Thursday, June 9, 2011

Prairie Dropseed


Sporobolus airoides ( Alkali Dropseed Grass )
A very graceful, vigorous but non invasive grass, reaching up to 6.5 x 4 ( rarely over 3 ) feet, that is native to North America ( from south-central British Columbia to Alberta to northeast North Dakota, south to Mexico to Missouri ). It is endangered in Washington State, Oregon, North Dakota and Missouri.
This grass has very thick, tough, almost woody stem bases.
The foliage, forming a clump up to 2 feet high, is gray-green, turning to yellow in autumn.
The flower plumes, reach as high as 6.5 feet, and form an airy pink haze.
The flowering season begins during early summer and lasts for months.
Hardy zones 4 to 9 in full sun. Alkaline soil, very saline soil and drought tolerant.
Deer resistant.



Photos courtesy of USDA NRCS.

Sporobolus heterolepsis ( Prairie Dropseed )
A very handsome, slow growing ( but worth the wait ), perennial grass forming a foliage clump, up to 2 x 3 feet, that is native to the central U.S. ( from southeast Saskatchewan to southern Manitoba to Kenora, Ontario to Manitoulin Island to Tobermory, Ontario to Mass.; south to New Mexico to Arkansas to far northern Georgia ). It is extinct in Montana; endangered in Wyoming, Michigan, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia. There is a very large population on the prairie alvar at Cape Croker on the Bruce Peninsula. The Prairie Dropseed is long-lived and usually takes 3 to 5 years to mature.
The spraying mounds of fine textured foliage, up to 20 x 0.15 inches, is rich mid-green during summer, turning to deep orange during autumn, then to copper color in winter.
It looks great for groundcover and mass planting.
The rusty-tan flower plumes, up to 4 ( rarely over 2.5 ) feet high, are borne late summer to early autumn.
Hardy zones 3 to 8 in full sun to partial shade on well drained soil that can be anything from dry stony soil to moist fertile soil. Heat and drought tolerant. Cut back during very early spring. Deer resistant and not prone to pests or disease. Propagation is from seed or division done during early spring.

* photo of unknown internet source

* photos taken on Sep 14 2013 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on Sep 23 2013 in Burtonsville, MD

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

* photos taken on Oct 24 2014 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Aug 15 2014 @ Druid Hill Park, Baltimore, MD

* photo taken on Apr 23 2017 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD

* photo taken on May 27 2017 @ Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna, VA

* photo taken on May 28 2017 in Howard Co., MD

* photo taken on Aug 5 2017 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD

* photo taken on Aug 8 2017 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Aug 24 2017 @ U.S. Botanic Garden, Wash. DC.

More compact and upright, reaching up to 3 x 3 feet, with silvery flower plumes and fine-textured, bright green foliage that sways in summer breezes and turns orange-red in fall.

Sporobolus wrightii ( Giant Sacaton Grass )
A very fast growing, MASSIVE, clump-forming ornamental grass, reaching up to 8 x 6 feet. It is native from California to southwest Utah to Oklahoma and south.
The narrow, blue-green foliage reaches up to 6 feet in height.
The airy flower plumes are pale tan.
Hardy zones 3 to 9 in full sun to partial shade on just about any well drained soil. Clay, salt, alkaline and very heat / drought tolerant - can survive on just 2 deep waterings per month in summer. Deer resistant.

'Los Lunas Form'
Also called 'Windbreaker'. Very fast growing and larger, up to 5.8 x 4.8 feet after one season, eventually up to 10 x 6 feet, with large bright green, conical flower spikes that are much more showy.
An outstanding specimen plant with gray-green foliage.
Due to its height, it can be used as a windbreak and makes a great dry climate substitute for Miscanthus and Pampas Grass.

No comments:

Post a Comment