Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Blue Stem Grass


* photo taken @ U.S. Botanical Garden, Wash., DC on Aug 25 2014

Schizachyrium scoparium ( Little Bluestem )
Also called Andropogon scoparius. A moderate growing, deep-rooted, upright perennial grass, reaching up to 3.5 x 3.5 ( rarely over 3 ) feet, is native to tall grass prairie ecosystems in North America ( from Dawson Creek, British Columbia to Calgary, Alberta to Rainy River, Ontario to Thunder Bay, Ontario to Manitoulin Island and Killarney, Ontario to Quebec to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia; south to Arizona to southern Texas to Florida ). It is also found on sand dunes in the Great Lakes region. It is an important host plant of multiple species of Skipper Butterflies.
The foliage is blue-green, turning coppery-orange to deep red in autumn.
The silvery-pink flower plumes, up to 3 inches in length, are borne mid-summer into early autumn. They are followed by fluffy white seedheads that persist into winter.
Hardy zones 2 to 9 in full sun and requires well drained soil. Easy to grow and tolerant of drought, poor soils, sand, heavy clay, saline and alkaline soils but not wet soil. Deer resistant, it is not prone to pests or disease. Cut back during early spring. Propagation is from seed or division during early spring.

* photo taken on Feb 15 2011 in Howard Co, MD

* photo of unknown internet source

* photo taken on Oct 24 2014 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Oct 10 2016 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken by Jennifer Anderson @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

* photos taken on Sep 18 2016 @ Patuxent Research Refuge, Laurel, MD

* photo taken on Sep 25 2016 near Reisterstown, MD

* photo taken by L. Glasscock @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database Southern wetland flora



* Photos courtesy of USDA NRCS.

'Badlands Ecotype

* Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS.

Reaches up to 4.2 x 2.5 feet, with blue-foliage that turns to intense-red during autumn, then to bright pink during winter.

'Blue Heaven'
Vigorous and more upright in habit, reaching up to 4 x 3 feet with deep blue foliage that tinges reddish later in summer then finally to intense red, violet or purple during autumn.

* photo taken on July 11 2014 @ U.S. Botanical Gardens, Washington, DC

* photos taken on Oct 21 2014 @ U.S. Botanical Gardens, Washington, DC

* photos taken on Aug 13 2017 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Aug 3 2017 in Bayfield, ON

'Standing Ovation'
Strongly upright, not flopping over, reaching up to 4 x 1.5 feet.
The foliage is intense blue-green and the stems are tinged deep purple.
During autumn the foliage turns to intense yellow, orange and red.

* photo taken on Sep 23 2013 in Burtonsville, MD

'The Blues'
Forms a clump, up to 3 x 4 feet high of intense-blue, soft, hairy foliage that becomes tinted deep red during autumn. Looks great in mass plantings on berms and for erosion control.
The soft, pinkish seed heads reach up to 5 feet in height.

* photo taken on June 30 2013 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

* photos taken on Aug 25 2013 @ University of Maryland, College Park

* photo taken on Sep 14 2013 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Aug 3 2014 @ National Zoo, Washington, DC

* photos taken on Aug 5 2015 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Jul 17 2017 in Ottawa, ON

1 comment:

  1. OMG...I am OBSESSED with Little Bluestem! I have 'The Blues' right now, but really have to move it to a spot that drier/sunnier (flops a bit where it is). I found a source of 'Blue Heaven' for this summer and can't wait to get it in the ground...they look AMAZING!