Schizachyrium scoparium - Little Bluestem
This 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 grasses and wildflowers. Fluffy silver seed heads bloom in late summer or early fall and are ornamental through winter.
- Uniquely colorful fall foliage, nice in dried arrangements
- Provides nest sites, cover, and food for birds
- Attracts butterflies, host plant for many skippers
- Easy to grow, deer resistant
- Drought resistant 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.
Prefers average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun. Adaptable wide range of soil conditions. Cut back in late winter to early spring before the new foliage begins to grow.