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 (short rhizomes)
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, Andropogon

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) scoparium (skoh-PAIR-ee-um)


Menu of ornamental grasses

Compare Schizachyrium scoparium 'The Blues' to our other grasses in this handy chart.


Schizachyrium scoparium 'The Blues' - Blue Little Bluestem
Schizachyrium scoparium 'Prairie Blues'
Little Bluestem Prairie Blues

from the USDA website: states and provinces where
Schizachyrium scoparium is native