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 BluestemMGNVorg Schizachyrium scoparium

Learn more about other Mid-Atlantic plants: Tried and True Plant Fact Sheets


Tags: 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, 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, Agropyron cristatum – Crested Wheatgrass, Light Requirements: Sun Festuca arundinacea – Tall Fescue, Water Requirements: Dry Lespedeza cuneata – Sericea Lespedeza, Cut to ground in late winter to early spring Pennisetum stp. – Fountain Grass, Use as an accent or en masse in borders, meadow gardens, naturalized landscapes, or steep slopes, Securigera varia – Crown Vetch, Hardiness: USDA Zones 3-9