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 Color: Brown
Other: Purple brown
Flower Time: Late summer or early fall
Suitable Locations: Xeriscapic
Uses: Provides winter interest
Wildlife Attractant: Birds
Resistances: Drought tolerant
Propagation: Other methods: Division

Common names
  • Little Bluestem
  • Little Bluestem Grass
Botanical names
  • Accepted: Schizachyrium scoparium
  • Synonym: Andropogon scoparius

Photo Gallery
Location: Ontario, Canada
Date: 2020-09-18
Location: My garden in Ontario, Canada
Date: 2023-09-15
Yes - this is the correct name now!  Backdrop of sedum spectabile
Location: Albuquerque, NM Zone 7b
Date: 11.05.20
After first fall freeze and snow. Beautiful winter interest

Photo Courtesy of Secret Garden Growers.
  • Uploaded by Joy
Location: My garden in N E Pa. 
Date: 2016-09-19
Location: My garden in N E Pa. 
Date: 2016-10-22
Location: Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Date: 2011-08-16
clump with flowering stems upward

Photo courtesy of Singing Tree Gardens Nursery
  • Uploaded by Joy

Photo courtesy of Santa Rosa Gardens
Location: Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Date: late May 2007
clump before any flowering stems
Location: Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Date: 2011-11-12
two clumps with fall color
Location: Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Date: 2006-10-21
fall color close-up

Photo Courtesy of Garden Perennials. Used with Permission.
  • Uploaded by Joy
Location: z6a MA, My Garden
Date: 2012-07-19
  • Posted by lmalcolm2004 (Columbus, Ohio 43220 - Zone 6a) on Nov 13, 2017 4:09 PM concerning plant:
    This ornamental grass is absolutely gorgeous. I found it by accident and purchased one. Went back and got a couple more. I should have bought the gardening center out of these. They are pretty and so much fun to watch turn the different colors. Can't wait until spring so I can go back and buy, buy, buy!!
  • Posted by eclayne (Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA - Zone 6a) on Aug 1, 2012 12:02 PM concerning plant:
    Very nice blue but is less vigorous than other grasses in my garden, not reaching its potential size. Will move to the front of the border and divide in hope of creating a larger mass.
  • Posted by jmorth (central Illinois) on Dec 22, 2015 11:19 AM concerning plant:
    The National Grass Trials at Colorado State University rated this cultivar one of the best in their 2015 trials.
  • Posted by jvdubb (48036 MI - Zone 6b) on Aug 25, 2014 7:28 PM concerning plant:
    I love the color of this grass in any season: pink, blue, copper. I have had this grass in zone 5 and zone 6. No hardiness issues in either zone. My one BIG complaint is that it is a flopper. I always see pictures of it upright. It never is for me. I have struggled for six years to find a support system for it that still allows it to look somewhat natural. I still have not found one. Grrr, this grass is beautiful and incredibly frustrating at the same time!
  • Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Feb 8, 2018 11:52 AM concerning plant:
    I bought three 'The Blues' Little Bluestems in 2004 by mail from Limerock Ornamental Grasses Inc. that existed in Port Matilda, PA until 2015. They have been wonderful perennial grasses that are a little bluer in color than the mother species. Like the mother species they do lodge some when the flower stalks are full-sized in late July, but in fall the foliage dries and loses weight and the plants become more upright again. Like other grasses they can be cut back when the flower stalks are getting high so they stay shorter and upright. This species is easy to work with and feels good to touch. It does self-sow a little bit. One can cut the plant down in early spring to a few inches high and set fire to the low crown in the ground and it likes it and sprouts up quickly. Only a few larger, diverse nurseries & garden centers and many native plant nurseries sell this species and this cultivar. Little Bluestem is such a great grass that it should be planted much more than it is.
  • Posted by NMoasis (Albuquerque NM, Elev 5310 ft - Zone 7b) on Feb 27, 2021 9:15 PM concerning plant:
    The name Schizachyrium derives from the Greek root word schizein, "to split" (same as the psychiatric term schizophrenia), and achryon, meaning "chaff," because the lemmas (bracts in the flower spikelet) are divided.

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