Little Bluestem, Schizachyrium scoparium

Little Bluestem

Schizachyrium scoparium

Benefits:
Sun Shade:
Bloom Time: Late Summer/Early Fall
Zones: 3, 4, 5
Soil Conditions: Loam
Soil Moisture: Dry, Medium
Color: Purple, Bronze
Fragrance: No
Height: 2 to 4 feet
Spacing: 2 feet


Description

Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) is native to prairies, fields, clearings, hills, limestone glades, roadsides, waste areas and open woods. It was one of the dominant grasses of the vast tallgrass prairie region which once covered rich and fertile soils. It typically matures to 2-4 feet tall, and features upright clumps of slender, flat, linear green leaves , with each leaf having a tinge of blue at the base. Purplish-bronze flowers appear in 3 inch long racemes on branched stems rising above the foliage in August. Flowers are followed by clusters of fluffy, silvery-white seed heads which are attractive and often persist into winter. Many consider the most outstanding ornamental feature of this grass to be its bronze-orange fall foliage color. The root system is fibrous and short-rhizomatous.

Habitats include hill prairies, gravel prairies, sand prairies, black soil prairies, clay prairies, scrubby barrens, rocky slopes of thinly wooded bluffs, sandy savannas, hilltop glades (limestone, sandstone, or shale), sand dunes, gravelly areas along railroads, and abandoned fields. Little Bluestem is often used in prairie restorations and it is occasionally found in gardens as an ornamental grass.

Easily grown in average, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun. Tolerates a wide range of soil conditions. Tolerates clay soils. Performs well in poor soils.

Plant Notes and Herbal Uses
  Cut to the ground in late winter to early spring.
  Good drought resistance once established.
  Tolerates high heat and humidity.
  Ornamental grass.
  A good low-maintenance selection for sun-baked areas.
Further Information

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