Plant Encyclopedia

Little Bluestem

Schizachyrium scoparium

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Little Bluestem, medium height grass that stands up straight with reddish grass at the base

Discover More Information On Little Bluestem

Many landscapers often disregard native prairie grasses, but you should not underestimate the Little bluestem’s (Schizachyrium scoparium) endurance and beauty. This native tallgrass has gained in popularity throughout the years. You will want to choose this variety for its silvery-blue foliage. When you are ready to add a hardy prairie grass to your landscape, make sure to select the Little bluestem grass.

Plant Attributes

This tallgrass native is known as the bearded grass or turkey foot grass. The Little bluestem’s foliage reaches a height of 2 to 3 feet. This perennial grass is prized for its silvery-blue color. That color lasts from the spring until the late summer. When fall has arrived, the blues fade into a tone of browns and tans. The coppery autumn color persists well into the winter season. In addition to the colorful foliage, the Little bluestem features feathery white seed heads. These seeds extend above the foliage and wave with the slightest breeze.

Landscape Use

Since this clustered grass grows upright, it would be an excellent selection for those container gardens. You can place several of these pots around your porch or patio to create a welcoming space. For pollinator gardens, the Little bluestem is an outstanding choice. It will bloom later than most plants, and it provides a great source of food when most flowers are spent for the growing season. Along with that, the Little bluestem grass benefits other types of wildlife. The dense foliage offers protection for birds and small mammals from the weather. Its seeds also provide food for these little creatures.

If you want to create a mass planting in your landscape, you cannot go wrong with this perennial grass. Several plants can line a pathway to make a rugged border along your property. When the seasons change, your landscape dazzles with a show of beautiful texture and color. A few tufts of the Little bluestem and other prairie grasses create the perfect mixed border. The texture of this plant can be the ideal accent for other border shrubs.

Planting & Care

The Little bluestem grass is extremely durable. It is resistant to most diseases and pests. This native grass thrives in USDA hardiness zones 3 to 10. You can grow this native grass in just about any place in the United States. The perennial grass can live in a wide range of soil conditions. Whether you have fertile ground or hard soil, this native grass can adapt to those areas. However, the Little bluestem does need well-draining soil for the best results.

This native grass is very tolerant of droughts, and it excels in areas with constant sun and dry air. When this grass is establishing itself in your landscape, it will need a little more water. You should moderately water this grass as it adjusts to your terrain. Once it is established, you will only need to stick to a weekly watering schedule.

As the Little bluestem ages and matures, it will start to curl. You may need to cut this grass when it starts to get too long for your space. Pruning should be done in the early spring. With this schedule, you will not rid your landscape of valuable food and shelter for the local birds. You should watch out for the seed pods that can spread throughout your yard. When the seeds are dispersed, they can take root in some unwanted spaces. During the spring, cut off any rogue shoots from the growing area. While you can decrease the spreading seeds before they mature, you should be careful when plucking off seed heads. This action may degrade the appearance of the grass.

Additional Information

Interested in

Little Bluestem


The Little bluestem grass is an iconic grass that you will want for your landscape. It is the perfect accent piece for those container gardens, or you can use it in a beautiful mass planting of prairie grasses. The silvery-blue color is sure to dazzle your space throughout the year. In addition to that, this native grass is an excellent choice to provide food and shelter to local wildlife. If you are ready to add this remarkable native grass to your landscape, make sure to contact Arbor Valley Nursery. We have a large selection of grasses, plants, shrubs, and flowers. Please take a few minutes to fill out the contact form.

Plant Features

  • Plant Type: Grass
  • Watering Needs: Once established, water occasionally; more in extreme heat or containers
  • Botanical Pronunciation: ski-za-KRY-ee-um sko-PAIR-ee-um
  • Deciduous/evergreen: Herbaceous
  • Growth rate: Fast
  • Average landscape size: Quickly reaches 2-3’ tall and 1-2’ wide.
  • Special features: Dramatic Foliage Color, Easy Care, Extreme Cold Hardiness, Fall Color, North American Native Selection, Tolerates Poor Soils, Waterwise, Fast Growing, Bird Friendly
  • Dramatic Foliage: Color, Easy Care
  • Foliage color: Multicolored
  • Blooms: Summer
  • Flower color: Purple
  • Flower attributes: Showy Flowers
  • Garden style: Rustic
  • Design Ideas: Ornamental grass for borders, cottage gardens, rain gardens, wild gardens, wood margins, meadows or prairie-like settings. Group or mass. A good low-maintenance selection for sun-baked areas.
  • Companion Plants: Coneflower, Blazing Star, Black-eyed Susan, Purple Prairie Clover

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