Bluestem Nurseryhardy field grown plants

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Ornamental grasses at Bluestem Nursery

Comparison Chart for Ornamental Grasses


This info is derived from growing the grasses in our Zone 4/5 nursery. We have sandy-loam soil,
our summers are hot and dry and we irrigate to mimic the ideal growing conditions.

If you would like to print out this chart, we have it set up with individual pages, which makes for a more orderly printout.

Visit this page for the link to the 2013 printable chart.

Grasses, Sedges, Rushes
Common Name
Height cm / in
Bloom Height
Bloom Period
Foliage Color/Blade Width
Ideal Growing Conditions
Season
H2O
Req*

Roots
Coldest
Zone

Achnatherum calamagrostis Silver spear grass 50-70
20-28"
80-100
24-36"
June green
narrow
sun/part shade
moist, fertile well drained soil
cool 2 clump 5**
Achnatherum hymenoides Indian ricegrass 45-60
18-24"
60-75
24-30"
early spring green
narrow
sun/part shade
moist, fertile well drained soil
cool 1 clump 3
Alopecurus pratensis 'Aureovariegatus' Golden foxtail grass 30-40
12-16"
60
24"
June/July yel / green narrow full sun/light shade
moist fertile soil
cool 3 sod-
forming^
4
Andropogon gerardii Big bluestem 100-200
40-80"
150-250
60-100"
Aug-Sept blue-green
medium
full sun
well drained soil
warm 2 sod-
forming^
3
Andropogon gerardii 'Bison' Bison big bluestem 120-150
48-60"
135-165
55-65"
lt July -Aug green
narrow
full sun
well drained soil
warm 2 sod-
forming^
4
Andropogon gerardii 'New Wave' New Wave
big bluestem
75-105
30-42"
135-165
55-65"
Aug-Sept green,
red-tinged narrow
full sun
well drained soil
warm 2 sod-
forming^
3
Arrhenatherum bulbosum 'Variegatum' Striped bulbous oat grass 30-35
12-14"
50
20"
July-Aug white/green
medium
light to full shade
moist, well drained soil
cool 3 clump 4
Bouteloua curtipendula Side oats grama 40-80
16-32"
60-100
24-40"
June light green medium full sun
soil - adaptable
warm 1 sod-forming^ 3
Bouteloua gracilis Blue grama 30-40
12-16"
40-50
16-20"
June-Aug grey-green
narrow
full sun
sandy loam soil
warm 1 clump 3
Bouteloua gracilis 'Lovington' Blue grama 40-50
16-20"
50-60
20-24"
June-Aug lt green
narrow
full sun, clay to
sandy loam soil
warm 1 clump 4
Buchloe dactyloides Buffalo grass 10-15
4-6"
5-15
2-6"
July-Aug
(sparse)
grey-green
narrow
full sun
soil - well drained, clay
warm 1 moderate
spreader
4
Calamagrostis x acut. 'Avalanche' Variegated reed grass 50-75
20-30"
110-120
44-48"
June-July green/white
medium
full sun/part sun
soil - adaptable
cool 2 clump 3
Calamagrostis x acut. 'Karl Foerster' Reed grass 90-120 36-48" 150-200
60-80"
June-July green
medium
full sun/part sun
soil - adaptable
cool 2 clump 3
Calamagrostis x acut. 'Overdam' Variegated reed grass 50-75
20-30"
125-150
50-60"
June-July green/white
medium
full sun/part sun
soil - adaptable
cool 2 clump 3
Calamagrostis canadensis Bluejoint grass 90-150
36-60"
125-180
50-70"
June-July dk to blue green
medium
full sun
moist soil
cool 2 spreader 3
Calamagrostis epigejos Bush grass 75-100
30-40"
100-125
40-50"
June-July green
medium
full sun/part sun
soil - adaptable
cool 2 fast
spreader
3
Calamagrostis stricta Northern reed grass 60-120
24-48"
90-150
36-60"
June-July green
medium
full sun
wet soil
cool 4 moderate
spreader
3
Carex aurea Golden sedge
Wet meadow sedge
25-30
10-12"
30-40
12-16"
June-Aug lt green
pleated
full sun/lt shade
moist soil
cool 4 spreader 3
Carex car. 'Beatlemania' Beatlemania spring sedge 20
8"
n/a n/a green/yellow
narrow
light-full shade
moist soil
cool/semi-
evergreen
3 slow spreader 5**
Carex car. 'The Beatles' The Beatles spring sedge 15-20
8"
n/a n/a green
narrow
light - full shade
moist soil
cool/semi-
evergreen
3 slow spreader 5**
Carex davalliana Davalli's sedge 20
8"
25
10"
May-June dark green
narrow
full sun/lt shade
moist fertile soil
cool 3 clump 4
Carex dipsacea Autumn Sedge 30-45
12-18"
45-60
18-24"
June reddish-orange
narrow
full sun/lt shade
moist fertile soil
cool/semi-
evergreen
3 clump 5
Carex flacca Blue sedge 15-30
6-12"
30-40
12-16"
June-July blue-grey
narrow
full sun/lt shade
moist to dry soil
cool/semi-
evergreen
2 slow spreader 4
Carex flagellifera Weeping brown sedge 35-50
14-20"
50-75
20-30"
July reddish-tan
narrow
full sun/pt shade
moist fertile soil
cool/semi-
evergreen
2 clump 6**
Carex flagellifera 'Kiwi' Weeping green sedge 35-50
14-20"
50-75
20-30"
July kiwi green
narrow
full sun/part shade
moist fertile soil
cool/semi-
evergreen
2 clump 5**
Carex grayi Gray's sedge 30-100
12-40"
40-120
16-48"
June-Sept lt green
medium
full sun/lt shade
constantly moist soil
cool 4 clump 2
Carex muskingumensis Palm sedge 35-80
14-32"
50-90
20-36"
June-Sept green
narrow
full sun to shade
moist to wet soil
cool 2 slow spreader 2
Carex musk. 'Ice Fountains' Variegated palm sedge 25-50
10-20"
35-60
14-24"
June-July green/white
narrow
full sun to shade
moist to wet soil
cool 3 slow spreader 4**
Carex musk.
'Little Midge'
Dwarf palm sedge 20-30
8-12"
25-35
10-14"
June-Sept green
narrow
full sun or shade
moist to wet soil
cool 3 slow spreader 4**
Carex musk. 'Oehme' Variegated palm sedge 25-90
10-36"
35-100
14-40"
June-Sept green/yellow
narrow
shade or sun
moist to wet soil
cool 3 slow spreader 3
Carex nigra black sedge 100-125
40-50"
125-150
50-60"
July-Aug green
wide
light shade
moist soil
cool 3 clump 5**
Carex pennsylvanica Pennsylvania sedge 25
10"
n/a n/a green
narrow
full sun to full shade
moist to dry soil
cool/semi-
evergreen
2 moderate
spreader
3
Carex riparia 'Variegata' Greater pond sedge 60
24"
100
40"
June-July green/white
full sun
wet soil
cool 4 fast spreader 4
Chasmanthium latifolium Northern sea oats 70-100
28-40"
90-130
36-52"
June-Sept lt green
wide
sun or shade
moist soil
cool 2 clump 4
Deschampsia cespitosa Bronze veil tufted hair grass 45-60
18-25"
60-75
24-30"
May-Aug dark green
narrow
full sun to light shade
average soil
cool/semi-
evergreen
2 clump 3
Deschampsia cesp. 'Bronzeschleier' Bronze veil tufted hair grass 60-80
24-32"
80-100
32-40"
May-Aug dark green
medium
full sun to light shade
average soil
cool/semi-
evergreen
2 clump 3
Deschampsia cesp. 'Goldtau' Gold dew tufted hair grass 30-60
12-24"
40-60
16-24"
July-Aug dark green
narrow
full sun to light shade
average soil
cool/semi-
evergreen
2 clump 3
Deschampsia cesp. 'Pixie Fountains' Dwarf tufted hair grass 25-40
10-16"
40-60
16-24"
June-Sept dark green
narrow
full sun to light shade
average soil
cool/semi-
evergreen
2 clump 3
Elymus cinereus Great basin wild rye 80-100
32-40"
120-150
48-60"
June green-bl-grn
wide
full sun
well drained,
moist to dry soil
cool 1 clump 3
Festuca amethystina Tufted fescue
20-30
8-12"
30-45
12-18"
June
purple
green
very narrow
full sun/part shade
well drained soil
cool 2 clump 4**
Festuca amethystina 'Superba' Tufted fescue
20-30
8-12"
30-60
12-24"
June
dk purple
bright blue
very narrow
full sun/part shade
well drained soil
cool 2 clump 4**
Festuca arizonica Arizona fescue 30-50
12-20"
50-60
20-24"
June-July lt green
narrow
full sun/pt shade
average soil
cool 1 clump 3
Festuca glauca 'Blaufuchs' Blue fox fescue 15-20
6-8"
25-30
10 -12"
May-June dark blue-grn
narrow
full sun to lt shade
well drained soil
cool 2 clump 3
Festuca glauca 'Boulder Blue' Boulder Blue fescue 15-25
6-10"
20-30
8-12"
May-June intense blue
narrow
full sun/pt shade
well drained soil
cool 2 clump 3
Festuca glauca 'Elijah Blue' Elijah's Blue fescue 10-20
4-8"
15-25
6-10"
May-June powder blue
narrow
full sun/pt shade
well drained soil
cool 2 clump 4
Festuca glauca 'Select' Blue fescue 10-20
4-8"
15-25
6-10"
May-June bright blue
narrow
full sun/pt shade
well drained soil
cool 2 clump 4
Festuca idahoensis 'Joseph' Idaho fescue 60
24"
75-90
30-36"
May-June blue-green
narrow
full sun
well drained soil
cool 3 clump 3
Festuca idahoensis 'Siskiyou Blue' Idaho fescue 25-35
10-14"
35-45
14-18"
May-June strong blue
narrow
full sun/lt shade
well drained soil
cool 3 clump 4
Festuca mairei Atlas fescue 75-100
30-40"
100-125
40-50"
June medium-
green
medium
full sun/pt shade
moist, well drained soil
cool 2 clump 4
Festuca ovina Green fescue 30
12 "
45
18 "
May-June greyish to bluish green
narrow
full sun/lt shade
average, well drained soil
cool/semi-
evergreen
1 clump 4
Festuca pulchella Blue fescue 10-15
4-6"
15-20
6-8"
June blue-green
narrow
full sun/pt shade
well drained soil
cool 2 clump 4
Festuca valesiaca 'Nefer' Nefer fescue 20-25
8-10"
30-40
12-16"
June blue/green
narrow
full sun
well drained soil
cool 2 clump 4
Helictotrichon sempervirens Blue oat grass 50-60
20-24"
50-100
20-40"
June-Aug blue
medium
full sun/pt shade
well drained soil
cool/semi-evergreen 2 clump 3
Juncus effusus 'Spiralis' Lesser corkscrew rush 10-20
4-8"
10-20
4-8"
July green
fine, spiral
sun/part shade
moist to wet soil
cool/semi-
evergreen
4 clump 4
Juncus inflexus 'Lovesick Blues' Lovesick blues rush 70-100
28-40"
70-100
28-40"
July blue-grey
narrow
sun/part shade
moist to wet soil
cool/semi-
evergreen
4 clump 4
Koeleria glauca Blue hair grass 15-25
6-12"
15-30
6-12"
May-July blue-grey
medium
full sun
lean soil, wide range of soil types
cool 2 clump 4
Koeleria pyramidata
syn K. cristata
Prairie june grass 15-30
6-12"
25-40
10-16"
June-Sept green
medium
full sun
well drained, sand to clay soil
cool 1 clump 3
Koeleria vallesiana
'Mountain Breeze'
Somerset hair grass 25-30
10 -12"
40-45
16-18"
May-July steel blue-green
narrow
full sun to lt shade
well drained
cool 2 clump 3
Luzula nivea Snowy woodrush 30-40
12-16"
50-70
20-28"
May-June green
medium
part shade/full shade
moist soil
cool/semi-
evergreen
2 clump 4
Luzula sylvatica Greater wood rush 30-40
12-16"
40-50
16-20"
May-July green
wide
part shade/full shade
moist to dry soil
cool/semi-
evergreen
2 clump 3
Miscanthus 'Giganteus' aka M. floridulus Giant Miscanthus 280-370
9'-12'
300-400
10-13'
Sept-frost green
wide
full sun
moist fertile well drained soil
warm 3 clump 5**
Miscanthus sin.'Blutenwunder' Blooming wonder Miscanthus 150-180
60-72"
175-220
70-88"
Aug-frost green
wide
full sun
moist fertile well drained soil
warm 3 clump 5**
Miscanthus sin.'Gracillimus' Maiden grass 120-180
48-72"
150-200
60-80"
Sept-frost green
medium
full sun
moist fertile well drained soil
warm 3 clump 5**
Miscanthus sin. 'Graziella' Graziella maiden grass 125-150
50-60"
150-175
60-70"
late Aug-frost green
narrow
full sun
moist fertile well drained soil
warm 3 clump 5**
Miscanthus sin.'Malepartus' Malepartus maiden grass 125-150
50-60"
150-200
60-80"
Aug-frost green
wide
full sun
moist fertile well drained soil
warm 3 clump 5**
Miscanthus sin. 'Morning Light' Morning light maiden grass 75-100
30-40"
100-150
40-60"
Sept-frost green/white
narrow
full sun
moist fertile well drained soil
warm 3 clump 5**
Miscanthus sin. var purpurascens Flame grass 90-120
36-48"
100-150
40-60"
Aug-frost green
wide
full sun
moist fertile well drained soil
warm 3 clump 4**
Miscanthus sin. 'Rotsilber' Red maiden grass 105-120
42-48"
150-180
60-72"
Aug-frost green
medium
full sun
moist fertile well drained soil
warm 3 clump 5**
Miscanthus sin. 'Silberfeder' Silver feather grass 150-200
60-80"
200-250
80-100"
Aug-frost green
wide
full sun
moist fertile well drained soil
warm 3 clump 5**
Miscanthus sin. 'Strictus' Porcupine grass 175-225
70-90"
200-250
80-100"
mid-Sept to frost green/yel bands
medium
full sun
moist fertile well drained soil
warm 3 clump 5**
Miscanthus sin. 'Titian' Titian maiden grass 120-140
48-56"
140-160
56-64"
mid-Aug to frost green
narrow
full sun
moist fertile well drained soil
warm 3 clump 5**
Miscanthus sin. 'Variegatus' Variegated maiden grass 150-200
60-80"
175-225
70-90"
lt Sept to frost green/white
medium
full sun
moist fertile well drained soil
warm 3 clump 5**
Miscanthus sin. 'Yaku Jima' Eulalia grass 100-125
40-50"
125-150
50-60"
lt Aug to frost green
narrow
full sun
moist fertile well drained soil
warm 3 clump 5**
Molinia arundinacea Tall moor grass 80-100
32-40"
150-220
60-88"
July-Aug green
wide
full sun/part shade
moist, acid soil
cool 2 clump 5**
Molinia caerulea Purple moor grass 30-40
12-16"
60-70
24-28"
July-Aug green medium full sun/part shade
moist, acid soil
cool 2 clump 4
Molinia caerulea 'Strahlenquelle' Fountain spray moor grass 40-60
16-24"
100-120
40-48"
July-Aug green
medium
full sun/part shade
moist, acid soil
cool 2 clump 4
Molinia caerulea 'Variegata' Variegated moor grass 30-50
12-20"
50-80
20-32"
July-Aug green/yellow
medium
full sun/part shade
moist, acid soil
cool 2 clump 4
Panicum amarum 'Dewey Blue' Coastal switch grass 105-135
42-54"
135-150
55-60"
Aug-Sept blue-gray
narrow
full sun/lt shade
moist sandy soil
warm 2 sod-forming^ 4
Panicum virgatum Switch grass 70-150
28-60"
90-200
36-90"
Aug-Sept blue-green
medium
full sun
moist fertile soil
warm 1 sod-forming^ 3
Panicum virgatum 'Dacotah' Dakotah switch grass 90-120
36-48"
105-135
42-54"
Aug-Sept green
medium
full sun
moist fertile soil
warm 2 clump 3
Panicum virgatum 'Hanse Herms' Hanse Herms
Switch grass
90-105
36-42"
105-120
42-48"
Aug-Sept red-tinged
medium
full sun
moist fertile soil
warm 2 sod-forming^ 4
Panicum virgatum 'Heavy Metal' Blue switch grass 100-125
40-50"
125-150
50-60"
Aug-Sept blue-green
medium
full sun
moist fertile soil
warm 2 sod-forming^ 4
Panicum virgatum 'Northwind' Northwind switch grass 100-125
40-50"
125-150
50-60"
Aug-Sept green
medium
full sun
moist fertile soil
warm 2 sod-forming^ 4
Panicum virgatum 'Prairie Sky' Prairie sky switch grass 100-150
40-60"
125-175
50-70"
Aug-Sept blue
wide
full sun
moist to dry soil
warm 2 sod-forming^ 3
Panicum virgatum 'Rotstrahlbusch' Red switch grass 90-120
36-48"
120-140
48-56"
Aug-Sept tinged red
medium
full sun
moist fertile soil
warm 2 sod-forming^ 3
Panicum virgatum 'Shenandoah' Red switch grass 100-120
40-48"
125-150
50-60"
Aug-Sept red highlight
medium
full sun
moist fertile soil
warm 2 sod-forming^ 4
Panicum virgatum 'Squaw' Red switch grass 100-125
40-50"
125-150
50-60"
Aug-Sept green
medium
full sun
moist fertile soil
warm 2 sod-forming^ 4
Panicum virgatum
'Sunburst'
Switch grass 80-135
32-55"
135-160
55-62"
Aug-Sept green
medium
full sun
moist fertile soil
warm 1 sod-forming^ 3**
Pennisetum alopecuroides Fountain grass 60-100
24-40"
100-150
40-60"
Aug-Sept green
medium
full sun
moist, well drained soil
warm 2 clump 5**
Pennisetum alopec. 'Hameln' Dwarf fountain grass 50-75
20-30"
75-100
30-40"
Aug-Sept green
medium
full sun, moist, well-drained soil warm 2 clump 4
Phalaris arundinacea 'Feesey' Feesey ribbon grass 60-80
24-32"
80-100
32-40"
June-July white/green
coarse
full sun/part shade
moist fertile soil
cool 3 fast spreader 3**
Poa chaixii Forest bluegrass 20-30
8-12"
25-35
10-14"
May-June shiny green
medium
shade/part shade
rich moist soil
cool 3 clump 4
Poa glauca 'Blue Hills' Blue meadow grass 20-25
8-10"
40-50
15-20"
May blue-green full sun/part shade
moist soil
cool 3 clump 2
Pseudoroegneria spicata ssp spicata Bluebunch wheatgrass 30-60
12-24"
40-70
16-28"
early spring grey-green
medium
full sun/part shade
moist to dry soil
cool 1 clump 3
Schizachyrium scoparium Little bluestem 50-100
20-40"
100-120
40-48"
July-Sept green
medium
full sun
well drained soil
warm 2 clump 3
Schizachyrium scoparium 'Aldous' Aldous Little bluestem 60-90
24-36"
90-120
36-48"
July-Sept blue/purple
medium
full sun
well drained soil
warm 2 clump 3
Schizachyrium scop. 'Blaze' Blaze little bluestem 50-100
20-40"
100-120
40-48"
July-Sept green
medium
full sun
well drained soil
warm 2 clump 3
Schizachyrium scop. 'Itasca' Itasca little bluestem 40-80
16-32"
60-100
24-40"
July-Sept green
medium
full sun
well drained soil
warm 2 clump 3
Scirpus atrovirens Dark green bulrush 90-120
36-48"
120-150
48-60"
June-July green
medium
full sun-lt shade moist soil
cool 3 clump 3
Sesleria albicans Balkans moor grass 25-30
10-12"
30-40
12-16"
March-May dark green
medium
full sun-lt shade good drainage
cool/semi-
evergreen
2 clump 3
Sesleria argentea Silver moor grass 25-30
10-12"
40-50
16-20"
June-frost silver/green
narrow
full sun-lt shade moister soil in sun
cool 2 clump 4
Sesleria autumnalis Autumn moor grass 25-35
10-14"
35-50
14-20"
Sept light green
medium
full sun-lt shade moister soil in sun
cool/semi-
evergreen
2 clump 4**
Sesleria caerulea Blue moor grass 20-25
8-10"
35-40
14-16"
Mar-April blue/green
medium
full sun/part shade
moister soil in sun
cool/semi-
evergreen
2 clump 4
Sesleria heufleriana Blue-green moor grass 30-40
12-16"
50-60
20-24"
Mar-April blue/green
medium
full sun/pt shade
moister soil in sun
cool/semi-
evergreen
2 clump 4
Sesleria sadlerana Green moor grass 35-40
14-16"
40-45
16-18"
Mar-April grey-blue/
green
narrow
full shade/pt shade
moister soil in sun
cool/semi-
evergreen
2 clump 3
Sorghastrum nutans Indian grass 80-120
32-48"
120-220
48-90"
Aug-Sept blue-green
medium
full sun
sandy loam soil
warm 2 sod-forming^ 3
Sorghastrum nutans 'Indian Steel' Blue indian grass 80-120
32-48"
100-150
40-60"
Aug-Sept blue-green
medium
full sun
sandy loam soil
warm 2 sod-forming^ 3
Sorghastrum nutans 'Sioux Blue' Blue indian grass 150-175
60-70"
175-200
70-80"
July-frost bright blue
medium
full sun
sandy loam soil
warm 2 sod-forming^ 3
Sporobolus heterolepis Prairie dropseed 30-60
12-24"
60-100
24-40"
Aug-Sept green
narrow
full sun
sandy loam soil
warm 1 clump 3
Stipa brachytricha Korean feather reed grass 80-120
32-48"
100-150
40-60"
Aug-Sept green
medium
full sun/light shade
moist fertile soil
cool 2 clump 4

*Water Requirement Rating
Describes the plant's general watering requirement, once the plant is full grown and well-established.

  • 0= no subsequent irrigation needed
  • 1= water to root depth once every month
  • 2= water to root depth once every two weeks
  • 3= water to root depth every week
  • 4= water to root depth when soil starts to dry

These are general suggestions. Keep an eye on your plants.

**can possibly survive in a colder zone

^ These grasses put out very short rhizomes so technically they are not clump-forming. But their yearly spread is really just a widening of the clump and they are not considered to be invasive.

      Grasses, Sedges, Rushes Common Name Height
cm/in
Bloom
Height
Bloom
time
Foliage Color/
Blade Width
Ideal Growing
Conditions
Season H2O
Req*
Roots Zone

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