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Andropogon gerardii 'Red October'

Big bluestem

'Red October' is a show stopper with year round beauty. The foliage emerges in spring with reddish highlights. In summer the foliage is a lush, deep green. Burgundy red flowers bloom in August while the foliage takes on a purple red hue. The first frost brings on the vivid, scarlet red, fall color. Attractive to butterflies, birds and other beneficial insects. Provides cover for at least 24 species of songbirds. Tough and easy to grow. 

Benefits

  • All season beauty, vivid red fall color
  • Attracts birds and butterflies
  • Drought tolerant once established
  • Superb for mass planting and erosion control
  • Deer resistant, tolerant of black walnut
  • Seed heads dry well for cut flower arrangements

Homeowner Growing and Maintenance Tips

Andropogon gerardii is very tolerant of diverse conditions, but is most often found in full sun, dry and sandy to clay soils. It grows quickly in moist, fertile soils, but is more likely to bend and fall over. Clumps can be divided in early summer, but bring a sturdy shovel!


Height
4-6 ft

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Spread
2-3 ft

USDA Hardiness Zone 3-9

Native Range

Andropogon gerardii can be found in moist meadows and along side roads and rivers from Canada to Mexico.

Native Trivia

Big bluestem once dominated the tall-grass prairies of North America, forming rippling waves of amber taller than a man on horseback from the Rocky Mountains to the eastern forests.

Patent Number: PP#26,283

Characteristics & Attributes

Sun
Beneficial insects
Butterflies
Songbirds
Deer Resistant
Plan Sub Group
Medium to Tall Grasses
Exposure
Morning Sun / Afternoon Shade
Soil
Heavy clay
Well-drained
Wide soil tolerance
Soil Moisture Preference
Average
Dry
Moist
Moist but well-drained
Bloom Time
Fall
Late Summer
Summer
Habitat Collection
Songbird
Native Habitat
Grassland
Foliage Color
Green
Uses
Border
Cut or dried flower
Drought tolerant
Erosion control
Hedge, screen
Mass plant
Meadow
Naturalizes
Salt tolerant
Native to
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
District of Columbia
Florida
Georgia
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Pennsylvania
Puerto Rico
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming