Little Bluestem

September 1, 2019

Little Bluestem

Little bluestem is a native warm season prairie grass whose blue-green stems grow to 2-4 feet tall by September. Leaves become coppery red after the first frost. Color persists through winter along with its white seed tufts which appear late summer or early autumn. The seeds are valued by small songbirds for winter sustenance and the foliage is a host for caterpillars, walkingsticks, and grasshoppers earlier in the year.

The deep root system of this prairie grass allows it to tolerates a range of moisture conditions and soil types, especially dry, poor, or disturbed sites. It is good for mixed garden planting, planting en masse, or for use in restoration projects. Little bluestem needs full sun to keep its upright habit and may flop with too much water, shade, or soil fertility.

In early spring it should be cut back to the ground to allow new growth to fill in.

There are many cultivars also available which feature different heights, fall foliage color, and form. Some include Prairie Blues, Standing Ovation, and The Blues.

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