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Schizachyrium scoparium - Little Bluestem

Ornamental Grasses

Schizachyrium scoparium

Little Bluestem

Schizachyrium scoparium, or Little Bluestem, is one of the dominant grasses which grow in the rich and fertile soils of the tallgrass prairie. Forms upright clumps of slender green leaves with a tinge of blue at the base which deepens almost into purple as summer progresses. Purplish-bronze flowers appear on branched stems rising above the foliage in August. Resulting clusters of fluffy, silvery-white seed heads are attractive and may persist into winter. Autumn brings out the reds, as dipping temperatures increase the flame to brilliant orange. Winter color can remain coppery brown, so lovely when set against evergreens in the snow.


Because of the considerable color variance of this grass, delightful surprises are in store for the gardener! In addition, the plant is a larval food source for many skipper butterflies and the seeds are enjoyed by a variety of smaller songbirds.

Additional:

Formerly known as Andropogon scoparius, Little Bluestem is a Missouri native grass on the MSD Stormwater BMP Native plant list and used in Bioretention & Organic Filters-Informal, Bioretention & Organic Filters-Formal, Infiltration Basins & Dry Swales, and Surface Sand Filters applications.

Host plant for the following butterflies--Black Dash, Broad-Winged Skipper, Dion Skipper, Dun Skipper, Northern Broken Dash, Tawny-edged Skipper, Wood Nymph

Little Bluestem Growing and Maintenance Tips:

Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun. This warm season grass tolerates a wide range of soil conditions. Cut to the ground in late winter.

Height:

24-48 Inches

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Spread:

18-24 Inches

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Hardiness Zone:

3 - 9

Characteristics & Attributes for Schizachyrium scoparium

Exposure
Sun
Soil Moisture Preference
Dry
Average
Attracts Wildlife
Butterflies
Songbirds
Season of Interest (Flowering)
Summer
Fall
Season of Interest (Foliage)
Summer
Fall
Winter
Attributes
Native
Border or Bed
Drought Tolerant
Naturalizing
Focal Point
Rock Garden
Great Foliage
Mass Planting
Foliage Color
Blue
Green
Great Companion Plants for Schizachyrium scoparium
Coneflower Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea 'Magnus')
Blazing Star Blazing Star (Liatris spicata )
Black-eyed Susan Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida 'Goldsturm')
Aster, New England Aster, New England (Aster novae-angliae 'Purple Dome')
Periwinkle Periwinkle (Vinca minor 'Bowles')
Balloon Flower Balloon Flower (Platycodon grandiflorus 'Astra Pink')
Similar Plants to Schizachyrium scoparium
Blue Fescue Blue Fescue (Festuca glauca 'Elijah Blue')
Feather Reed Grass Feather Reed Grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster')
Blue Oat Grass Blue Oat Grass (Helictotrichon sempervirens 'Sapphire')
Maiden Grass Maiden Grass (Miscanthus sinensis 'Gracillimus')
Switch Grass Switch Grass (Panicum virgatum 'Hot Rod')