Little Bluestem in the Landscape
Heidi Kratsch, Extension Ornamental Horticulture Specialist
Graham Hunter, Research Associate, Center for Water Efficient Landscaping
November 2007 | HG/Native Plants/2007-01pr
Description: Perennial, warm season bunchgrass; blue-green foliage turning bronze in the fall.
Flowers in mid to late summer; heads are tufted racemes. Plants can reach heights
of up to 4 feet.
This plant can be found naturally in desert surroundings, along waterways, and in rock crevices. This is a long-living plant that can be used ornamentally as a specimen, in a rock garden, or anywhere soil stabilization is desired.
In winter, the seeds are favored by small birds.
|Native habitat||native throughout the U.S. to prairies,
dry hills, woodlands
|Soil||well drained, low fertility, pH 5.0-8.4|
|Cold Tolerance||hardy to -38°F|
|Sun/Shade Preference||full sun|
|Propagation||seed or division|
|Maintenance||crop to no less than 8 inches in early
fall or late spring
|Pest Problems||no serious pest problems|
|Use in the Landscape||specimen, soil stabilization, wildlife
protection and food source
|Foliage||showy, attractive fall color|
|Fruit (seedheads)||feathery appearance when mature|
|Form||upright, tight, vertical lines|
|Texture||fine to medium|
|Ultimate Size||3 to 4 feet|
|Rate of Growth||Moderate; full height in 2 years|
|Plant Community||parkland, pinyon-juniper, cool-desert shrub|
|Availability||“Utah’s Choice” selection|
|Cultivars||‘Blaze’: compact; intense pink-orange fall
color; ‘The Blues’: intense blue leaf color
Photo credits: Graham Hunter
USDA Plants Database. 2007.