Elymus magellanicus 'Blue Tango'
Common Name: wheat grass
Type: Ornamental grass
Family: Poaceae
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to August
Bloom Description: Bluish green
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful
Tolerate: Black Walnut

Culture

Best grown in moist, relatively fertile, somewhat gritty, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Appreciates some light afternoon shade in hot summer climates. Tolerates a wide variety of soils as long as they are sharply drained. Performs poorly in climates with high humidity and high nighttime temperatures. Good drought tolerance. Evergreen only in mild winter locations. Foliage may be cut back hard in cold winter locations.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Elymus magellanicus, commonly called Magellan wheatgrass or blue wheatgrass, is a cool season perennial grass that is native to alpine areas in southern Patagonia (far southern parts of Chile and Argentina). It is grown in landscapes today for enjoyment of its exceptional metallic blue leaves which many consider to have the best blue color of all blue-leaved grasses. Flat, narrow, linear, pointed leaf blades grow in a dense foliage clump to 16” tall. As they age, the older leaves arch outward revealing the central, more erect, intensely blue new growth. Thin, stiff, upright blue flowering stems topped by wheat-like pale blue-green flower spikes rise above the leaves in late spring to early summer to 24-30” tall. Flowers are light blue-gray, but turn tan with age. Although the flower stems gracefully sway in the breeze, they are not particularly ornamental. When mature, the blue flowers turn tan with the flower spikes purportedly resembling the fruit spikes of wheat, hence the common name of blue wheatgrass.

Genus name comes from the Greek word elymos used for a type of grain.

Specific epithet means of the region of the Straits of Magellan which is the South American water route separating southern Chile and Tierra del Fuego.

‘Blue Tango’ is a cultivar that purportedly features more intense blue foliage color than that found on the species. It is sometimes sold in commerce under the name of Agropyron magellanicum 'Blue Tango'.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Powdery mildew and rust are occasional problems in some areas.

Garden Uses

Excellent container plant. Rock gardens. Border specimen. Edging.