Schizachyrium scoparium 'The Blues' - Little Bluestem
Schizachyrium scoparium 'The Blues'
This is an excellent native grass for the garden. It is an upright, clump-forming grass with slender, blue-green leaves. The foliage turns a striking red-orange in the fall, excellent in massed plantings or mixed with other native grasses and wildflowers. Fluffy silver seed heads bloom in late summer or early fall and are ornamental through winter.
- Fine-textured blue-green foliage
- Provides nest sites, cover, and food for birds
- Outstanding fall color and great winter interest
- Birds feed on the seeds in late fall and winter
- Drought tolerant once established in landscape
Prairies, fields, open woodlands, and roadsides; New Brunswick to Alberta south to Arizona and Florida.
Map Credit: The Biota of North America
Map Key: Green (native), Teal (native, adventive), Blue (present), Yellow (present & rare), Red (extinct)
Little bluestem's root system is deep and fibrous. Individual roots are relatively fine but most roots grow almost vertically downward to depths comparable to shade trees. This is one of the reasons why it is so drought tolerant.
Easy to grow in full sun. Grow in dry to average soil. Tolerates heat and humidity easily. Watering or fertilization is actually detrimental; best left to its own devices! Leave the foliage in place for winter interest and to provide homes for over-wintering critters. Cut back to the ground in late winter before new growth begins.
Mature Size: 2-4' T x 1-2' W
Hardiness Zone: 3-9
Sun Exposure: Full Sun
Choosing the Right Plants
American Beauties Offer Solution Based Plant Collections to Help you Choose
Quick Tips for Choosing Plants:
- Planting a variety of native trees, shrubs, perennials and vines increases biodiversity and gives wildlife a source for food, cover and nesting
- Choose a mixture of deciduous and evergreen trees so birds and other wildlife will always be able to find shelter
- Plant trees and large shrubs where they will block winter winds from the house and shade it in summer, that will save energy and lower your carbon footprint
- Try your best to buy plants that were grown locally, your independent garden center will be your best bet
- Think about ultimate height and width of the plant you choose, make sure it will fit the space you have for it when it's reached maturity
- Plant nectar plants in groups, to attract butterflies and other beneficial insects more easily
- Ask for help if you need it. Most garden centers either have a landscape designer on staff or they can give you a reference of a designer that is adept at native plant wildlife gardening. There will be upfront costs but they are small when compared to having to redo a landscape that wasn't what you really wanted
Our Plant Tags Hold the Secrets to Success
Choosing the right plants for your garden can seem like a daunting task but we’re here to help. Our horticulturists have spent a considerable amount of time researching and writing our beautiful, American Beauties plant tags to help you be successful. First of all, when you see an American Beauties branded pot at your garden center you can be confident that the plant is native to your area and a responsible choice.
When you look at our tag you’ll find information about the plants natural habitat. That will give you a clue to how it will work in your backyard. For instance if the plant is naturally founded and moist, shade and you have full sun, it’s not the plant for you. The “Features” section gives you an overview or plant description so you’ll know what to expect. While the “Benefits” section talks about the plants strong suits and how the plant will benefit wildlife.
A Special Note About Exposure
Full sun: Prefers six or more hours of direct sunshine a day
Partial shade: Thrives in three to six hours of daily sunshine
Shade: Generally does well with less than three hours of sun per day. Having said that even shade loving plants will struggle in extremely deep shade.
Best Plants for Bees - Double sided printout for download
Best Plants for Butterflies - Double sided printout for download