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Schizachyrium scoparium

Little Bluestem

This 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 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

Prefers average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun. Adaptable wide range of soil conditions. Cut back in late winter to early spring before the new foliage begins to grow.


Height
2-4 Feet

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Spread
1-2 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.

Good Companions
Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa), Sky Blue Aster (Aster azureus), Dwarf Wild Indigo (Baptisia minor), Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

Characteristics & Attributes

Sun
Beneficial insects
Butterflies
Songbirds
Deer Resistant
Plan Sub Group
Medium to Tall Grasses
Exposure
Filtered Shade
Soil
Well-drained
Wide soil tolerance
Soil Moisture Preference
Average
Dry
Moist but well-drained
Attracts Wildlife
Mammals
Bloom Time
Late Summer
Habitat Collection
Butterfly
Songbird
Native Habitat
Grassland
Foliage Color
Blue-green
Green
Uses
Accent
Cut or dried flower
Drought tolerant
Erosion control
Mass plant
Meadow
Naturalizes
Specimen
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