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Little Bluestem Grass Schizachyrium scoparium

Growing Little Bluestem Grass: Tips at a Glance

Prairie grass little bluestem tolerates a wide range of soils including clay, but needs good drainage and cannot thrive in shade or wetlands.

  • Type Ornamental grass
  • Lifespan Perennial
  • USDA Zones 3-9
  • Light Full Sun
  • Water Drought tolerant
  • Foliage Purplish racemes
  • Design Tip Meadow
  • Companions Wildflowers
  • Peak Season Red in autumn

Little Bluestem Grass: A Field Guide

A North American prairie native, little bluestem grass was once a common sight as it waved in the breeze to the covered wagon set, urging westward-bound homesteaders to establish farms and towns in the last half 19th century.

Nowadays the modest 18-inch-high clumps are useful in a landscape where you need to hold the earth in place. On slopes, the deep roots of Schizachyrium scoparium will help prevent erosion.

A quintessential meadow grass, airy little bluestem tufts also makes butterflies and birds feel welcome and is a happy companion to asters, Coreopsis tripterisconeflowers, and other wildflowers.

Little bluestem grass earned its common name “rom a tinge of blue that appears at the base of its slender, flat blue-green leaves in spring,” writes our contributor Jeanne Rostaing. In autumn, it turns a “striking bronze-orange or even burgundy.”

If you’re designing a meadow garden, see growing tips for more prairie home companions such as black-eyed Susans, switchgrass, and penstemon.

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Planting, Care & Design of Little Bluestem Grass

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