Schizachyrium scoparium 'Standing Ovation'
Common Name: little bluestem
Type: Ornamental grass
Family: Poaceae
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: Purple bronze with white seed heads
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Rain Garden
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Colorful, 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 native to prairies, fields, clearings, hills, limestone glades, roadsides, waste areas and open woods from Alberta to Quebec south to Arizona and Florida. It was one of the dominant grasses of the vast tallgrass prairie region which once covered rich and fertile soils in many parts of central North America. It typically matures to 2-4’ (less frequently to 5’) tall, and features upright clumps of slender, flat, linear green leaves (to 1/4“ wide), with each leaf having a tinge of blue at the base. Purplish-bronze flowers appear in 3” 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.

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.

‘Standing Ovation’ is a cultivar which features blue leaf blades with red tips. Leaf blades are wider than those found on straight species plants. Fall color consists of attractive shades of red and maroon, with retention of such colors continuing late in the season (no “brown out”). The upright and rigid plant habit of this cultivar is typically retained without lodging when plants are grown in rich soils. ‘Standing Ovation’ was discovered as a naturally occurring whole plant mutation in Landenberg, Pennsylvania in the summer of 2003. Parentage is unknown, but ‘The Blues’ is considered to be a likely parent. U.S. Plant Patent PP25,202 was issued on December 30, 2014.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

Ornamental grass for borders, cottage gardens, wild gardens, wood margins, meadows or prairie-like settings. Group or mass. A good low-maintenance selection for sun-baked areas.