Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)

Botanical names:
Schizachyrium scoparium Accepted
Andropogon scoparius Synonym

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Grass/Grass-like
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Dry Mesic
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 3 -40 °C (-40 °F) to -37.2 °C (-35)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 9b
Plant Height: 2 to 4 feet (61-122cm)
Plant Spread: 18 to 24 inches (46-61cm)
Leaves: Good fall color
Unusual foliage color
Flower Time: Late summer or early fall
Suitable Locations: Xeriscapic
Uses: Provides winter interest
Will Naturalize
Wildlife Attractant: Birds
Resistances: Deer Resistant
Drought tolerant
Propagation: Seeds: Suitable for wintersowing
Propagation: Other methods: Division
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil

This makes a beautiful potted plant for fall and winter interest.

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Posted by SongofJoy (Clarksville, TN - Zone 6b) on Jan 15, 2012 8:07 AM

Growing only 2 to 3 feet tall, Little Bluestem works well in natural prairie plantings or grouped with other perennials. It also has very nice green, blue, and later red coloring. Fall seed stalks are fluffy white and delicate. Good for back-lighting. This plant can take drier conditions.

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Posted by Catmint20906 (Maryland - Zone 7a) on Aug 8, 2014 7:57 AM

Schizachyrium scoparium is a larval host plant for numerous Skipper Butterflies, including Aragos Skipper, Dusted Skipper, Leonard's Skipper, Cobweb Skipper, Indian Skipper, Swarthy Skipper, and Crossline Skipper.

According to NPIN, this plant also provides nesting materials and structure for native bees, as well as cover and seeds for birds.

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Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Feb 8, 2018 12:13 PM

Little Bluestem is my favorite ornamental grass. It is beautiful but not real flashy. It is easy to work with and feels good to touch. It is native to eastern North America, It is one of the major prairie grasses of the Midwest and it is found wild in special areas of the East in dry soils as at the dunes of the Delmarva Peninsula shore and in the serpentine barrens of southeast PA and northern MD. It is sold at a few larger, diverse conventional nurseries, by some mail order nurseries, but mostly by any native plant nursery. I bought mine by mail from Prairie Nursery in central Wisconsin. It is not at all common in the average yard and landscape; I'm probably the only one in my town that has some. It is used by some professional landscapers that know about it and it is often used by those who love native plant landscapes. This clump grass does lodge some when its flowering stems get full-sized in later summer, but in autumn its foliage and stems become dry and then it stands upright again. It gets a nice orangy fall color and it does well all during winter to be left alone. One can cut the grass down in early spring. One can also set fire to the low crown a few inches high after the plant is cut down, and it likes the burn and springs back soon. In prairie or native plant restorations on parkland or forest preserves, land managers burn their native meadow or prairie in early spring to rejuvenate the vegetative mass and help keep out invasive plants.

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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Ornamental Grass - Ohio area by lmalcolm2004 Nov 13, 2017 4:06 PM 5
Growing grass on an Island by jetburke Apr 27, 2017 9:53 AM 8
Have seeds of Little Bluestem grass for SASE.... by wcgypsy Jul 8, 2016 4:45 PM 0
The Circle of Life: everything else by evermorelawnless May 12, 2016 10:26 AM 731
Garden Chat and Photos by Catmint20906 Jan 2, 2016 11:47 AM 3,043
Unknown for 50 years or more by OldGardener Jul 29, 2014 9:24 PM 43
Native grasses - do you grow them? by SongofJoy Mar 19, 2014 7:37 AM 22

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