Little bluestem tolerates a wide range of soils including clay, but needs good drainage and cannot thrive in shade or wetlands. In fall the foliage changes from blue to burgundy and really makes a statement! The foliage provides excellent color all season-long and creates the perfect backgrop for prairie flowers. Very drought tolerant, and while it prefers full sun it will do fine in light shade. This tough prairie grass is adaptable and tolerant to harsh conditions and poor soils. In a garden setting, Little Bluestem is valued for its blue-green color in the summer and, after the first frost, it turns beautiful shades of brown, copper, and crimson that will remain all winter. Little Bluestem. Where in Minnesota? It is quite hardy, extending from Zones 3-9. Leaves are crowded on the lower part of the stem with few on the upper plant. Little bluestem is a tough, easy-care ornamental grass that’s most beautiful in the fall when its tufts of slim, ¼-inch-wide blue-green leaves turn from rust to wine red and its thin 2- to 3-inch clusters of fuzzy flower spikelets glisten silvery-white in the sun. Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, part shade, sun; average to dry, sandy soil; prairies, dunes, roadsides, railroads, open woods. FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Schizachyrium scoparium is a mounding grass with narrow green or blue-green foliage. Nodes are hairless and purplish. scoparium is one that is widely accepted, common throughout North America, and is the species found in Minnesota. An email address is required, but will not be posted—it will only be used for information exchange between the 2 of us (if needed) and will never be given to a 3rd party without your express permission. Spikelet stalks are usually densely covered in fine hairs that are initially appressed but spread out as the spikelets mature. This warm-season grass’ native prairie habitat has almost disappeared, but don’t worry. The lemma (bract at the base of a flower) of the fertile flower has an awn about 5/8 inch long that is slightly twisted and bent near its base. Also important for wildlife ground cover. A large area of little bluestem in the late fall or winter is very striking. Schizachyrium scoparium / Little Bluestem $ 8.00. The wild form here and there along Old Highway 61. A warm season bunchgrass with green, blue, copper, red, and bronze tones to its foliage, especially beautiful in fall and winter. ), please check the links and invasive species pages for additional resources. It is found in many types of soil but is particularly adapted to well-drained, nearly infertile soil which makes it an excellent erosion barrier. The ligule (membrane where the leaf joins the sheath) is white to brownish and up to 2 mm long. Pick an image for a larger view. In fall, the grass turns a rosy rust color that lasts all winter. Individual Perennial Species. Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it? This grass requires a location with full sun. Little bluestem is a tidy, finely textured clumping grass with a blue-green summer color. Little bluestem is very tolerant of dry soils but will also thrive in richer loam soils. Foliage has good winter interest, but should be cut back to the ground in late winter or early spring. The entire spikelet eventually falls off. The sheath is open, forming a long “V” at the front, and usually hairless. Little bluestem plant is a native grass to North America. See Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. We have four clumps started from SWCD. ‘Carousel’ is an advanced selection developed Partial shade (afternoon sun) is tolerated, but flowering may be diminished. It is a prolific self-seeder and can become invasive with little bluestem in lawns a major competitor to traditional turf grass. It is characterized by the clump forming growth, most of the stalked spikelets being sterile (not staminate), and leaf blades and sheaths typically hairless, occasionally short-hairy. In a garden setting, Little Bluestem is valued for its blue-green color in the summer and, after the first frost, it turns beautiful shades of brown, copper, and crimson that will remain all winter. Leaves are flat or folded lengthwise, green to blue-green, up to 10 inches long and about ¼ inch wide, sometimes finely hairy but usually hairless except for sparse, long spreading hairs near the base. At Greenwood Hardware, you will find a variety of plants that will thrive in the shade and brighten up those shady areas. The sheath is open, forming a long “V” at the front, and usually hairless. The plant is adaptable to either full sun or partial shade. 24-36" tall x 15" wide (seed propagated). Your Name: Nodes are hairless and purplish. In late summer inconspicuous flowers are held on branched stems above the leaves. Order Quantity: Clear: Little Bluestem quantity ... prefers dry to mesic soils and can handle full sun to part shade conditions. Schizachyrium Scoparium – Little Bluestem Home / Grasses/Sedges / Schizachyrium Scoparium ... Full sun to partial shade Moisture - Well drained, Dry to moist Size - 3-4' height x 3-4' spread Comments * White plumes in late summer/fall . It is a host plant for several native butterflies and is popular in the garden trade as well as restoration projects. Little bluestem is a warm-season grass and does not green up right away in the spring. The extensive root system makes it impervious to drought, so hold the water and give it plenty of sunlight (at least six hours). The grass gets fluffy white seed heads that also adds seasonal interest. Big bluestem grass is hardy in USDA zones 4 to 9. There is s powder blue form being sold in native seed mixes that does not look anything like the wild plants I have seen from MI, WI, or MN. The culm (stem) is erect and hairless with many short branches and is often bluish to purple. Be that as it may, var. and alpine laurel Kalmia microphylla are all showy and do well in partial shade. Masses of Little Bluestem may be combined with flowering perennials such as rudbeckias, salvias, daylilies and daisies as a effective transition zone between the well watered and cultivated garden area and a surrounding wildscape … It provides interest when planted in random patches on slopes and dry areas associated with post oak and yaupon landscapes, and grows either in full sun or partial shade. Web design and content copyright © 2006-2020 MinnesotaWildflowers.info. It also has very nice green, blue, and later red coloring. A cultivar selected by agronomists in NE as a high yielding pasture grass, Schizachyrium scoparium 'Blaze' is also used ornamentally for its vivid red fall foliage. It is taller, stiffer with thick stems, and powder blue leaves. I don't think it should be planted. Adapted to oak woods and prairies of central Texas with annual rainfalls of 20 to 40". Map of native plant purveyors in the upper midwest. Height: 24" - 36" Bloom Time: Aug - Sep Light: Full sun to part shade Soils: Dry, Average Specialty Uses: Medicinal, Landscaping Price(s): Packet: $3.00; Ounce: $4.00; Pound: $15.00; Images: NOTE: This item is sold by the PLS (Pure Live Seed) pound. Above: Little bluestem grass grows wild in Wisconsin. Fluffy light catching seed clusters follow. A pretty grass, Little Bluestem is another iconic species of prairies that once covered much of Minnesota. This species is a perennial warm-season plant. Terrific in the border or meadow. Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) Little bluestem has blue-gray-green leaf blades that turn redish-bronze in autumn. Life Cycle. Posted by SongofJoy (Clarksville, TN - Zone 6b) on Jan 15, 2012 8:07 AM. Grasses/Sedges. Little Bluestem is a highly ornamental native grass prized for its blue-green leaf color and upright form. Little Bluestem Schizachyrium scoparium. The grass gets fluffy white seed heads that also adds seasonal interest. Moisture:: Moist or Dry Exposure: Full Sun - Part Shade Blooms: August-September Height: 1-3 feet Description: Little Bluestem is a native perennial prairie grass that was once very common in our historic prairie landscapes. Sometimes, it can be a little tough to grow certain plants that require plenty of sunshine and heat to thrive when you are blessed with so much shade. Its silvery seed heads rise to a height of nearly 2 feet in late summer and are at their best when backlit in the morning or afternoon sun. Related products ; MNL Pioneer Mix $ 30.00 – $ 740.00 Select options. Stems take on a tan or reddish color in fall and persist through winter. This selection features sturdy, tight, upright stems in blue-green and offers amazing fall colour when it turns a deep, red-purple. This forms an upright clump of blue-grey foliage, bearing narrow, medium-tall spikes in late summer. The sterile spikelet has a much shorter awn. The culm (stem) is erect and hairless with many short branches and is often bluish to purple. If you have space for more shrubs, red flowering currant Ribes sanguineum, the silk tassel bush (Garrya ssp.) USDA Zone: 4-9. The blue grassy foliage is appealing all season, and only gets better in fall. Note: All comments are moderated before posting to keep the riff-raff out. Individual Annual Species. Photograph by Joshua Mayer via Flickr. Personally, I do not not think it is a wild form but a selection from some nursery-grown crops. Bluestem grass is also part of the fertile tall grass prairies of the midwest. Find mixtures for your region, or for special uses such as dry areas, partial shade, attracting animals, low growing, and more. Little Bluestem. Help support this site ~ Information for sponsor opportunities. MNL Septic Mound Mix $ 35.00 – $ 864.00 Select options. (=Andropogon scoparium) A recent selection of a native grass, which used to be widely distributed all over the Great Plains. Little Bluestem $ 10.00 – $ 18.00. The plant is also aggressive and crowds out other native plants. For info on subjects other than plant identification (gardening, invasive species control, edible plants, etc. Learn which ornamental and native grasses have an aggressive habit, which is not recommended for smaller gardens. Regarding reuse of photos from this site: Any plant photo with a credit line including the words “Friends School Plant Sale photo” may be used with credit to the Friends School Plant Sale and named photographer, under the Creative Commons license. The ligule (membrane where the leaf joins the sheath) is white to brownish and up to 2 mm long. See the glossary for icon descriptions. Growing only 2 to 3 feet tall, Little Bluestem works well in natural prairie plantings or grouped with other perennials. Little Bluestem: USDA Zone: 3-9: Plant number: 8.316.930 (=Andropogon scoparium) A native grass, which used to be widely distributed all over the Great Plains. It requires a soil pH of 7.0 or slightly higher. It also is slower to respond to shortening daylight hours in late summer. Spikes are 1 to 3 inches long, ascending to erect, typically purplish. Superb bronzy orange colour develops in the autumn. Excellent in sandy or otherwise well-drained soils, it spreads colonially in the right conditions. Densely mounded, Little Bluestem reaches a height of 3 … (They dry well, by the way.) There are at least 3 recognized varieties of Schizachyrium scoparium (sometimes more depending on the reference), though the specific list varies and is apparently not universally accepted due to the wide natural variations of this species. Read on for little bluestem information so you can decide if this interesting plant is right for your landscape. Grasses are adaptable and can grow in poorer soils better than many other garden plants. Keep It Alive. Schizachyrium scoparium. Plant little bluestem grass in full sun in USDA zones 3 to 9. It can even tolerate the partial shade of open woods, as long as the soil is well drained. Little Bluestem requires nearly full sun for upright growth and looks best when cut back in early spring, allowing new leaf blades to fill in. This is their second year. Comment (max 1000 characters): Note: Comments or information about plants outside of Minnesota and neighboring states may not be posted because I’d like to keep the focus of this web site centered on Minnesota. QUICK STATS. Photos by K. Chayka taken in Anoka and Ramsey counties. The Blues Little Bluestem is one of the easiest ornamental grasses to grow, as it tolerates a wide range of soil conditions and is hardy in zones 3-9. Copyright © 2000 - 2020 Valleybrook International Ventures Inc. Schizachyrium scoparium ‘Standing Ovation’, Alphabetical list of all 4,000+ perennials here. Shade, excess fertility, and too much moisture will all contribute to lax, floppy growth. Plant this Little Bluestem in the Blacklands, Edwards Plateau, Cross Timbers, Lost Pines & Rolling Plains to help restore habitat for bobwhite quail, white-tailed deer, rio grande turkey, le conte's sparrow. A single spike-like cluster at the tip of each branch and at the top of the stem. This forms an upright clump of blue-grey foliage, bearing narrow, medium-tall spikes in late summer. Plant number: 8.020.250. Plants grow in large, tight clumps and sometimes spread through short rhizomes. The spikelets spread out as they mature, the hairs on the stalks spreading as well, the spike taking on a feathery look and often arching. Clumps may be easily divided in spring. Over 75 choices that will bloom in the second year and for years to come. 'Blaze' Little Bluestem grass is invaluable in xeriscapes and native wildflower plantings, plus it has great winter color! The glumes (pair of bracts at the base of a spikelet) of the fertile spikelet are ¼ to 3/8 inch long and equal in length, narrowly lance-elliptic with a sharply pointed tip. Thanks for your understanding. Little bluestem is considered to be adapted to USDA hardiness zones 3 through 9. Spikelets (flower clusters) are in pairs all along the spike; 1 stalkless spikelet containing a single fertile, perfect flower (both male and female parts) and usually 1 stalked sterile spikelet that is smaller than the fertile spikelet, occasionally containing a single male flower. 500 Little Bluestem Ornamental Grass Seeds, Schizachyrium scoparium 3.5 out of 5 stars 9 David's Garden Seeds Grass Bluestem Little 7212 (Blue) Non-GMO, Open Pollinated One Ounce Package Quick View. CHECK AVAILABILITY. (=Andropogon scoparium) A recent selection of a native grass, which used to be widely distributed all over the Great Plains. Your email address: (required) Sprite' tender perennial well-drained full sun to part shade These fragrant and floriferous herbs bloom all summer until freeze and attract a wide array of pollinators from bees to ... An upright silvery blue-leaved little bluestem that turns deep wine red/purple in the fall. The seed that develops in the fertile spikelet is purplish brown, narrowly spindle shaped with a long taper to a pointed tip, and about as long as the spikelet. Funding provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources. Little Bluestem. Seed is eaten by various birds, so it is an important winter bird fodder. Carousel Little Bluestem Family Poaceae (Grass Family) Origin Schizachyrium scoparium is an important warm-season, clump-forming native prairie grass that is widely distrib-uted throughout the prairies and open woods of North America from Quebec to Alberta, and south to Arizona and Florida. Other photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk. Sandy to loamy soils are ideal for growing big bluestem grass. Description Semi-shade tolerant to full sun. Tolerates heat and humidity. Upper plant but a selection from some nursery-grown crops even tolerate the partial shade spikelets.. 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