Schizachyrium scoparium

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 5 Professionals
Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: little bluestem
Type: Ornamental grass
Family: Poaceae
Native Range: Eastern North America
Zone: 3 to 9
Height: 2.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: August to February
Bloom Description: Purplish bronze
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Rain Garden
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Good Fall
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Erosion, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil, Black Walnut, Air Pollution

Culture

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. Good drought resistance once established. Tolerates high heat and humidity. Cut to the ground in late winter to early spring.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Schizachyrium scoparium, commonly called little bluestem, is one of the dominant grasses which grow in the rich and fertile soils of the tallgrass prairie. It is a Missouri native, warm season, ornamental grass which typically grows 2-4' tall (less frequently to 5') and occurs in prairies, open woods, clearings, glades, roadsides and waste areas throughout most of the State. Forms upright clumps of slender green leaves (1/4" wide) with a tinge of blue at the base. Purplish-bronze flowers appear in 3" long racemes on branched stems rising above the foliage in August. Resulting clusters of fluffy, silvery-white seed heads are attractive and may persist into winter. Most outstanding feature of this grass may be the bronze-orange fall foliage color.

Genus name comes from the Latin schizein meaning to split and achyron meaning chaff.

Specific epithet means broomlike.

Common name is in reference to the lavender-blue color on the stem bases.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

Borders, cottage gardens, wild gardens, native plant gardens or prairie-like settings. Group or mass.