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Prairie Winds® 'Blue Paradise' Little Bluestem

Schizachyrium scoparium

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Prairie Winds® 'Blue Paradise' Little Bluestem

Discover More Information On Prairie Winds® 'Blue Paradise' Little Bluestem

The Prairie Winds® 'Blue Paradise' Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) is a captivating ornamental grass that brings a unique blend of durability and aesthetic appeal to gardens and landscapes. This perennial plant is native to North America, embodying the hardy and resilient spirit of the prairies. It thrives in hardiness zones 3 through 9, making it a versatile addition to a wide range of climatic conditions. With a mature size of 3 to 3 feet 6 inches in height and a spread of 2 feet, it forms an upright, columnar habit that adds structure and movement to garden spaces.

The 'Blue Paradise' distinguishes itself with its striking silvery blue stems that transition to a deep wine purple in the fall, providing year-round interest. This transition not only adds a splash of color but also enhances the texture and depth of any garden design. The plant sports tan flowers, further accentuating its visual appeal during the late summer to early fall bloom time.

Beyond its beauty, the Prairie Winds® 'Blue Paradise' is celebrated for its robust nature. It is remarkably heat and drought tolerant, making it an excellent choice for gardeners seeking low-maintenance yet striking plants. Additionally, it offers erosion control benefits and is resistant to deer, ensuring its survival and thriving in a variety of environments. Whether used for mass planting, as a border plant, or as a standalone landscape feature, this little bluestem variety excels with minimal care, requiring only full sun and well-drained soil to flourish. Its resilience to adverse weather conditions and minimal water and soil fertility requirements make it an ideal choice for creating vibrant, sustainable gardens.

Plant Attributes

The Prairie Winds® 'Blue Paradise' Little Bluestem is a medium-height perennial, reaching an elegant garden height of 36 to 42 inches with a neat spread of 24 inches, creating a balanced and upright silhouette. Its foliage presents a mesmerizing palette, starting with silvery blue hues that evolve into deep wine purple as the seasons transition from summer to fall, adding a dynamic visual interest to any garden space. The tan flowers that emerge in late summer to early fall complement the foliage, creating a subtle yet striking contrast.

This ornamental grass is not just a feast for the eyes; it's also a model of resilience and low maintenance. It flourishes under full sun, thriving in both acidic and neutral soils, and shows a remarkable tolerance for a variety of soil fertility levels, from average to fertile. Its drought tolerance and heat resistance are exceptional, making it a steadfast addition to landscapes in need of erosion control or those seeking to reduce water use. Furthermore, its resistance to deer adds to its desirability, ensuring its beauty remains unmarred by wildlife.

Landscape Use

The Prairie Winds® 'Blue Paradise' Little Bluestem is a versatile ornamental grass that offers a range of landscaping uses, making it an invaluable addition to various garden styles and designs. Its unique characteristics and resilience allow it to serve multiple roles in the landscape:

  • Border Planting: Its upright habit and striking color transition make it a perfect choice for adding structure and depth to garden borders. The silvery blue to wine purple foliage provides a beautiful backdrop for perennial flowers or can be used to create a contrasting border along walkways or property lines.
  • Mass Planting: For a dramatic effect, planting 'Blue Paradise' in mass can create a sea of blue and purple hues that sway gracefully with the wind. This approach is ideal for large garden spaces, meadows, or as a naturalistic drift in public parks and landscapes, offering a stunning visual impact from summer through fall.
  • Erosion Control: Due to its robust root system, 'Blue Paradise' is excellent for stabilizing slopes and areas prone to erosion. Its tolerance for various soil conditions and drought resistance makes it a practical choice for challenging sites needing ground cover and soil stabilization.
  • Landscape Accent: As a singular specimen, 'Blue Paradise' stands out with its columnar form and vibrant foliage. It can be used as a focal point in small garden spaces or containers, adding height and interest to patios, balconies, or entranceways.
  • Wildlife Garden: Although resistant to deer, 'Blue Paradise' can provide habitat and support for local wildlife, including birds and beneficial insects. Its seeds in late summer and fall can attract birds, while its structure offers shelter.
  • Drought-Tolerant Landscapes: For gardens designed to conserve water, 'Blue Paradise' is an ideal choice. Its drought tolerance makes it suitable for xeriscaping and sustainable gardening practices, requiring minimal supplemental watering once established.
  • Contemporary and Rustic Garden Styles: The striking foliage and upright growth habit of 'Blue Paradise' allow it to blend seamlessly into contemporary garden designs as well as more rustic, naturalistic settings. Its versatility makes it suitable for a variety of garden themes, from modern minimalist landscapes to traditional country gardens.

Incorporating 'Blue Paradise' Little Bluestem into your garden or landscape project can bring a touch of native beauty and resilience, providing year-round interest and supporting sustainable gardening practices. Whether used in mass plantings, as an erosion control solution, or as a striking garden accent, this ornamental grass is sure to enhance the aesthetic and ecological value of any space.

Planting & Care

Planting and caring for Prairie Winds® 'Blue Paradise' Little Bluestem is relatively straightforward, making it an excellent choice for gardeners of all skill levels. Here's how to ensure this striking ornamental grass thrives in your garden:

Planting Instructions:

  • Location: Choose a spot that receives full sun, as 'Blue Paradise' thrives in areas that get at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. While it can tolerate part sun, full sun exposure ensures the best foliage color and plant vigor.
  • Soil: This grass is adaptable to a wide range of soil types but prefers dry to average, well-drained soil. It can grow in both acidic and neutral soils. If you're dealing with particularly heavy clay or sandy soils, consider amending with compost to improve drainage and nutrient content.
  • Spacing: Plant 'Blue Paradise' about 24 inches apart from center to center. This spacing allows each plant enough room to mature into its full size and shape without overcrowding.
  • Planting Time: The best time to plant is in the spring or early fall. This timing allows the grass to establish its root system before the extremes of summer heat or winter cold.

Care Instructions:

  • Watering: Once established, 'Blue Paradise' is drought-tolerant and requires only occasional watering. In the first growing season, ensure it gets enough water to establish a deep, extensive root system. After establishment, water it more in extreme heat or if planted in containers.
  • Fertilizing: Little Bluestem does not require heavy fertilization. An application of a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in the spring can support healthy growth without encouraging excessive foliage at the expense of flowering.
  • Pruning: In early winter, before new growth starts, cut back the grass to about 3-4 inches above the ground. This pruning helps to maintain a tidy appearance and encourages vigorous growth in the spring.
  • Mulching: Applying a layer of mulch around the base of the plant can help retain soil moisture, suppress weeds, and maintain a consistent soil temperature.
  • Pests and Diseases: 'Blue Paradise' is generally resistant to pests and diseases. Keeping the area around the plants clean and well-maintained can help prevent any potential issues.

Additional Tips:

  • Heat and Humidity Tolerance: 'Blue Paradise' tolerates heat and humidity well, making it suitable for gardeners in warmer climates.
  • Winter Interest: The striking fall color and structural form of 'Blue Paradise' provide winter interest in the landscape. Consider leaving the plants standing through the winter months to enjoy their beauty and to provide habitat for wildlife.
  • Companion Plants: Pair 'Blue Paradise' with drought-tolerant perennials and other ornamental grasses that enjoy similar growing conditions. Its blue and purple tones contrast beautifully with plants bearing yellow, orange, or red flowers or foliage.

By following these planting and care guidelines, your Prairie Winds® 'Blue Paradise' Little Bluestem will be a low-maintenance, high-impact addition to your garden, providing year-round interest and beauty.

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Prairie Winds® 'Blue Paradise' Little Bluestem


Plant Features

  • Plant Type: Perennial Grass
  • Watering Needs: Low; drought tolerant once established, requiring more water only in extreme heat or when planted in containers.
  • Botanical Pronunciation: shiz-ah-KEER-ee-um sko-PAIR-ee-um
  • Deciduous/evergreen: Herbaceous
  • Growth rate: Medium
  • Average landscape size: Mature size is 3' to 3'6" tall and 2' wide.
  • Special features: Border Plant, Container, Erosion Control, Heat Tolerant, Mass Planting, Native to North America, Drought Tolerant, Deer Resistant
  • Dramatic Foliage: Striking silvery blue stems that turn deep wine purple in fall
  • Foliage color: Blue, Purple
  • Blooms: Late Summer to Early Fall
  • Flower color: Tan
  • Flower attributes: Foliage Interest, Fall Interest
  • Garden style: Naturalistic, Prairie, Rustic
  • Design Ideas: Ideal for creating a native or prairie garden look. Use in mass plantings for a dramatic effect or as a standalone specimen in small garden spaces. Suitable for borders or as a focal point in drought-tolerant landscapes. Its upright habit and color transition make it a perfect addition to contemporary garden designs, providing texture and color throughout the seasons. Can be paired with other native plants for a cohesive, low-maintenance garden.
  • Companion Plants: Consider pairing with other native perennials that appreciate similar conditions, such as Echinacea (Coneflower), Rudbeckia (Black-eyed Susan), and Sedum (Stonecrop) for a vibrant, resilient garden composition.

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