Schizachyrium scoparium 'Itasca'
- Itasca Little Bluestem
aka Andropogon scoparius
As with most types of Little Bluestem, the main feature (other than
its form and flowers) is the fall colour. S. 'Itasca' is seed grown
and produces varying heights and fall colours. We have been tempted
to select some of the most interesting plants to propagate, but in all
honesty, so many of these plants are unique that it is hard to decide
which to pick. We have concentrated on selecting shorter plants to propagate,
so that our selection is distinctly shorter than the species Schizachyrium
scoparium and S. scoparium 'Blaze'. S. Itasca also blooms earlier.
In the autumn, individual plants will have more than one colour of
leaves or the flowering culms will be one colour and the leaves another.
Colours range from purples to reds and blues, then after a hard frost,
Description: warm season; clump forming
Foliage is green; 7mm (1/4") wide; varies from 40-80 cm (16-32")
Flowers July to Sept; 60-100 cm (24-40') tall
Ideal conditions: full sun to open shade; tolerates
a wide range of conditions; 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: August to winter
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 'Itasca' to our other grasses
in this handy chart.