Schizachyrium scoparium, Little Bluestem

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

Common through most of the Mid-Atlantic Region, Little Bluestem gives a brilliant landscape performance. Tight, erect, spiky bluish-green stems and leaves transition to a sizzling fall display of oranges, reds, yellows and purplish-browns topped by fluffy seed heads that persist into winter.

Print Version: Schizachyrium scoparium, Little Bluestem

Schizachyrium scoparium, Little Bluestem Grass / Sedge   Height: 11⁄2–4 feet Bloom Color: Purplish-bronze Spread: 11⁄2–2 feet   Characteristics  Bunched, ornamental perennial grass  Slender, often folded, light blue or green leaves alternate on erect, red-brown or tan culms (stems)  Flowers appear as 3-inch-long racemes of spikelets ascending from stems August–October  Fluffy, silvery-white seed heads    Bronze to rust fall color persists through winter  Readily reseeds  Attributes  Tolerates clay soil, poor soil, shade (somewhat), drought (extremely well), air pollution, and Black Walnut; intolerant of wetlands and flooding; no serious pests or diseases; deer rarely damage  Winter interest  Attracts birds to its seeds, especially in winter; larval host for Cobweb, Crossline, Dusted, Indian, Leonard’s, and Swarthy Skippers; wildlife cover Growing and Maintenance Tips Soil Requirements: Average, well-drained soil Light Requirements: Sun Water Requirements: Dry Cut to ground in late winter to early spring Use as an accent or en masse in borders, meadow gardens, naturalized landscapes, or steep slopes Hardiness: USDA Zones 3–9 Excellent Replacement for Agropyron cristatum - Crested Wheatgrass Festuca arundinacea - Tall Fescue Lespedeza cuneata - Sericea Lespedeza Pennisetum stp. - Fountain Grass Securigera varia - Crown Vetch
Learn more about other Mid-Atlantic plants: Tried and True Plant Fact Sheets