Schizachyrium scoparium 'Prairie
Blues' - Little Bluestem Prairie Blues
aka Andropogon scoparius
This is a plant that is not only beautiful virtually all
year, but is truly a low maintenance plant. As is the case
with the other Schizachyrium, excessive water and nutrients
will likely cause it to flop. So unless you live in the
desert, you not only can, but should neglect this plant.
The foliage of this seed grown strain is an intense blue
until fall when the leaves and stems turn shades of purple.
Absolutely beautiful en masse and provides interest in the winter garden.
Description: warm season; sod forming
Foliage is blue, turning to shades of purple in autumn; 7mm (1/4")
wide; 50-80 cm (20-32") tall
Flowers late summer; 60-90 cm (24-36") tall
Ideal conditions: full sun; well drained soil; excessive
moisture and fertile soil will cause the tall flower stems to fall over
Coldest zone: 3 (find your
zone; further info on plant hardiness)
Season of interest: July to winter
Partner with: Achillea, Purple smoke bush,
Native to: the species is native to prairies and open
woods, dry fields and hills of North America, from Quebec to Alberta
and south to Arizona and Florida
Drought tolerance rating: 2 (water to root depth once
every 2 weeks); further info
Recommended spacing between plants: 45-90 cm (18-36")
why such a difference?
When to divide: when it shows signs of
life in the spring, continuing until the new growth is about
12" tall; only in the spring (further
info on dividing grasses)
When to plant or transplant: plant bare root plants
only in late spring to early summer, when the soil
is warm, about the same time you plant your bean or corn
seeds. The roots will grow only in warm soil. Planting too
early in the spring may cause the roots to rot. Similar
story in the fall when the roots may not grow enough to
establish before the cold and wet of winter, resulting in
the demise of the plant.
When to cut back: before the new growth
starts to appear, but after the cold weather is over. Cut
back to about 3-4" from the crown of the plant.
Pronounced: Schizachyrium (skits-ah-KEER-ee-um)
Menu of ornamental grasses
Compare Schizachyrium scoparium 'The Blues' to our other grasses
in this handy chart.