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Schizachyrium scoparium 'The Blues'

Little Bluestem /

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This is an excellent native grass for the garden. It is an upright, clump-forming grass with slender, blue-green leaves. The foliage turns a striking red-orange in the fall, excellent in massed plantings or mixed with other native grasses and wildflowers. Fluffy silver seed heads bloom in late summer or early fall and are ornamental through winter.

Benefits

  • Uniquely colorful fall foliage, nice in dried arrangements
  • Provides nest sites, cover and food for birds
  • Attracts butterflies, host plant for many skippers
  • Easy to grow, deer resistant
  • Drought resistant once established in landscape

Homeowner Growing and Maintenance Tips

Easy to grow in full sun. Grow in dry to average soil. Tolerates heat and humidity easily. Watering or fertilization is actually detrimental; best left to it's own devices! Leave foliage in place for winter interest and to provide homes for over-wintering critters. Cut back to the ground in late winter before new growth begins.


Height
2-4 Feet

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Spread
2-2 Feet

USDA Hardiness Zone 3-9

Native Range

Prairies, fields, open woodlands and roadsides; New Brunswick to Alberta south to Arizona and Florida.

Native Trivia

Little bluestem's root system is deep and fibrous. Individual roots are relatively fine but most roots grow almost vertically downward to depths comparable to shade trees. This is one of the reasons why it is so drought tolerant.


"This is one of the primary grasses found in the east and feeds my feathered friends in winter."

Characteristics & Attributes

Plan Sub Group
  • Low Grasses
  • Medium to Tall Grasses
Exposure
  • Morning Sun / Afternoon Shade
  • Sun
Soil
  • Well-drained
  • Wide soil tolerance
Soil Moisture Preference
  • Average
  • Dry
  • Moist but well-drained
Attracts Wildlife
  • Beneficial insects
  • Butterflies
  • Mammals
  • Songbirds
Bloom Time
  • Fall
  • Late Summer
Critter Resistance
  • Deer Resistant
Habitat Collection
  • Songbird
Native Habitat
  • Coastal
  • Desert
  • Forest
  • Grassland
  • Riparian, wetland
Foliage Color
  • Blue-green
Uses
  • Accent
  • Cut or dried flower
  • Drought tolerant
  • Erosion control
  • Mass plant
  • Meadow
  • Naturalizes
  • Rock garden
  • Specimen
  • Wind tolerant
Native to
  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Puerto Rico
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming