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Sporobolus heterolepis 'Tara'

Dwarf Prairie Dropseed /

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Narrow fine textured blades create a tight upright habit that is slightly stiffer than the species and more compact. Silvery flowers are held above the foliage in fall and droop to the ground when fat with seeds. Flowers have a pleasant scent and the plant has a striking orange-red fall color.


  • Prefers dry soils and is drought tolerant
  • Perfect for grouping in any sunny garden
  • Superb orange-red fall color
  • Birds love its abundant seed and great cover
  • Flower scent is unique

Homeowner Growing and Maintenance Tips

Prefersn average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Adaptable to a range of soils, including heavy clays. Good drought tolerance.

24-36 Inches


8-12 Inches

USDA Hardiness Zone 4-7

Native Range

Open fields from Massachusetts west to Montana, south to New Mexico and Georgia

Native Trivia

For such an important native prairie plant, it's ironic that its unique fragrance gets all the attention! The scent has been described as buttered popcorn, cilantro, even Juicy Fruit gum! Plant some then take a whiff and decide for yourself.

"Some say this plant's flowers smell good but I love the taste of its seeds!"

Characteristics & Attributes

Plan Sub Group
  • Medium to Tall Grasses
  • Sun
  • Heavy clay
  • Well-drained
  • Wide soil tolerance
Soil Moisture Preference
  • Average
  • Dry
Attracts Wildlife
  • Butterflies
  • Songbirds
Bloom Time
  • Late Summer
Critter Resistance
  • Deer Resistant
Habitat Collection
  • Butterfly
  • Songbird
  • Wet Sun
Native Habitat
  • Grassland
Foliage Color
  • Light Green
  • Orange
  • Red
  • Accent
  • Bog, water garden
  • Cut or dried flower
  • Drought tolerant
  • Erosion control
  • Fragrant
  • Ground cover
  • Mass plant
  • Meadow
  • Naturalizes
  • Rock garden
  • Specimen
Native to
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Dakota
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming