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Sorghastrum nutans

Indian Grass

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Upright clumps of slender, blue-green leaves turn golden yellow in fall. Stiff, vertical flowering stems topped with 12" long, narrow, auburn flower heads rise well above the foliage in late summer. Great fall color. Indian grass is a good vertical accent in borders and is also effective en masse. The nectar attracts butterflies. Host plant for Pepper and Salt Skipper. This bunch grass provides excellent cover and food for ducks, upland game birds, and songbirds.

Benefits

Provides nest sites, protective cover and food for birds
Flower heads are used in fresh or dried arrangements
Great fall and winter interest
Very drought tolerant and winter hardy
Tolerant of a wide range of conditions, including poor, dry soils

Homeowner Growing and Maintenance Tips

Easy to grow in full sun. Grow in dry to average soil. Tolerates heat and humidity as well as a wide range of soil. Does well in poor, dry, infertile soil. Tends to open up and flop in moist, rich soil. May naturalize by self-seeding in optimum growing conditions. Leave foliage in place over winter for interest and to provide homes for over-wintering critters. Cut back to the ground in late winter before new growth begins.


Height
3-4 Feet

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Spread
1-2 Feet

USDA Hardiness Zone 2-9

Native Range

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

Native Trivia

Planting native grasses will save you labor in the garden. Native grasses help choke out weeds because they have dense fibrous root systems that discourage weeds from invading. These root systems are also drought tolerant so you don't have to water as much.


"This big upright grass is a perfect place for us birds to hide and the seeds offer us a food source."

Characteristics & Attributes

Plan Sub Group
Medium to Tall Grasses
Exposure
Sun
Soil
Well-drained
Wide soil tolerance
Soil Moisture Preference
Average
Dry
Attracts Wildlife
Beneficial insects
Butterflies
Songbirds
Bloom Time
Fall
Habitat Collection
Songbird
Native Habitat
Grassland
Foliage Color
Blue-green
Uses
Accent
Border
Cut or dried flower
Erosion control
Mass plant
Meadow
Naturalizes
Specimen
Native to
Alabama
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
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming