheyareapprovedtotheexclusionofothersofsuitablecomposition. TheInstituteofFoodandAgriculturalSciencesisanequalopportunity/affirmativeactionemployerauthorizedtoprovideresearch,educational informationandotherservicesonlytoindividualsandinstitutionsthatfunctionwithoutregardtorace,color,sex,age,handicap,ornational origin.Forinformationonobtainingotherextensionpublications,contactyourcountyCooperativeExtensionServiceoffice. FloridaCooperativeExtensionService/InstituteofFoodandAgriculturalSciences/UniversityofFlorida/JohnT.Woeste,Dean

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ProducingBlazingStar( Liatris)forCutFlowers Page2Thespecies L.spicata andselectionsfromthis speciesaremostcommonlyusedforcommercialcut flowerproduction.Sincetwotypesof L.spicata are marketed,however,thenomenclaturemaybe confusing.Cormsmarketedas L.spicata arederived fromseed-propagatedplantsofthisspecies.Tubers marketedas Liatris 'Callilepsis'originatefroma selectionof L.spicata thatisvegetativelypropagated. Producersoftenprefer'Callilepsis'cormsbecause theyproducetaller,darker,moreuniformlyshaped inflorescencesthanthestandard L.spicata.However, 'Callilepsis'cormsarealsomoreexpensivethan standard L.spicata corms.Althoughothercultivars areavailable,including L.spicata 'Alba',awhitetype, and L.spicata 'Kobold',ashortergardentype, L. spicata and L.spicata 'Callilepsis'aremostcommonly usedforcutflowerproduction.REQUIREMENTSFORFLOWERINGLiatris cormsrequireacoldtreatmentfor successfulshootemergenceandflowering.Storing themat2.5C(36F)for8to10weeksisconsidered optimal.Thelongerthecoldtreatment,themore rapidwillbetheemergence,growth,andflowering. Ithasbeenshownthatsoakingcormsinasolutionof gibberellicacid,aplantgrowthregulator,partially substitutesforthecoldtreatmentandensuresrapid shootemergenceandflowering.Sinceneither gibberellicacidnoritscommerciallyavailableforms arelabeledforthisuse,however,thepracticeisillegal intheUnitedStates.Longperiodsofdaylight promotestemelongation.Ithasbeenreportedthat when20footcandlesoflightareusedfrom10p.m.to 2a.m.toartificiallylengthentheday,stemlength increasesbyasmuchas40percent.PURCHASINGCORMSManyhorticulturalsuppliersmarket Liatris corms; themajorityhandlecormsthathavereceivedthe requiredcoldtreatmentandarereadyforplanting. Mostcommonly,cormswithcircumferencesof6to8 cmor8to10cmareusedforcutflowerproduction. Largercormsproducemorefloweringshootsper tuberandlargerinflorescences;however,largercorms arealsomoreexpensive. Cormsshouldbeinspecteduponreceipt.They shouldbefirmandfreeofsurfacefungi.Further,the insidefleshofthecormshouldbealightyellowor beigecolorandbefreeofdarkstreaking(Figure2). Ifnecessary,cormsmaybeheldinacoolerata temperatureof1to2C(34to36F)for approximately3to4months.Whentubersaretobe heldforalongerperiodoftime,theyshouldbe storedat-1C(30F).Thetemperatureshouldnotbe loweredtoorapidly.Thecormsshouldbeplacedin acoolerat5C(40F);overaperiodof2to3days, thetemperatureshouldbereducedtothedesired level.Beforeplanting,tubersshouldbeallowedto warmslowly.PRODUCINGANDSAVINGCORMSCormsareproducedeitherfromseedsorthrough thedivisionofclumpsofcorms.When Liatris corms areproducedfromseeds,theseedsarecollectedand givenastratificationtreatmentbyplacingthemin moistsandat4C(39F)for63days.Seedscanthen besownandtheplantsputoutintothefield. Althoughtheseplantswillnotflowerthefirstseason, theywilldevelopcormsthatwillflowerthenext season.Cormsshouldbeharvestedinlatesummeror fallandgiventhecoldtreatmentnecessaryfor flowering. L.spicata 'Callilepsis'mustbepropagated vegetativelythroughthedivisionofclumpsofcorms. Somecommercialgrowersproducing Liatris forcut flowerssave'Callilepsis'cormsbydiggingthecorms 8to10weeksaftertheflowersareharvested.The harvestedcormsarethencleaned,graded,and transferredtothecoolerforthecoldtreatment.In ordertoproducemarketableflowers(Figure3), cormsneedaminimumdiameterof2cm(0.75inch). Sincemanyproducersfindthattheexpenseof harvestingandhandlingcormsmakessavingthem uneconomical,theypurchasenewcormseachyear.BEDPREPARATIONANDPLANTINGLiatris plantsperformwellandcanbe commerciallyproducedonawidevarietyofsoils,so longasthesoiliswelldrained. Liatris areusually growninraisedbedstoimprovesoildrainage.Ifthe soilisnotwelldrained,rootdevelopmentwillbe retarded,increasingthepotentialfordisease. However, Liatris mustbegivenadequatewaterto facilitatemaximumstemelongationandinflorescence development. Ideally,thesoilshouldbepasteurizedpriorto planting.Cormsareplantedapproximately2.5cm(1 inch)belowthesoilline.Spacingrecommendations vary,buttypicallyeight8to10cmcormsareplanted persquarefoot.Ifsmallercormsareused,moremay beplantedpersquarefoot.Most Liatris producedfor cutflowersaregrownunder25to30percentshade,

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ProducingBlazingStar( Liatris)forCutFlowers Page3although Liatris alsomaybegrownunderopenfield conditions.Productionundershaderesultsindarker flowercolorandlongerstems.Toensurestraight stemsandpreventphysicaldamageduetowind, Liatris shouldhaveoneortwolevelsofwiresupport. Removingtheterminalbudofthecorm(Figure 4)hasbeenshowntoincreasethenumberof floweringshootsproducedpercorm.Whereasintact corms(thosewithcircumferencesof6to8cm) averaged1.2floweringshootspercorm,cormswhose terminalbudhadbeenremoved(de-eyed)produced anaverageof3.1floweringshootspercorm. However,inflorescencesproducedfromde-eyed cormswereshorterandhadsmallerstemcalipers; theseinflorescenceswereusuallyonegradelower thanthoseproducedfromintactplants.De-eyeing maybeanoptionwhen Liatris cutflowersare producedforbouquetsorothermarkets,where smallerinflorescencesaredesirableoracceptable. Wherelargeinflorescencesaredesired,de-eyeing shouldnotbepracticed.[Evans,M.R.1992."Effect ofbudremovalandtuberorientationonfloral developmentof Liatrisspicata 'Callilepsis.'"The InteramericanSocietyofTropicalHorticulture XXXVIIIAnnualCongress,Zamorano,Honduras.]FERTILIZATIONLiatris haveamoderatefertilityrequirement. Numerousrecommendationsconcerningthemineral nutritionrequirementsof Liatris havebeenpublished. Thefertilizationtreatmentslistedbelowareamong thosemostcommonlyrecommended: using3lbsof6-6-6or8-8-8per100squarefeet, broadcastorincorporatedpriortoplanting; adding1.2lbsof10-10-10per100squarefeet; using12lbsofslow-releaseNutricote13-13-13 100-dayreleaseformulationper100squarefeet. Somepublishedreportsrecommendthat micronutrientsbeprovidedasaconstituentofthe fertilizerorthatamicroelementpackagebeadded. However,noinformationconcerningoptimal micronutrientlevelsforliatrishasbeenpublished.Figure2. HealthyL.spicatacorm(left);cormsinfectedwith Rhizoctonia(right). Figure3.L.spicatacormoffloweringsize. Figure4. IntactL.spicatacorm(right)andde-eyedcorm (left).

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ProducingBlazingStar( Liatris)forCutFlowers Page4HARVESTING,POSTHARVEST HANDLING,ANDGRADINGInflorescencesshouldbeharvestedwhen approximately1inchoftheupperflowershave opened,iftheinflorescencesarebeingmarketed immediately,orwhenapproximatelyone-quarterinch oftheupperflowershaveopened,iftheyaretobe heldorshippedlongdistances. Liatris mayalsobe harvestedwhenthebudsshowcolorbutbeforethe flowershaveopened.Theflowersareopenedby beingplacedinasolutioncontaining1,000mg/l8hydroxyquinolinecitrateand50g/lsucrose.Stems shouldbeplacedinwaterafterharvestingandcooled toatemperatureof2to4C(36to40F).Ithas beendemonstratedthatholdinginflorescencesina solutioncontaining2.5to5.0percentsucrose increasesthenumberofflowersthatopenonaspike afterharvestingandsignificantlyincreasestheoverall vaselifeofcut Liatris. Sincenotall Liatris inflorescencesinaplanting matureatthesametime,theharvestperiodmay extendfor2to4weeks. Liatris maybegraded accordingtoseveralstandards.Accordingtothe mostcommonlyusedU.S.gradingsystem,superior grade Liatris haveastemlengthof26to30inches, fancygradeastemlengthof22to25inches,and utilitygradeashortstemof18to21inches.INSECTS,DISEASES,AND PHYSIOLOGICALDISORDERSBotrytis,Verticillium, and Rhizoctonia arethe diseasesmostcommonlyencounteredinthe productionof Liatris. Botrytis usuallyoccursonyoung inflorescencesandopenfloretsduringperiodsof frequentrainfall.Both Verticilium and Rhizoctonia maybepresentwhencormsarereceived.Thesetwo pathogens,whichcancausestunting,wilting, chlorosis,andplantdeath,aregenerallyseenwhen plantsreceivetoomuchwater.Tominimizethe incidenceofthesepathogens,cormsshouldbe inspectedwhenreceivedandtreatedwithan appropriatelylabeledfungicideafterplanting; plantsshouldnotbewateredexcessively. Thrips,mites,andlepidopterouslarvaemayattack Liatris.Thesepestscanusuallybecontrolledifan integratedpestmanagementprogramisbeing followed. Copperdeficiencyduringinflorescence developmenthasbeenreportedtocausedie-backor scorchingoftheinflorescencetip.Itisnotclear, however,whichfactorsareinvolvedininducingthis problem.Somepublishedreportshaverecommended foliarapplicationsofcoppersulphateor micronutrientsduringshootelongationtopreventthis physiologicalproblem.Informationontheproblem islimited,however,and Liatris producersshould carefullyconsidertheuseofthesematerials.