Liatris appeals to beginning and experienced gardeners alike because it requires little maintenance, spreads easily and stands up to summertime heat that wilts other plants. Also known as blazing star, this member of the sunflower family bears little resemblance to a sunflower. Its tufted, thistlelike, bottle-brush flower spikes reach about 12 in. in length and bloom in the summertime from the top down, producing several weeks of stunning colour. The elongated, amethyst or white inflorescences grow atop stems measuring 24 to 36 in. tall and are alluring to bees and butterflies. The foliage is delicate and has the look of grass, adding further to the appeal of this stately, upright perennial. Liatris is native to meadows and marsh margins found in the eastern U.S.