A native of the Midwestern tallgrass prairie, Big Bluestem is warm season grass with ornamental quailites fit for the garden and landscape. The remarkable foliage changes color from green to blue-green in summer, to a deep red-bronze in the fall …
|Soil Type||Clay, Loam, Sand|
|Soil Moisture||Dry, Medium, Moist|
|Sun Exposure||Full Sun|
|Height||5' - 8'|
|Bloom Color||Green, Red|
|Bloom Time||Aug, Sep, Oct|
|Hardiness Zones||3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9|
|Benefits||Birds, Host Plant, Deer Resistant|
|Seeds per Oz||8200|
|Propagation Treatment||Dry Stratification|
|Direct Sowing Time||Spring, Early Summer|
A leading player in the Midwestern tallgrass prairie, Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) is a warm season grass with ornamental quailites fit for the garden and landscape. The remarkable foliage changes color from green to blue-green in summer, to a deep red-bronze in the fall and provides interest well into the winter. The growth stays compact until midsummer and compliments other perennials without overpowering them in the early season. The late summer heat brings a dramatic increase in height, along with the iconic and distinctive three-parted seed heads – said to resemble a turkey's foot.
Drought tolerant and easy to maintain, Big Bluestem is a top choice for naturalistic plantings, but it does self seed readily and may not be the best grass for small or highly manicured spaces. Plant it in groups as a border or screen, or individually as a tall accent plant. The deep root system can be slow to develop, but once established, this grass is very drought tolerant. It will grow in almost any soil, from wet clay to dry sand. This native grass does need full sun to look its best.
An important member of the prairie ecosystem Big Bluestem was largely responsible for the formation of the famous prairie sod. The grass is a host plant for numerous Skippers including the Arogos Skipper, Delaware Skipper, and Dusted Skipper, and it provides shelter and food for songbirds. Big bluestem is an excellent native alternative to invasive fountain grasses.